THE CONSTITUTION

OF THE UNITED STATES

OF AMERICA

 

 

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.

 

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

qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous

branch of the state legislature.

 

No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained

to the age of twenty five years, and been seven years a citizen

of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an

inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.

 

Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among

the several states which may be included within this union,

according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined

by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those

bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not

taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration

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 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, 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 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 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;

 

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.

 

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 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 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."

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 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.

 

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.

 

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, 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.

 

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,

 

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, 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

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