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. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 its 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 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
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
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
The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment,
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
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
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
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
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
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
G. Washington-President 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,
Pennsylvania: B. Franklin, Thomas Mifflin, Robt. Morris,
Geo. Clymer, Thos. FitzSimons, Jared Ingersoll, James Wilson,
Delaware: Geo: Read, Gunning Bedford jun, John Dickinson,
Richard Bassett, Jaco: Broom
Maryland: James McHenry, Dan of St Thos. Jenifer, Danl
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