Article 1 (Congressional Provisions) |
Article 1.4 | Article 1.8
(Congressional Powers) | Article 2 (Executive Provisions)
| Article 3 (Judicial Provisions) |
Article 4 (State Protections) | Articles
5-7 (Provisions for Amending) | Signatories
We the People of the United
States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic
Tranquility, provide for the common defence,
promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves
and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United
States of America.
1. All legislative
Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States,
which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
2. The House of Representatives shall
be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several
States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications
requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty
five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who
shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be
and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be
included within this Union, 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, and excluding Indians not taxed,
three fifths of all other Persons [Amendment XIV, 1866-1868]. The actual
Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the
Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years,
in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives
shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at
Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State
of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three,
Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut
five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one,
Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and
vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive
Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
The House of
Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other
Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Section. 3. The Senate of
the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen
by the Legislature thereof [Amendment XVII, 1912–1913], for six Years;
and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first
Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The
Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration
of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year,
and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third
may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation,
or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the
Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of
the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies [Amendment XVII, 1912–1913].
No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty
Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not,
when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but
shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and
also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when
he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting
for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of
the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person
shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal
from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor,
Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall
nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and
Punishment, according to Law.
Section. 4. The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for
Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the
Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter
such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting
shall be on the first Monday in December [Amendment XX, 1932–1933], unless they
shall by Law appoint a different Day.
Section. 5. 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 authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in
such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
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.
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time
publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require
Secrecy; and the Yeas 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
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. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a
Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of
the Treasury of the United States. 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.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected,
be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States,
which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any
Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his
Continuance in Office.
Section. 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House
of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as
on other Bills.
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the
Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the
United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it,
with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who
shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to
reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall
agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to
the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved
by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the
Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of
the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal
of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the
President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been
presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed
it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which
Case it shall not be a Law.
Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and
House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of
Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and
before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being
disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House
of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the
Case of a Bill.
Section. 8. The Congress
shall have 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 United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises
shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and
with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the
subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the
Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current
Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
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;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and
Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules
concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be
for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union,
suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for
governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United
States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the
Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the
discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District
(not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and
the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United
States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the
Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the
Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful
Buildings; --And 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 United States, or in any
Department or Officer thereof.
Section. 9. The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the
States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by
the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a
Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for
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. No
Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to
the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
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.
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.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person
holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent
of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any
kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
Section. 10. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or
Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills
of Credit; make any Thing 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.
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or
Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for
executing it's 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 United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the
Revision and Controul of the Congress.
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 executive Power shall be vested in a President of the
United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four
Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be
elected, as follows:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may
direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and
Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no
Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit
under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for
two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same
State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted
for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and
certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United
States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate
shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all
the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the
greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority
of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who
have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of
Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot
one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the
five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing
the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from
each State having one Vote; a quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a
Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the
States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the
President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors
shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have
equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by
Ballot the Vice President [Amendment XII, 1803–1804].
The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the
Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall
be the same throughout the United States.
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States,
at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the
Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who
shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen
Years a Resident within the United States.
In Case of the Removal of the President 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 Vice President, and the Congress may by
Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of
the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as
President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be
removed, or a President shall be elected
The President 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 United States, or any of them.
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
faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to
the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the
Section. 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and
Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when
called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the
Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive
Departments, 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 United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to
make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he
shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall
appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme
Court, and all other Officers of the United States, 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 President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the
Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen
during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire
at the End of their next Session.
Section. 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress
Information of the State of the Union, 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 receive
Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be
faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United
Section. 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of
the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and
Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Article. III. Section. 1. The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested
in one 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. The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and
Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, 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 United
States shall be a Party; --to Controversies between two or more States; --between
a State and Citizens of another State [Amendment XI, 1803–1804]; --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.
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, with such
Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
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 against the United States 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.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of 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 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.
Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of
Citizens in the several States. 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. 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
[Amendment XIII, 1865].
Section. 3. New States
may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; 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
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and
Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the
United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to
Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Section. 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this
Union a Republican Form of Government, 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.
Procedures for Amendments
Article. V. 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 fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths
thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the
Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One
thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and
fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State,
without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
Article. VI. All Debts contracted
and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall
be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in
Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the
Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the
Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution
or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the
several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of
the United States 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 United
Article. VII. The Ratification of
the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of
this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
[Corrigenda] [The Word,
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Words "is tried" being interlined between the thirty second and
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Attest William Jackson
Secretary done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present
the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven
hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of
America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,Go. WASHINGTON--Presidt.
and deputy from Virginia
New York . . . .
THOS. FITZ SIMONS
GUNNING BEDFORD jun
DAN OF ST THOS. JENIFER
RICHD. DOBBS SPAIGHT
In Convention Monday, September
Present The States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Mr. Hamilton
from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North
Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.Resolved, That
the preceeding Constitution be laid before the
United States in Congress assembled, and that it is the Opinion of this
Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of
Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the
Recommendation of its Legislature, for their Assent and Ratification; and
that each Convention assenting to, and ratifying the Same, should give Notice
thereof to the United States in Congress assembled. Resolved, That it is the
Opinion of this Convention, that as soon as the Conventions of nine States
shall have ratified this Constitution, the United States in Congress
assembled should fix a Day on which Electors should be appointed by the
States which have ratified the same, and a Day on which the Electors should
assemble to vote for the President, and the Time and Place for commencing
Proceedings under this Constitution. That after such Publication the Electors
should be appointed, and the Senators and Representatives elected: That the
Electors should meet on the Day fixed for the Election of the President, and
should transmit their Votes certified, signed, sealed and directed, as the
Constitution requires, to the Secretary of the United States in Congress
assembled, that the Senators and Representatives should convene at the Time
and Place assigned; that the Senators should appoint a President of the
Senate, for the sole purpose of receiving, opening and counting the Votes for
President; and, that after he shall be chosen, the Congress, together with
the President, should, without Delay, proceed to execute this Constitution.By the Unanimous Order of the Convention
W. JACKSON Secretary.