Alternative History

The Imperial Constitution of Cygnia was the supreme law of the Empire of Cygnia from 1793 until 1948, when it was replaced by the modern Constitution of Cygnia following the Cygnian Constitutional Convention 1947.


WHEREAS the people of Carolina, West Georgia, East Georgia, Avon, New Zealand, and Tasmania, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federation under the Crown of the Empire of Cygnia, and under the Constitution hereby established;

Be it therefore enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Honourable Representatives in this Federation Congress here assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


Section 1: Legislative Power

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the Empire of Cygnia, which shall consist of a House of Councillors and a House of Representatives.

Section 2: House of Representatives

  1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every fourth Year by the People of the Empire. All Cygnian men of age 25 and above will be eligible to place their vote for the membership of the House of Representatives.
  2. No Person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives who shall not have attained to the Age of 25 years, and been seven years a Citizen of the Empire, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
  3. Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Empire, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the Empire, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Members shall not exceed one for every 10,000, but each State shall have at least one Member.
  4. When vacancies occur in the Delegation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
  5. The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section 3: House of Councillors

  1. The House of Councillors shall be composed of Councillors appointed by His Imperial Majesty, to serve at His Imperial Majesty's Pleasure. Four Councillors shall be appointed from each State. Each Councillor shall receive one Vote.
  2. The Councillors shall choose their President and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
  3. When sitting for the Purpose of Exercising the Power of Impeachment, the Councillors shall be on Oath or Affirmation. No Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Councillors present, or, in the case of His Imperial Majesty, the Concurrence of all the Councillors present.
  4. Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honour, Trust or Profit under the Empire: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Section 4: Congressional Elections

  1. The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Members, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislatures thereof; but the Congress of the Empire may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations.
  2. The Congress of the Empire shall assemble at His Imperial Majesty's command.

Section 5: Procedure

  1. Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorised to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
  2. Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.
  3. Each House shall keep a Hansard of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Ayes and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Hansard.
  4. Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section 6: Compensation, privileges and restrictions on holding civil office

  1. The Senators and Members shall receive of Compensation for their Service, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the Empire. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
  2. No Senator or Member shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the Empire, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the Empire, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Section 7: Bills

  1. All Bills shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives; but the House of Councillors may propose or concur with amendments.
  2. Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors, shall, before it become a law, be presented to His Imperial Majesty: If he approve he shall sign it and grant Imperial Assent, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to the House of Representatives, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two-thirds of the House of Representatives shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the House of Councillors, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of the House of Councillors, it shall proceed to His Imperial Majesty for Imperial Assent. Should the Procedures of Reconsideration render it such that an Amended Bill should pass both Houses of Congress, His Imperial Majesty will be obliged to grant Imperial Assent, regardless of any Objections He may still have to the Amended Bill. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Ayes and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Hansard of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the King within ten Days (Saturdays and Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall become Law, in like Manner as if he had granted it Assent, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.
  3. Every Order, Resolution or Vote to which the Concurrence of the House of Councillors and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to His Imperial Majesty; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be re-passed by two-thirds of the House of Councillors and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section 8: Powers of Congress

  1. The Congress of the Empire shall have the Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the Empire; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the Empire;
  2. To borrow Money on the credit of the Empire;
  3. To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States;
  4. To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalisation, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the Empire;
  5. To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
  6. To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the Empire;
  7. To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
  8. To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
  9. To constitute Tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
  10. To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
  11. To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
  12. To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
  13. To provide and maintain a Navy;
  14. To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
  15. To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Empire, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
  16. To provide for organising, arming and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the Empire, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
  17. To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the Empire, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section 9: Limits on Congress

  1. The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public safety may require it.
  2. No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
  3. No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
  4. No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
  5. No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear or pay Duties in another.
  6. No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

Section 10: Limits on the States

  1. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make anything but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
  2. No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress of the Empire, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the Empire; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Control of the Congress.
  3. No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.


Section 1: The King

  1. The executive Power shall be vested in His Imperial Majesty the King of the Cygnians. He constitutes the core of the Cygnian national identity. His Imperial Majesty must take care that the laws of the Empire are faithfully executed, and must preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
  2. The High Office of King will be passed down through inheritance, and may only be inherited by the legitimate heirs and descendants of His Imperial Majesty George I.
  3. His Imperial Majesty shall preside over the Empire's Executive Authority. He alone shall be empowered to grant Imperial Assent to a Bill. This Imperial Assent shall be the final qualification for a Bill to become Law.
  4. In Case of the Removal of the King from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Heir to the Throne, or, if the Heir is a Minor or Himself incapacitated, the first adult in the Line of Succession in the capacity of Regent, until the Disability be removed, or the Heir shall accede.
  5. Before He enter on the Execution of His Office, He shall take an Oath or Affirmation promising to serve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Empire; to defend the rights of all Cygnians; and to execute to the best of His ability the duties and responsibilities He shall undertake as Sovereign of the Empire.

Section 2: Sovereign Powers

  1. His Imperial Majesty shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the Empire, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the Empire; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Authorities, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the Empire, except in Cases of Impeachment.
  2. He shall be empowered to appoint all Ministers of the Crown from the Membership of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors, to serve at His Imperial Majesty's Pleasure.
  3. He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Congress, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Councillors and Representatives present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Privy Council, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the Empire, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law; but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the His Imperial Majesty alone, in the Chancellor of the Empire, in the Courts of Law, or in the Ministers of the Crown.

Section 3: The Chancellor

  1. The Executive Powers vested in His Imperial Majesty may be at His discretion devolved to an Imperial Government of Cygnia. This Government shall be led by a Chancellor of the Empire. The Chancellor shall be he who will Command the Confidence of the House of Representatives. All other members of the Government shall be nominated by the Chancellor, subject to the Approval of His Imperial Majesty.
  2. No Person except a Citizen of the Empire shall be eligible to the Office of Chancellor; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of 30 years, and been 15 years a Resident within the Empire.
  3. In Case of the Removal of the Chancellor from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on whomever His Imperial Majesty may invite, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability of the Chancellor, declaring what Officer shall then act as Chancellor, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a Chancellor shall be appointed.
  4. The Chancellor shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the Empire, or any of them.
  5. Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: — "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will well and truly serve His Imperial Majesty Alexander the First, His heirs and successors according to law, in the office of Chancellor of the Empire of Cygnia. I will to the best of my ability serve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Empire, and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of the Empire, without fear or favour, affection or ill will." The name of the currently ruling Sovereign may replace the name of Alexander the First when the aforementioned has passed, and the High Office of King shall fall to his successors.

Section 4: Cancellarial responsibilities

  1. The Chancellor of the Empire shall be required to hold frequent Audiences with His Imperial Majesty, and to give unto Him Information on the State of His Imperial Majesty's Government.
  2. The Chancellor of the Empire shall also from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Empire, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the Empire, in the presence of His Imperial Majesty.

Section 5: Impeachment and Removal

  1. The Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and all Civil Officers of the Empire, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanours.
  2. His Imperial Majesty shall never be above the Law, and as such for the Same shall be compelled to Abdicate, and to have His designated Heir succeed Him.


Section 1: Federal courts

The Judicial Power of the Empire shall be vested in a single Supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the Supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section 2: Judicial power, jurisdiction and trial by jury

  1. The Judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the Empire, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; — to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public ministers and Consuls; — to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; — to Controversies to which the Empire shall be a Party; — to Controversies between two or more States; — between a State and Citizens of another State; — between Citizens of different States; — between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
  2. In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the Supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, which such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
  3. The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section 3: Treason

  1. Treason against the Empire, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
  2. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment and Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.


Section 1: Full faith and credit

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section 2: Rights of state citizens; rights of extradition

  1. The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
  2. A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.
  3. No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

Section 3: New states and federal property

  1. New States may be admitted by the Congress into the Empire; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the People of the States concerned and of the Congress of the Empire.
  2. The Congress shall have the Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the Empire; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the Empire, or of any particular State.

Section 4: Obligations of the Empire

The Empire of Cygnia shall guarantee to every State in this Federation a Constitutional and Free Form of Government under His Imperial Majesty, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.


The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three quarters of the several States, or by Conventions in three quarters thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress.


  1. All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the Empire under this Constitution, as under the Kingdom of Cygnia.
  2. This Constitution, and the Laws of the Empire which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the Empire, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.
  3. The Senators and Members before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the Empire and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the Empire.


The Ratification of the Constitutional Delegations of four States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the same.
Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Third Day of April in the Year of our Lord One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Ninety Three: