We the people of the United States, in
order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,
provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the 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 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 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. (see
Amendment XIV) 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
The House of Representatives shall choose 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. (see Amendment XVII)
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 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. (see Amendment XVII)
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
The Vice President of the United States shall
be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall choose their other officers,
and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall
exercise the office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole power to try all
impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When
the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no
person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present.
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 choosing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in
every year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December (see Amendment XX), unless they shall by law appoint a
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 behavior, and, with the concurrence of two
thirds, expel a member.
Each House shall keep a journal of its
proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their
judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House on any
question shall, at the desire of one fifth of those present, be entered 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
increased during such time: and no person holding any office under the United States,
shall be a member of either House during his continuance in office.
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 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 taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay
the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but
all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United
To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and
among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;
To establish a uniform rule of naturalization,
and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and
of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting
the securities and current coin of the United States;
To establish post offices and post roads;
To promote the progress of science and useful
arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their
respective writings and discoveries;
To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme
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
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, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And
To make all laws which shall be necessary and
proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by
this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer
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
No capitation, or other direct, tax shall be
laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be
taken. (see Amendment XVI)
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
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 anything 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 control of the
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 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 Congress may determine the time of choosing
the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the
same throughout the United States.
No person except a natural born citizen, or a
citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be
eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office
who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a
resident within the United States.
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
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
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 (see Amendment
XI) ;--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.
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
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 crime.
No person held to service or labor in one
state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or
regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on
claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due. (see Amendment XIII)
Section 3. New
states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states 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
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.
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, anything 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.
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
In witness whereof We have
hereunto subscribed our Names,