. U.S. Constitution
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,establish Justice, insure domesticTranquility, provide for the common defence,promote the general Welfare, and secure theBlessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for theUnited States of America.Article I – The LegislativeBranch Note
Section 1 – The Legislature
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of theUnited States, which shall consist of a Senate and House ofRepresentatives.
Section 2 – The House
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen everysecond Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in eachState shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the mostnumerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Ageof twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, andwho shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shallbe chosen.
(Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several Stateswhich 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 nottaxed, three fifths of all other Persons.) (The previous sentence inparentheses was modified by the 14th Amendment, section2.)
The actual Enumeration shall be madewithin three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the UnitedStates, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as theyshall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one forevery 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 andProvidence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four,Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolinafive, South Carolina five and Georgia three.
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the ExecutiveAuthority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
The House of Representatives shall chuse theirSpeaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Section 3 – The Senate
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from eachState,
(chosen by the Legislature thereof,) (The precedingwords in parentheses superseded by 17th Amendment,section 1.)
for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the firstElection, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. TheSeats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration ofthe second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, andof the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third maybe chosen every second Year;
(and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, duringthe Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may maketemporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shallthen fill such Vacancies.) (The preceding words in parentheses weresuperseded by the 17th Amendment, section 2.)
No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age ofthirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and whoshall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall bechosen.
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 theabsence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office ofPresident 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 istried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted withoutthe Concurrence of two thirds of the Memberspresent.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shallnot extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to holdand enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: butthe Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment,Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
Section 4 – Elections, Meetings
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators andRepresentatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof;but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, exceptas to the Place of Chusing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meetingshall
(be on the first Monday in December,) (The precedingwords in parentheses were superseded by the 20th Amendment,section 2.)
unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.
Section 5 – Membership, Rules, Journals, Adjournment
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications ofits own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number mayadjourn from day to day, and may beauthorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and undersuch Penalties as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members fordisorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to timepublish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment requireSecrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any questionshall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on theJournal.
Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent ofthe other, adjourn for more than three days,nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
Section 6 – Compensation
(The Senators and Representatives shall receive aCompensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of theTreasury of the United States.) (The preceding words in parentheseswere modified by the 27th Amendment.)
They shall in all Cases, except Treason,Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during theirAttendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to andreturning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, theyshall not be questioned in any other Place.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he waselected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the UnitedStates which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increasedduring 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 – Revenue Bills, Legislative Process,Presidential Veto
All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House ofRepresentatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and theSenate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of theUnited 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 shallenter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. Ifafter such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass theBill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, bywhich it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of thatHouse, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Housesshall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting forand 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 (Sundaysexcepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, inlike Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Caseit shall not be a Law.
Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House ofRepresentatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to thePresident of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall beapproved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds ofthe Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitationsprescribed in the Case of a Bill.
Section 8 – Powers of Congress
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for thecommon Defence and general Welfare of theUnited States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the UnitedStates;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and amongthe several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, anduniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix theStandard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting theSecurities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and PostRoads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limitedTimes to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respectiveWritings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, andOffenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captureson Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Useshall 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 navalForces;
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 forgoverning such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the UnitedStates, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers,and the Authority of training the Militia according to the disciplineprescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Caseswhatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, byCession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seatof the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over allPlaces purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which theSame shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, andother needful Buildings; And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary andproper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all otherPowers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States,or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Section 9 – Limits on Congress
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as anyof the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not beprohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred andeight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding tendollars for each Person.
The privilege of the Writ of HabeasCorpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion orInvasion 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 betaken.) (Section in parentheses clarified by the 16thAmendment.)
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 tothe Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, orfrom, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence ofAppropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of theReceipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time totime.
No Title of Nobility shall be grantedby the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust underthem, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kindwhatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.
Section 10 – Powers prohibited ofStates
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 andsilver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, expost 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, exceptwhat may be absolutely necessary for executing it’sinspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports orExports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all suchLaws shall be subject to the Revision and Controulof 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, enterinto any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, orengage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will notadmit of delay.Article II – The ExecutiveBranch Note
Section 1 – The President Note1 Note2
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States ofAmerica. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, togetherwith the Vice-President chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof maydirect, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators andRepresentatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but noSenator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profitunder the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
(The Electors shall meet in their respective States, andvote by Ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not lie anInhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of allthe Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List theyshall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government ofthe United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President ofthe Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives,open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Personhaving the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be aMajority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more thanone who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the Houseof Representatives shall immediately chuse byBallot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then fromthe 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 byStates, the Representation from each State having one Vote; a quorum for this Purpose shall consist of aMember or Members from two-thirds of the States, and a Majority of all theStates shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of thePresident, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shallbe the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equalVotes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballotthe Vice-President.) (This clause in parentheses was superseded by the
The Congress may determine the Time of chusingthe Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shallbe 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 theOffice of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office whoshall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteenYears a Resident within the United States.
(In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or ofhis Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of thesaid Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress mayby Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, bothof the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act asPresident, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability beremoved, or a President shall be elected.) (This clause in parentheseshas been modified by the 20th and 25thAmendments.)
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, aCompensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during thePeriod for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive withinthat Period any other Emolumentfrom the United States, or any of them.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the followingOath or Affirmation:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Officeof 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 – Civilian Power overMilitary, Cabinet, Pardon Power, Appointments
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the UnitedStates, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actualService of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of theprincipal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subjectrelating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power toGrant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except inCases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice andConsent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senatorspresent concur; and he shall nominate, andby and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors,other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all otherOfficers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwiseprovided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may byLaw vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, inthe 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 happenduring the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire atthe End of their next Session.
Section 3 – State of the Union, ConveningCongress
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State ofthe Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judgenecessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene bothHouses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, withRespect to the Time of Adjournment, he mayadjourn them to such Time as he shall thinkproper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall takeCare that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all theOfficers of the United States.
Section 4 – Disqualification
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 andMisdemeanors.Article III – The JudicialBranch Note
Section 1 – Judicial powers
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supremeCourt, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of thesupreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, andshall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shallnot be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
Section 2 – Trial by Jury, OriginalJurisdiction, Jury Trials
(The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law andEquity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, andTreaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Casesaffecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases ofadmiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; toControversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversiesbetween two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State;between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same Stateclaiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or theCitizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.) (Thissection in parentheses is modified by the 11thAmendment.)
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, andthose in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have originalJurisdiction. In all the other Cases beforementioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, withsuch 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 Trialshall 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 orPlaces as the Congress may by Law have directed.
Section 3 – TreasonNote
Treason against the United States,shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to theirEnemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of twoWitnesses 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, orForfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.Article IV – The States
Section 1 – Each State to Honor allothers
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 mayby general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records andProceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
Section 2 – State citizens,Extradition
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges andImmunities of Citizens in the several States.
A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shallflee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of theexecutive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to beremoved to the State having Jurisdiction ofthe 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, Butshall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.) (This clause inparentheses is superseded by the 13th Amendment.)
Section 3 – New States
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no newStates shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any Statebe formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, withoutthe Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of theCongress.
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules andRegulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the UnitedStates; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudiceany Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Section 4 – Republican government
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shallprotect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature,or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domesticViolence.Article V -Amendment Note1- Note2
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary,shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of theLegislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention forproposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents andPurposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures ofthree fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourthsthereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by theCongress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year Onethousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in theNinth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent,shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage inthe Senate.Article VI – Debts, Supremacy, Oaths
All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption ofthis Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under thisConstitution, as under the Confederation.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United Stateswhich shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shallbe made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law ofthe Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing inthe Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, andthe Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicialOfficers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be boundby Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Testshall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust underthe United States.Article VII -Ratification Documents
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient forthe Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying theSame.
Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of theStates present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord onethousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the UnitedStates of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribedour Names. Note
Go 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 Brearley, Wm Paterson, Jona. Dayton
Pensylvania – B Franklin, Thomas Mifflin,Robt Morris, Geo. Clymer, Thos FitzSimons, Jared Ingersoll, James Wilson, GouvMorris
Delaware – Geo. Read, Gunning Bedford jun, John Dickinson, Richard Bassett,Jaco. Broom
Maryland – James McHenry, Dan of St Tho Jenifer, Danl Carroll
Virginia – John Blair, James Madison Jr.
North Carolina – Wm Blount, Richd Dobbs Spaight, Hu Williamson
South Carolina – J. Rutledge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, CharlesPinckney, Pierce Butler
Georgia – William Few, Abr Baldwin
Attest: William Jackson, SecretaryThe AmendmentsNote
The following are the Amendments to the Constitution. The first tenAmendments collectively are commonly known as the Bill of Rights. History
Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, orprohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or ofthe press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition theGovernment for a redress of grievances.
Amendment 2 – Right to Bear Arms. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of afree State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall notbe infringed.
Amendment 3 – Quartering of Soldiers. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note
No Soldier shall, in time of peace bequartered in any house, without theconsent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed bylaw.
Amendment 4 – Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, andeffects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath oraffirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and thepersons or things to be seized.
Amendment 5 – Trial and Punishment, Compensationfor Takings. Ratified12/15/1791.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamouscrime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in casesarising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual servicein time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put injeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to bea witness against himself, nor be deprived
of life, liberty, or property, without dueprocess of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, withoutjust compensation.
Amendment 6 – Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontationof Witnesses. Ratified12/15/1791.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedyand public trial, by an impartial jury ofthe State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, whichdistrict shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed ofthe nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnessesagainst him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor,and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Amendment 7 – Trial by Jury in Civil Cases. Ratified 12/15/1791.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twentydollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by ajury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, thanaccording to the rules of the common law.
Amendment 8 – Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Ratified 12/15/1791.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, norcruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment 9 – Construction of Constitution. Ratified 12/15/1791.
The enumeration in the Constitution,of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retainedby the people.
Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, norprohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or tothe people.
Amendment 11 – Judicial Limits. Ratified 2/7/1795. Note History
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend toany suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the UnitedStates by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any ForeignState.
Amendment 12 – Choosing the President,Vice-President. Ratified 6/15/1804.Note History TheElectoral College
The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot forPresident and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitantof the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the personvoted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for asVice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for asPresident, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number ofvotes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed tothe seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President ofthe Senate;
The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and Houseof Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then becounted;
The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be thePresident, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electorsappointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons havingthe highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for asPresident, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot,the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken bystates, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of amember or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all thestates shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representativesshall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve uponthem, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-Presidentshall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutionaldisability of the President.
The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall bethe Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number ofElectors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highestnumbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist oftwo-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole numbershall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible tothe office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of theUnited States.
Amendment 13 – Slavery Abolished. Ratified 12/6/1865. History
1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment forcrime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within theUnited States, or any place subject to theirjurisdiction.
2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriatelegislation.
Amendment 14 – Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868. Note History
1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to thejurisdiction thereof, are citizens of theUnited States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make orenforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens ofthe United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, orproperty, without due process of law; nor denyto any person within its jurisdiction theequal protection of the laws.
2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several Statesaccording to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons ineach State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at anyelection for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of theUnited States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicialofficers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied toany of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, andcitizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except forparticipation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representationtherein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such malecitizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years ofage in such State.
3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector ofPresident and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under theUnited States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as amember of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member ofany State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, tosupport the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged ininsurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to theenemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, removesuch disability.
4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law,including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services insuppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither theUnited States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurredin aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim forthe loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations andclaims shall be held illegal and void.
5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation,the provisions of this article.
Amendment 15 – Race No Bar to Vote. Ratified 2/3/1870. History
1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be deniedor abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, orprevious condition of servitude.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriatelegislation.
Amendment 16 – Status of Income Tax Clarified. Ratified 2/3/1913. Note History
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, fromwhatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States,and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Amendment 17 – Senators Elected by PopularVote. Ratified 4/8/1913. History
The Senate of the United States shall be composed oftwo Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; andeach Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have thequalifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the Statelegislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of anyState in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs ofelection to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any Statemay empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until thepeople fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or termof any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
Amendment 18 – Liquor Abolished. Ratified 1/16/1919. Repealed by Amendment 21, 12/5/1933. History
1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture,sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereofinto, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territorysubject to the jurisdiction thereof forbeverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power toenforce this article by appropriate legislation.
3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified asan amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, asprovided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of thesubmission hereof to the States by the Congress.
Amendment 19 – Women’s Suffrage. Ratified 8/18/1920. History
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied orabridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriatelegislation.
Amendment 20 – Presidential, Congressional Terms.Ratified 1/23/1933. History
1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon onthe 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended ifthis article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shallthen begin.
2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in everyyear, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unlessthey shall by law appoint a different day.
3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, thePresident elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall becomePresident. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed forthe beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed toqualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a Presidentshall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case whereinneither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified,declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is toact shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a Presidentor Vice President shall have qualified.
4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of thepersons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President wheneverthe right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of thedeath of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice Presidentwhenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.
5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October followingthe ratification of this article.
6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified asan amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of theseveral States within seven years from the date of its submission.
Amendment 21 – Amendment18 Repealed. Ratified12/5/1933. History
1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the UnitedStates is hereby repealed.
2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, orpossession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicatingliquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
3. The article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as anamendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as providedin the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereofto the States by the Congress.
Amendment 22 – Presidential Term Limits. Ratified 2/27/1951. History
1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more thantwice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted asPresident, for more than two years of a term to which some other person waselected President shall be elected to the office of the President more thanonce. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office ofPresident, when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall notprevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting asPresident, during the term within which this Article becomes operative fromholding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder ofsuch term.
2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified asan amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of theseveral States within seven years from the date of its submission to the Statesby the Congress.
Amendment 23 – Presidential Vote for Districtof Columbia. Ratified 3/29/1961.History
1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United Statesshall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electorsof President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators andRepresentatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it werea State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be inaddition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, forthe purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electorsappointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform suchduties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriatelegislation.
Amendment 24 – PollTax Barred. Ratified 1/23/1964.
1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary orother election for President or Vice President, for electors for President orVice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not bedenied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure topay any poll tax or other tax.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriatelegislation.
Amendment 25 – Presidential Disability andSuccession. Ratified 2/10/1967.
1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death orresignation, the Vice President shall become President.
2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, thePresident shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office uponconfirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of theSenate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declarationthat he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and untilhe transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers andduties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principalofficers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may bylaw provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and theSpeaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that thePresident is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the VicePresident shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office asActing President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of theSenate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declarationthat no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his officeunless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers ofthe executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide,transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and theSpeaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that thePresident is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. ThereuponCongress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty eight hours for thatpurpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty one days afterreceipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session,within twenty one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines bytwo thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge thepowers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to dischargethe same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powersand duties of his office.
Amendment 26 – Voting Age Set to 18 Years.Ratified 7/1/1971.History
1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of ageor older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or byany State on account of age.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriatelegislation.
Amendment 27 – Limiting Changes to CongressionalPay. Ratified 5/7/1992.History
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators andRepresentatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shallhave intervened.