Text of the U.S. Constitution
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.
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.
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 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
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 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 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 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.
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 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
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
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 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, 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 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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