You are on page 1of 8

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription

Note: The following text is a transcription of the Constitution in its original form. Items that are hyperlinked have since been amended or superseded .

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic
Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our osterity, do ordain and establish this !onstitution for the United States of "merica#

Article. I.
Section. 1. "ll legislative o$ers herein granted shall be vested in a !ongress of the United States, $hich shall consist of a Senate and %ouse of &epresentatives# Section. 2. The %ouse of &epresentatives shall be composed of 'embers chosen every second (ear by the eople of the several States, and the )lectors in each State shall have the *ualifications requisite for )lectors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature# +o erson shall be a &epresentative $ho shall not have attained to the "ge of t$enty five (ears, and been seven (ears a !iti,en of the United States, and $ho shall not, $hen elected, be an -nhabitant of that State in $hich he shall be chosen# &epresentatives and direct Ta.es shall be apportioned among the several States $hich may be included $ithin this Union, according to their respective +umbers, $hich shall be determined by adding to the $hole +umber of free ersons, including those bound to Service for a Term of (ears, and e.cluding -ndians not ta.ed, three fifths of all other ersons# The actual )numeration shall be made $ithin three (ears after the first 'eeting of the !ongress of the United States, and $ithin every subsequent Term of ten (ears, in such 'anner as they shall by La$ direct# The +umber of &epresentatives shall not e.ceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one &epresentative/ and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of +e$ %ampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, 'assachusetts eight, &hode0-sland and rovidence lantations one, !onnecticut five, +e$0(or1 si., +e$ Jersey four, ennsylvania eight, 2ela$are one, 'aryland si., 3irginia ten, +orth !arolina five, South !arolina five, and 4eorgia three# When vacancies happen in the &epresentation from any State, the ).ecutive "uthority thereof shall issue Writs of )lection to fill such 3acancies# The %ouse of &epresentatives shall chuse their Spea1er and other Officers/ and shall have the sole o$er of -mpeachment# Section. 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of t$o Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for si. (ears/ and each Senator shall have one 3ote# -mmediately after they shall be assembled in !onsequence of the first )lection, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three !lasses# The Seats of the Senators of the first !lass shall be vacated at the ).piration of the second (ear, of the second !lass at the ).piration of the fourth (ear, and of the third !lass at the ).piration of the si.th (ear, so that one third may be chosen every second (ear/ and if 3acancies happen by &esignation, or other$ise, during the &ecess of the Legislature of any State, the ).ecutive thereof may ma1e temporary "ppointments until the ne.t 'eeting of the Legislature, $hich shall then fill such 3acancies# +o erson shall be a Senator $ho shall not have attained to the "ge of thirty (ears, and been nine (ears a !iti,en of the United States, and $ho shall not, $hen elected, be an -nhabitant of that State for $hich he shall be chosen# The 3ice resident of the United States shall be resident of the Senate, but shall have no 3ote, unless they be equally divided#

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a resident pro tempore, in the "bsence of the 3ice resident, or $hen he shall e.ercise the Office of resident of the United States# The Senate shall have the sole o$er to try all -mpeachments# When sitting for that urpose, they shall be on Oath or "ffirmation# When the resident of the United States is tried, the !hief Justice shall preside5 "nd no erson shall be convicted $ithout the !oncurrence of t$o thirds of the 'embers present# Judgment in !ases of -mpeachment shall not e.tend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and en6oy any Office of honor, Trust or rofit under the United States5 but the arty convicted shall nevertheless be liable and sub6ect to -ndictment, Trial, Judgment and unishment, according to La$# Section. 4. The Times, laces and 'anner of holding )lections for Senators and &epresentatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof/ but the !ongress may at any time by La$ ma1e or alter such &egulations, e.cept as to the laces of chusing Senators# The !ongress shall assemble at least once in every (ear, and such 'eeting shall be on the first 'onday in 2ecember, unless they shall by La$ appoint a different 2ay# Section. . )ach %ouse shall be the Judge of the )lections, &eturns and *ualifications of its o$n 'embers, and a 'a6ority of each shall constitute a *uorum to do Business/ but a smaller +umber may ad6ourn from day to day, and may be authori,ed to compel the "ttendance of absent 'embers, in such 'anner, and under such enalties as each %ouse may provide# )ach %ouse may determine the &ules of its roceedings, punish its 'embers for disorderly Behaviour, and, $ith the !oncurrence of t$o thirds, e.pel a 'ember# )ach %ouse shall 1eep a Journal of its roceedings, and from time to time publish the same, e.cepting such arts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy/ and the (eas and +ays of the 'embers of either %ouse on any question shall, at the 2esire of one fifth of those resent, be entered on the Journal# +either %ouse, during the Session of !ongress, shall, $ithout the !onsent of the other, ad6ourn for more than three days, nor to any other lace than that in $hich the t$o %ouses shall be sitting# Section. !. The Senators and &epresentatives shall receive a !ompensation for their Services, to be ascertained by La$, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States# They shall in all !ases, e.cept Treason, 7elony and Breach of the eace, be privileged from "rrest during their "ttendance at the Session of their respective %ouses, and in going to and returning from the same/ and for any Speech or 2ebate in either %ouse, they shall not be questioned in any other lace# +o Senator or &epresentative shall, during the Time for $hich he $as elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the "uthority of the United States, $hich shall have been created, or the )moluments $hereof shall have been encreased during such time/ and no erson holding any Office under the United States, shall be a 'ember of either %ouse during his !ontinuance in Office# Section. ". "ll Bills for raising &evenue shall originate in the %ouse of &epresentatives/ but the Senate may propose or concur $ith "mendments as on other Bills# )very Bill $hich shall have passed the %ouse of &epresentatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a La$, be presented to the resident of the United States5 -f he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, $ith his Ob6ections to that %ouse in $hich it shall have originated, $ho shall enter the Ob6ections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it# -f after such &econsideration t$o thirds of that %ouse shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together $ith the Ob6ections, to the other %ouse, by $hich it shall li1e$ise be reconsidered, and if approved by t$o thirds of that %ouse, it shall become a La$# But in all such !ases the 3otes of both %ouses shall be

determined by yeas and +ays, and the +ames of the ersons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each %ouse respectively# -f any Bill shall not be returned by the resident $ithin ten 2ays 8Sundays e.cepted9 after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a La$, in li1e 'anner as if he had signed it, unless the !ongress by their "d6ournment prevent its &eturn, in $hich !ase it shall not be a La$# )very Order, &esolution, or 3ote to $hich the !oncurrence of the Senate and %ouse of &epresentatives may be necessary 8e.cept on a question of "d6ournment9 shall be presented to the resident of the United States/ and before the Same shall ta1e )ffect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by t$o thirds of the Senate and %ouse of &epresentatives, according to the &ules and Limitations prescribed in the !ase of a Bill# Section. #. The !ongress shall have o$er To lay and collect Ta.es, 2uties, -mposts and ).cises, to pay the 2ebts and provide for the common 2efence and general Welfare of the United States/ but all 2uties, -mposts and ).cises shall be uniform throughout the United States/ To borro$ 'oney on the credit of the United States/ To regulate !ommerce $ith foreign +ations, and among the several States, and $ith the -ndian Tribes/ To establish an uniform &ule of +aturali,ation, and uniform La$s on the sub6ect of Ban1ruptcies throughout the United States/ To coin 'oney, regulate the 3alue thereof, and of foreign !oin, and fi. the Standard of Weights and 'easures/ To provide for the unishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current !oin of the United States/ To establish ost Offices and post &oads/ To promote the rogress of Science and useful "rts, by securing for limited Times to "uthors and -nventors the e.clusive &ight to their respective Writings and 2iscoveries/ To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme !ourt/ To define and punish iracies and 7elonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the La$ of +ations/ To declare War, grant Letters of 'arque and &eprisal, and ma1e &ules concerning !aptures on Land and Water/ To raise and support "rmies, but no "ppropriation of 'oney to that Use shall be for a longer Term than t$o (ears/ To provide and maintain a +avy/ To ma1e &ules for the 4overnment and &egulation of the land and naval 7orces/ To provide for calling forth the 'ilitia to e.ecute the La$s of the Union, suppress -nsurrections and repel -nvasions/ To provide for organi,ing, arming, and disciplining, the 'ilitia, and for governing such art of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the "ppointment of the Officers, and the "uthority of training the 'ilitia according to the discipline prescribed by !ongress/ To e.ercise e.clusive Legislation in all !ases $hatsoever, over such 2istrict 8not e.ceeding ten 'iles square9 as may, by !ession of particular States, and the "cceptance of !ongress, become the Seat of the 4overnment of the United States, and to e.ercise li1e "uthority over all laces purchased by the !onsent of the Legislature of the State in $hich the Same shall be, for the )rection of 7orts, 'aga,ines, "rsenals, doc10(ards, and other needful Buildings/00"nd To ma1e all La$s $hich shall be necessary and proper for carrying into ).ecution the foregoing o$ers, and all other o$ers vested by this !onstitution in the 4overnment of the United States, or in any 2epartment or Officer thereof# Section. $.

The 'igration or -mportation of such ersons as any of the States no$ e.isting shall thin1 proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the !ongress prior to the (ear one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Ta. or duty may be imposed on such -mportation, not e.ceeding ten dollars for each erson# The rivilege of the Writ of %abeas !orpus shall not be suspended, unless $hen in !ases of &ebellion or -nvasion the public Safety may require it# +o Bill of "ttainder or e. post facto La$ shall be passed# +o !apitation, or other direct, Ta. shall be laid, unless in roportion to the !ensus or enumeration herein before directed to be ta1en# +o Ta. or 2uty shall be laid on "rticles e.ported from any State# +o reference shall be given by any &egulation of !ommerce or &evenue to the orts of one State over those of another/ nor shall 3essels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay 2uties in another# +o 'oney shall be dra$n from the Treasury, but in !onsequence of "ppropriations made by La$/ and a regular Statement and "ccount of the &eceipts and ).penditures of all public 'oney shall be published from time to time# +o Title of +obility shall be granted by the United States5 "nd no erson holding any Office of rofit or Trust under them, shall, $ithout the !onsent of the !ongress, accept of any present, )molument, Office, or Title, of any 1ind $hatever, from any :ing, rince, or foreign State# Section. 1%. +o State shall enter into any Treaty, "lliance, or !onfederation/ grant Letters of 'arque and &eprisal/ coin 'oney/ emit Bills of !redit/ ma1e any Thing but gold and silver !oin a Tender in ayment of 2ebts/ pass any Bill of "ttainder, e. post facto La$, or La$ impairing the Obligation of !ontracts, or grant any Title of +obility# +o State shall, $ithout the !onsent of the !ongress, lay any -mposts or 2uties on -mports or ).ports, e.cept $hat may be absolutely necessary for e.ecuting it;s inspection La$s5 and the net roduce of all 2uties and -mposts, laid by any State on -mports or ).ports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States/ and all such La$s shall be sub6ect to the &evision and !ontroul of the !ongress# +o State shall, $ithout the !onsent of !ongress, lay any 2uty of Tonnage, 1eep Troops, or Ships of War in time of eace, enter into any "greement or !ompact $ith another State, or $ith a foreign o$er, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent 2anger as $ill not admit of delay#

Article. II.
Section. 1. The e.ecutive o$er shall be vested in a resident of the United States of "merica# %e shall hold his Office during the Term of four (ears, and, together $ith the 3ice resident, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follo$s5 )ach State shall appoint, in such 'anner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a +umber of )lectors, equal to the $hole +umber of Senators and &epresentatives to $hich the State may be entitled in the !ongress5 but no Senator or &epresentative, or erson holding an Office of Trust or rofit under the United States, shall be appointed an )lector# The )lectors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for t$o ersons, of $hom one at least shall not be an -nhabitant of the same State $ith themselves# "nd they shall ma1e a List of all the ersons voted for, and of the +umber of 3otes for each/ $hich List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the 4overnment of the United States, directed to the resident of the Senate# The resident of the Senate shall, in the resence of the Senate and %ouse of &epresentatives, open all the !ertificates, and the 3otes shall then be counted# The erson having the greatest +umber of 3otes shall be the resident, if such +umber be a 'a6ority of the $hole +umber of )lectors appointed/ and if there be more than one $ho have such 'a6ority, and have an equal +umber of 3otes, then the %ouse of &epresentatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for resident/ and if no erson have a 'a6ority, then from the five highest on the List the said %ouse shall in li1e 'anner chuse the resident# But in chusing the resident, the 3otes shall be ta1en by States, the &epresentation from each State having one 3ote/ " quorum for this purpose shall consist of a 'ember or 'embers from t$o thirds of the States,

and a 'a6ority of all the States shall be necessary to a !hoice# -n every !ase, after the !hoice of the resident, the erson having the greatest +umber of 3otes of the )lectors shall be the 3ice resident# But if there should remain t$o or more $ho have equal 3otes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the 3ice resident# The !ongress may determine the Time of chusing the )lectors, and the 2ay on $hich they shall give their 3otes/ $hich 2ay shall be the same throughout the United States# +o erson e.cept a natural born !iti,en, or a !iti,en of the United States, at the time of the "doption of this !onstitution, shall be eligible to the Office of resident/ neither shall any erson be eligible to that Office $ho shall not have attained to the "ge of thirty five (ears, and been fourteen (ears a &esident $ithin the United States# -n !ase of the &emoval of the resident from Office, or of his 2eath, &esignation, or -nability to discharge the o$ers and 2uties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the 3ice resident, and the !ongress may by La$ provide for the !ase of &emoval, 2eath, &esignation or -nability, both of the resident and 3ice resident, declaring $hat Officer shall then act as resident, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the 2isability be removed, or a resident shall be elected# The resident shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a !ompensation, $hich shall neither be increased nor diminished during the eriod for $hich he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive $ithin that eriod any other )molument from the United States, or any of them# Before he enter on the ).ecution of his Office, he shall ta1e the follo$ing Oath or "ffirmation500<- do solemnly s$ear 8or affirm9 that - $ill faithfully e.ecute the Office of resident of the United States, and $ill to the best of my "bility, preserve, protect and defend the !onstitution of the United States#< Section. 2. The resident shall be !ommander in !hief of the "rmy and +avy of the United States, and of the 'ilitia of the several States, $hen called into the actual Service of the United States/ he may require the Opinion, in $riting, of the principal Officer in each of the e.ecutive 2epartments, upon any Sub6ect relating to the 2uties of their respective Offices, and he shall have o$er to grant &eprieves and ardons for Offences against the United States, e.cept in !ases of -mpeachment# %e shall have o$er, by and $ith the "dvice and !onsent of the Senate, to ma1e Treaties, provided t$o thirds of the Senators present concur/ and he shall nominate, and by and $ith the "dvice and !onsent of the Senate, shall appoint "mbassadors, other public 'inisters and !onsuls, Judges of the supreme !ourt, and all other Officers of the United States, $hose "ppointments are not herein other$ise provided for, and $hich shall be established by La$5 but the !ongress may by La$ vest the "ppointment of such inferior Officers, as they thin1 proper, in the resident alone, in the !ourts of La$, or in the %eads of 2epartments# The resident shall have o$er to fill up all 3acancies that may happen during the &ecess of the Senate, by granting !ommissions $hich shall e.pire at the )nd of their ne.t Session# Section. 3. %e shall from time to time give to the !ongress -nformation of the State of the Union, and recommend to their !onsideration such 'easures as he shall 6udge necessary and e.pedient/ he may, on e.traordinary Occasions, convene both %ouses, or either of them, and in !ase of 2isagreement bet$een them, $ith &espect to the Time of "d6ournment, he may ad6ourn them to such Time as he shall thin1 proper/ he shall receive "mbassadors and other public 'inisters/ he shall ta1e !are that the La$s be faithfully e.ecuted, and shall !ommission all the Officers of the United States# Section. 4. The resident, 3ice resident and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on -mpeachment for, and !onviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high !rimes and 'isdemeanors#

Article III.
Section. 1.

The 6udicial o$er of the United States shall be vested in one supreme !ourt, and in such inferior !ourts as the !ongress may from time to time ordain and establish# The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior !ourts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a !ompensation, $hich shall not be diminished during their !ontinuance in Office# Section. 2. The 6udicial o$er shall e.tend to all !ases, in La$ and )quity, arising under this !onstitution, the La$s of the United States, and Treaties made, or $hich shall be made, under their "uthority/00to all !ases affecting "mbassadors, other public 'inisters and !onsuls/00to all !ases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction/00to !ontroversies to $hich the United States shall be a arty/00to !ontroversies bet$een t$o or more States/00 bet$een a State and !iti,ens of another State,00bet$een !iti,ens of different States,00bet$een !iti,ens of the same State claiming Lands under 4rants of different States, and bet$een a State, or the !iti,ens thereof, and foreign States, !iti,ens or Sub6ects# -n all !ases affecting "mbassadors, other public 'inisters and !onsuls, and those in $hich a State shall be arty, the supreme !ourt shall have original Jurisdiction# -n all the other !ases before mentioned, the supreme !ourt shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to La$ and 7act, $ith such ).ceptions, and under such &egulations as the !ongress shall ma1e# The Trial of all !rimes, e.cept in !ases of -mpeachment, shall be by Jury/ and such Trial shall be held in the State $here the said !rimes shall have been committed/ but $hen not committed $ithin any State, the Trial shall be at such lace or laces as the !ongress may by La$ have directed# Section. 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their )nemies, giving them "id and !omfort# +o erson shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of t$o Witnesses to the same overt "ct, or on !onfession in open !ourt# The !ongress shall have o$er to declare the unishment of Treason, but no "ttainder of Treason shall $or1 !orruption of Blood, or 7orfeiture e.cept during the Life of the erson attainted#

Article. I&.
Section. 1. 7ull 7aith and !redit shall be given in each State to the public "cts, &ecords, and 6udicial roceedings of every other State# "nd the !ongress may by general La$s prescribe the 'anner in $hich such "cts, &ecords and roceedings shall be proved, and the )ffect thereof# Section. 2. The !iti,ens of each State shall be entitled to all rivileges and -mmunities of !iti,ens in the several States# " erson charged in any State $ith Treason, 7elony, or other !rime, $ho shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on 2emand of the e.ecutive "uthority of the State from $hich he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the !rime# +o erson held to Service or Labour in one State, under the La$s thereof, escaping into another, shall, in !onsequence of any La$ or &egulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on !laim of the arty to $hom such Service or Labour may be due# Section. 3. +e$ States may be admitted by the !ongress into this Union/ but no ne$ State shall be formed or erected $ithin the Jurisdiction of any other State/ nor any State be formed by the Junction of t$o or more States, or arts of States, $ithout the !onsent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as $ell as of the !ongress#

The !ongress shall have o$er to dispose of and ma1e all needful &ules and &egulations respecting the Territory or other roperty belonging to the United States/ and nothing in this !onstitution shall be so construed as to re6udice any !laims of the United States, or of any particular State# Section. 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a &epublican 7orm of 4overnment, and shall protect each of them against -nvasion/ and on "pplication of the Legislature, or of the ).ecutive 8$hen the Legislature cannot be convened9, against domestic 3iolence#

Article. &.
The !ongress, $henever t$o thirds of both %ouses shall deem it necessary, shall propose "mendments to this !onstitution, or, on the "pplication of the Legislatures of t$o thirds of the several States, shall call a !onvention for proposing "mendments, $hich, in either !ase, shall be valid to all -ntents and urposes, as art of this !onstitution, $hen ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by !onventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other 'ode of &atification may be proposed by the !ongress/ rovided that no "mendment $hich may be made prior to the (ear One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any 'anner affect the first and fourth !lauses in the +inth Section of the first "rticle/ and that no State, $ithout its !onsent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate#

Article. &I.
"ll 2ebts contracted and )ngagements entered into, before the "doption of this !onstitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this !onstitution, as under the !onfederation# This !onstitution, and the La$s of the United States $hich shall be made in ursuance thereof/ and all Treaties made, or $hich shall be made, under the "uthority of the United States, shall be the supreme La$ of the Land/ and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the !onstitution or La$s of any State to the !ontrary not$ithstanding# The Senators and &epresentatives before mentioned, and the 'embers of the several State Legislatures, and all e.ecutive and 6udicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or "ffirmation, to support this !onstitution/ but no religious Test shall ever be required as a *ualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States#

Article. &II.
The &atification of the !onventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the )stablishment of this !onstitution bet$een the States so ratifying the Same# The Word, <the,< being interlined bet$een the seventh and eighth Lines of the first age, the Word <Thirty< being partly $ritten on an )ra,ure in the fifteenth Line of the first age, The Words <is tried< being interlined bet$een the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first age and the Word <the< being interlined bet$een the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second age# "ttest William Jac1son Secretary done in !onvention by the Unanimous !onsent of the States present the Seventeenth 2ay of September in the (ear of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and )ighty seven and of the -ndependance of the United States of "merica the T$elfth -n $itness $hereof We have hereunto subscribed our +ames, 4=# Washington Presidt and deputy from Virginia 'ela(are 4eo5 &ead 4unning Bedford 6un John 2ic1inson

&ichard Bassett Jaco5 Broom )ar*land James 'c%enry 2an of St Thos# Jenifer 2anl# !arroll &ir+inia John Blair James 'adison Jr# North Carolina Wm# Blount &ichd# 2obbs Spaight %u Williamson South Carolina J# &utledge !harles !otes$orth inc1ney !harles inc1ney ierce Butler ,eor+ia William 7e$ "br Bald$in Ne( -a.pshire John Langdon +icholas 4ilman )assachusetts +athaniel 4orham &ufus :ing Connecticut Wm# Saml# Johnson &oger Sherman Ne( /or0 "le.ander %amilton Ne( 1erse* Wil5 Livingston 2avid Brearley Wm# aterson Jona5 2ayton Penns*l2ania B 7ran1lin Thomas 'ifflin &obt# 'orris 4eo# !lymer Thos# 7it,Simons Jared -ngersoll James Wilson 4ouv 'orris