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.
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress
of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House
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
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the
Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill
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 State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years;
and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the
first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into
three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall
be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second
Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class
at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be
chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation,
or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State,
the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the
next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.
No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the
Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United
States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that
State for which he shall be chosen.
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of
the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President
pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he
shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.
When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.
When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice
shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence
of two thirds of the Members present.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than
to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy
any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States:
but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject
to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
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
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
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish
its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence
of two thirds, expel a Member.
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from
time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in
their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas 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
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 Office.
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
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 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.
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States
now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited
by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and
eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not
exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended,
unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety
may require it.
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in
Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed
to be taken.
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or
Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another; nor shall
Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear,
or pay Duties in another.
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence
of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account
of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be
published from time to time.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And
no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall,
without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument,
Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince,
or foreign State.
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
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 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."
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 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws
of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members
of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial
Officers, both of the United States and of the several States,
shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution;
but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification
to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be
sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between
the States so ratifying the Same.
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,
President and deputy from Virginia
- Geo: Read
Gunning Bedford jun
- James McHenry
Dan of St Thos. Jenifer
- John Blair--
James Madison Jr.
- North Carolina
- Wm. Blount
Richd. Dobbs Spaight
- South Carolina
- J. Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
- William Few
- New Hampshire
- John Langdon
- Nathaniel Gorham
- Wm. Saml. Johnson
- New York
- Alexander Hamilton
- New Jersey
- Wil: Livingston
- B Franklin