Constitution of the United States of America
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common
defense, 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.
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the
United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of
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
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
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
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.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each
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, 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
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.
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
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time
publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require
Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question
shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the
Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of
the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that
in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
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
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
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives;
but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the
Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the
United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it,
with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall
enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it.
If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the
Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by
which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that
House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses
shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for
and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House
respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten
Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same
shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by
their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.
Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and
House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of
Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and
before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being
disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of
Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case
of a Bill.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and
Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general
Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be
uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and
with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the
subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the
Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current
Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited
Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective
Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and
Offences against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules
concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall
be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United
States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual
Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the
principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject
relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to
grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in
Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make
Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall
nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint
Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court,
and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein
otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the
Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they
think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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
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.
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
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for
the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the
The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the
first Page, the Word "Thirty" being partly written on an Erazure in the
fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words "is tried" being interlined
between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the
Word "the" being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of
the second Page.
Attest William Jackson Secretary
Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the
Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand
seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United
States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto
subscribed our Names,
Presidt and deputy from Virginia
- Geo: Read
- Gunning Bedford jun
- John Dickinson
- Richard Bassett
- Jaco: Broom
- James McHenry
- Dan of St Thos. Jenifer
- Danl. Carroll
- 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
- William Few
- Abr Baldwin
- New Hampshire
- John Langdon
- Nicholas Gilman
- Nathaniel Gorham
- Rufus King
- Wm. Saml. Johnson
- Roger Sherman
- New York
- Alexander Hamilton
- New Jersey
- Wil: Livingston
- David Brearley
- Wm. Paterson
- Jona: Dayton
- B Franklin
- Thomas Mifflin
- Robt. Morris
- Geo. Clymer
- Thos. FitzSimons
- Jared Ingersoll
- James Wilson
- Gouv Morris
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