We the People of the United States, in order to form
a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide
for the common defense, 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 America.
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
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 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 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
When vacancies happen in the representation from any state,
the Executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such
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 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.
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 by 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 behavior, 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 in 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 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 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 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.
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 defense 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 a 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 offenses 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 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
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
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
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
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.
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 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 United
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 offenses 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 misdemeanors.
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.
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
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
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 attained.
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.
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
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
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.
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 Senate.
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 Confederation.
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
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 States.
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
PRESIDENT AND DEPUTY FROM VIRGINIA
Gunning Bedford, Jr.
Dan of St. Thomas Jennifer
James Madison, Jr.
Richard Dobbs Spaight
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
[Editor's Note, 4/2/2002 (Gz): Truncated all Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America as they have been noded elsewhere, with links and appropriate commentary.]