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U.S. Constitution


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.
Article.I.
SECTION. 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.
SECTION. 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 Qualifi -
cations 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 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 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,]*
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.]*
1
C O N S T I T U T I O N O F T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S
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 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.
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
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 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.
2
C O N S T I T U T I O N O F T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S
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 Adjournament 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 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;
3
C O N S T I T U T I O N O F T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S
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 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 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.
4
C O N S T I T U T I O N O F T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S
Article.II.
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.]*
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 United States.”
5
C O N S T I T U T I O N O F T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S
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 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 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 States.
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.
6
C O N S T I T U T I O N O F T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S
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;-]* 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.
7
C O N S T I T U T I O N O F T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S
Article.IV.
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.
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 fl ed, 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.]*
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 Congress.
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.
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.
8
C O N S T I T U T I O N O F T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S
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
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
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 States.
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,
Go. Washington--Presidt:
and deputy from Virginia
NEW HAMPSHIRE
John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman
MASSACHUSETTS
Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King
CONNECTICUT
Wm. Saml. Johnson
Roger Sherman
NEW YORK
Alexander Hamilton
NEW JERSEY
Wil: Livingston
David Brearley
Wm. Paterson
Jona: Dayton
PENNSYLVANIA
B Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
Robt Morris
Geo. Clymer
Thos. FitzSimons
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson
Gouv Morris
9
C O N S T I T U T I O N O F T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S
DELAWARE
Geo: Read
Gunning Bedford jun
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jaco: Broom
MARYLAND
James McHenry
Dan of St. Thos. Jenifer
Danl Carroll
VIRGINIA
John Blair-
James Madison Jr.
NORTH CAROLINA
Wm. Blount
Richd. Dobbs Spaight
Hu Williamson
SOUTH CAROLINA
J. Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler
GEORGIA
William Few
Abr Baldwin
Attest William Jackson Secretary
In Convention Monday
September 17th, 1787.
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 shall 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
Go. Washington-Presidt:
W. JACKSON Secretary.
* Language in brackets has been changed by amendment.
10
C O N S T I T U T I O N O F T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S
Preambletothe
BillofRights
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March,
one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at
the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed
a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse
of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive
clauses should be added: And as extending the ground
of public confidence in the Government, will best
ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States of America,
in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses
concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to
the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments
to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of
which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said
Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as
part of the said Constitution; viz.
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the
Constitution of the United States of America, proposed
by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the
several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the
original Constitution.
(Note: The first 10 amendments to the Constitution were
ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as
the “Bill of Rights.”)
AmendmentI.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging
the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right
of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
Government for a redress of grievances.
AmendmentII.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of
a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,
shall not be infringed.
AmendmentIII.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any
house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of
war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
AmendmentIV.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and
seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue,
but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation,
and particularly describing the place to be searched,
and the persons or things to be seized.
AmendmentV.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise
infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of
a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval
forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of
War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for
the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb;
nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness
against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property,
without due process of law; nor shall private property be
taken for public use, without just compensation.
THE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION OF
THE UNITED STATES AS RATIFIED BY THE STATES
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C O N S T I T U T I O N O F T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S
AmendmentVI.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the
right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of
the State and district wherein the crime shall have been
committed, which district shall have been previously
ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses
against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses
in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel
for his defence.
AmendmentVII.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy
shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be
preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined
in any Court of the United States, than according
to the rules of the common law.
AmendmentVIII.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines
imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
AmendmentIX.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights,
shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained
by the people.
AmendmentX.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,
nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to
the States respectively, or to the people.
AMENDMENTS 11-27
AmendmentXI.
Passed by Congress March 4, 1794. Ratified February 7, 1795.
(Note: A portion of Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution was
modified by the 11
th Amendment.)
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed
to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted
against one of the United States by Citizens of another
State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.
AmendmentXII.
Passed by Congress December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804.
(Note: A portion of Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution was
changed by the 12th Amendment.)
The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote
by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom,
at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with
themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted
for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted
for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of
all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted
for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each,
which lists 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
for President, shall be the President, if such number be a
majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if
no person have such majority, then from the persons having
the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those
voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall
choose immediately, by ballot, 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. [And if the House of Representatives
shall not choose a President whenever the right of
choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of
March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as
President, as in case of the death or other constitutional
disability of the President.-]* The person having the greatest
number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President,
if such number be a majority of the whole number
of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority,
then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate
shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose
shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators,
and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to
a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the
office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President
of the United States.
*Superseded by Section 3 of the 20th Amendment.
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AmendmentXIII.
Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6,
1865.
(Note: A portion of Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution
was changed by the 13th Amendment.)
SECTION 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a
punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been
duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any
place subject to their jurisdiction.
SECTION 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.
AmendmentXIV.
Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.
(Note: Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution was modified by
Section 2 of the 14th Amendment.)
SECTION 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and
subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United
States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall
make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges
or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall
any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property,
without due process of law; nor deny to any person within
its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
SECTION 2.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several
States according to their respective numbers, counting the
whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians
not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for
the choice of electors for President and Vice President of
the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive
and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the
Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants
of such State, [being twenty-one years of age,]* and
citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except
for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of
representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion
which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the
whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in
such State.
SECTION 3.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress,
or elector of President and Vice President, or hold
any office, civil or military, under the United States, or
under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a
member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States,
or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive
or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution
of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or
rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the
enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds
of each House, remove such disability.
SECTION 4.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized
by law, including debts incurred for payment of
pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection
or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the
United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt
or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion
against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation
of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and
claims shall be held illegal and void.
SECTION 5.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate
legislation, the provisions of this article.
*Changed by Section 1 of the 26th Amendment.
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AmendmentXV.
Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.
SECTION 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be
denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on
account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
SECTION 2.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.
AmendmentXVI.
Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913.
(Note: Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution was modified by
the 16
th Amendment.)
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on
incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment
among the several States, and without regard to any
census or enumeration.
AmendmentXVII.
Passed by Congress May 13, 1912. Ratified April 8, 1913.
(Note: Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution was modified by
the 17th Amendment.)
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two
Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for
six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors
in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors
of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State
in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall
issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That
the legislature of any State may empower the executive
thereof to make temporary appointments until the people
fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the
election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes
valid as part of the Constitution.
AmendmentXVIII.
Passed by Congress December 18, 1917. Ratified January 16,
1919. Repealed by the 21
st Amendment, December 5, 1933.
SECTION 1.
After one year from the ratification of this article the
manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors
within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation
thereof from the United States and all territory subject to
the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby
prohibited.
SECTION 2.
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent
power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
SECTION 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been
ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures
of the several States, as provided in the Constitution,
within seven years from the date of the submission hereof
to the States by the Congress.
AmendmentXIX.
Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not
be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State
on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate
legislation.
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AmendmentXX.
Passed by Congress March 2, 1932. Ratified January 23, 1933.
(Note: Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution was modified
by Section 2 of this Amendment. In addition, a portion of the
12th Amendment was superseded by Section 3.)
SECTION 1.
The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end
at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators
and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January,
of the years in which such terms would have ended if this
article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors
shall then begin.
SECTION 2.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and
such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January,
unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
SECTION 3.
If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the
President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President
elect shall become President. If a President shall not
have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of
his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify,
then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a
President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law
provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a
Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then
act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act
shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until
a President or Vice President shall have qualified.
SECTION 4.
The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death
of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives
may choose a President whenever the right of choice
shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the
death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may
choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall
have devolved upon them.
SECTION 5.
Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October
following the ratification of this article.
SECTION 6.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been
ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures
of three-fourths of the several States within seven
years from the date of its submission.
AmendmentXXI.
Passed by Congress February 20, 1933. Ratified December 5,
1933.
SECTION 1.
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution
of the United States is hereby repealed.
SECTION 2.
The transportation or importation into any State, Territory,
or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein
of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is
hereby prohibited.
SECTION 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been
ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions
in the several States, as provided in the Constitution,
within seven years from the date of the submission hereof
to the States by the Congress.
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AmendmentXXII.
Passed by Congress March 21, 1947. Ratified February 27,
1951.
SECTION 1.
No person shall be elected to the office of the President
more than twice, and no person who has held the office of
President, or acted as President, for more than two years of
a term to which some other person was elected President
shall be elected to the office of President more than once.
But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the
office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress,
and shall not prevent any person who may be holding
the office of President, or acting as President, during the
term within which this Article becomes operative from
holding the office of President or acting as President during
the remainder of such term.
SECTION 2.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been
ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures
of three-fourths of the several States within seven
years from the date of its submission to the States by the
Congress.
AmendmentXXIII.
Passed by Congress June 16, 1960. Ratified March 29, 1961.
SECTION 1.
The District constituting the seat of Government of the
United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress
may direct:
A number of electors of President and Vice President equal
to the whole number of Senators and Representatives
in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it
were a State, but in no event more than the least populous
State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the
States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of
the election of President and Vice President, to be electors
appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District
and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article
of amendment.
SECTION 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.
AmendmentXXIV.
Passed by Congress August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964.
SECTION 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary
or other election for President or Vice President, for
electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or
Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged
by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay
poll tax or other tax.
SECTION 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.
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AmendmentXXV.
Passed by Congress July 6, 1965. Ratified February 10, 1967.
(Note: Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution was modified by
the 25th Amendment.)
SECTION 1.
In case of the removal of the President from office or of
his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become
President.
SECTION 2.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President,
the President shall nominate a Vice President who
shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of
both Houses of Congress.
SECTION 3.
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro
tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives his written declaration that he is unable
to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until
he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary,
such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice
President as Acting President.
SECTION 4.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the
principal officers of the executive departments or of such
other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the
President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the
House of Representatives their written declaration that the
President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of
his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the
powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
17
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President
pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists,
he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless
the Vice President and a majority of either the principal
officers of the executive department or of such other body
as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days
to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker
of the House of Representatives their written declaration
that the President is unable to discharge the powers and
duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the
issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose
if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days
after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress
is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is
required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both
Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers
and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to
discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President
shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
AmendmentXXVI.
Passed by Congress March 23, 1971. Ratified July 1, 1971.
(Note: Amendment 14, Section 2 of the Constitution was
modified by Section 1 of the 26th Amendment.)
SECTION 1.
The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen
years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged
by the United States or by any State on account of age.
SECTION 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.
AmendmentXXVII.
Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the
Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election
of representatives shall have intervened.

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