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 of
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 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
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 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
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 Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a
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
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.
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 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
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of
Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on
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 naval
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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 in Office.
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising
under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made,
or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting
Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty
and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States
shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-- between a
State and Citizens of another State;--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 thereof.
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 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, 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
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient
for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying
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
Presidt and deputy from Virginia
Gunning Bedford jun
Dan of St Thos. Jenifer
James Madison Jr.
Richd. Dobbs Spaight
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Wm. Saml. Johnson