CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
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.
Section. 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested
a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and
House of Representatives.
Section. 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of
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.
[Representatives 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
*Changed by section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment.
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 Georgia three.
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the
Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill
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
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
*Changed by the Seventeenth Amendment.
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, 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 present.
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
*Changed by the Seventeenth Amendment.
Monday in December,]* unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.
Section. 5. Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections,
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
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 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.
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
*Changed by section 2 of the Twentieth Amendment.
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
Section. 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the
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 becomes 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
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
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 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
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
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 may
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
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
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
*See Sixteenth Amendment.
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
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.
Section. 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of
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.]*
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
[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
*Changed by the Twelfth Amendment.
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 United States.”
Section. 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army
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
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
*Changed by the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.
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
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.
Section. 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers
United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and
Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Section. 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall be
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
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
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
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
Section. 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only
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
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.
*Changed by the Eleventh Amendment.
Section. 1. Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to
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
Section. 2. The 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
[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 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
*Changed by the Thirteenth Amendment.
Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Section. 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in
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
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
it's equal Suffrage in the Senate.
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.
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
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,
and deputy from Virginia
New Hampshire John Langdon
Massachusetts Nathaniel Gorham
Connecticut Wm. Saml. Johnson
New York Alexander Hamilton
New Jersey Wil: Livingston
Pennsylvania B Franklin
Delaware Geo: Read
Gunning Bedford jun
Maryland James McHenry
Dan of St Thos. Jenifer
Virginia John Blair--
James Madison Jr.
North Carolina Wm. Blount
Richd. Dobbs Spaight
South Carolina J. Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Georgia William Few
Attest William Jackson Secretary