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
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 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.
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.
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 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
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, 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 States;
To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and
with the Indian tribes;
To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the
subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the
standard of weights and measures;
To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current
coin of the United States;
To establish post offices and post roads;
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited
times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings
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
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 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 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 Congress.
No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage,
keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or
compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless
actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.
Section 1. The executive power shall be vested in a
President of 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 choose by ballot one of them for President; and if no person have a
majority, then from the five highest on the list the said House shall in like
manner choose the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be
taken by States, the representation from each state having one vote; A quorum
for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the
states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. In
every case, after the choice of the President, the person having the greatest
number of votes of the electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should
remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them by
ballot the Vice President.
The Congress may determine the time of choosing 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
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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 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 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
twelfth. In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,
G. 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 Brearly, Wm. Paterson, Jona: Dayton
Pennsylvania: B. Franklin, Thomas Mifflin, Robt. Morris, Geo. Clymer, Thos.
FitzSimons, Jared Ingersoll, James Wilson, Gouv Morris
Delaware: Geo: Read, Gunning Bedford jun, John Dickinson, Richard Bassett,
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,
Georgia: William Few, Abr Baldwin