The Constitution

The Amendments


    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 blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do
ordain and establish the Constitution of the United States of

Article I.

Sect. 1. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in
a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate
and a House of Representatives.

Sect. 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.
No person 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 chosen.

Representative 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. 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 be law direct. The number of
representative 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 choose 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
Georgia three.

When 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 choose the Speaker and other
officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment.

Sect. 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two
senators from each state chosen by the legislature thereof, for
six years and each senator shall have one vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of the
first election, they hall 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

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, 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 choose 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 present.

Judgement 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.

Sect. 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
choosing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such
meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they
shall be law appoint a different day.

Sect. 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
either house on any question shall, at the desire of one-fifth of
those present be entered on the journal.

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.

Sect. 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 increased 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.

Sect. 7. All bill for raising revenue shall originate in the house
of representative; 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 is 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 Representative 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.

Sect. 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

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 states in which the same shall be, for the
erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, 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 the Constitution in the government of the United States, or in
any department or officer thereof.

Sect. 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 each person.

The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended,
unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety
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.

Sect. 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 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
United States; all such laws shall be subject to the revision and
control 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.

Article II.

Sect. 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 am equal 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 choose 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 choose the
president. But in choosing 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
choose from them by ballot the vice-president.

The Congress may determine the time of the choosing 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 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 be elected.

The president shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a
compensation, which shall neither be encreased 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 United States."

Sect. 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 session.

Sect. 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 States.

Sect. 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

Article III.

Sect. 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 behavior, and shall, at stated time, receive for their
services a compensation which shall not be diminished during their
continuance in office.

Sect. 2.

1. 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, 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 a 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.

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.

Sect. 3.

1. 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.

2. 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

Article IV

Sect. 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the
public act, 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.

Sect. 2.

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 labor 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 labor,
but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such
service or labor may be due.

Sect. 3.

1. 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 Congress.

2. 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.

Sect. 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.

Article V.

The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both House 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

Article VI.

Sect. 1. 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

Sect. 2. 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, anything in the constitution or laws
of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

Sect. 3. 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.

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.

Attest: William Jackson, Secretary
George Washington

John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman

Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King

Alexander Hamilton

William Livingston
David Brearley
William Paterson
Jonathan Dayton

Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
Robert Morris
George Clymer
Thomas Fitzsimons
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson
Gouverneur Morris

George Read
Gunning Bedford, Jr.
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jacob Broom

James McHenry
Dan of St. Thomas Jennifer
Daniel Carroll

John Blair
James Madison, Jr.

William Blount
Richard Dobbs Spaight
Hugh Williamson

John Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler

William Few
Abraham Baldwin

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