The United States Constitution
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US Constitution Table of Contents
The Constitution of the United States
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 Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the
United States of America.
Section 1 - The Legislature
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the
United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of
Section 2 - The House
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
(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 previous sentence in
parentheses was modified by the 14th Amendment, section
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.
Section 3 - The Senate
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each
(chosen by the Legislature thereof,) (The preceding
words in parentheses superseded by 17th Amendment,
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.) (The preceding words in parentheses were
superseded by the 17th Amendment, section 2.)
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
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate,
but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall chuse their other Officers,
and also a President pro tempore, in the
absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of
President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose,
they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is
tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without
the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall
not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold
and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but
the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment,
Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
Section 4 - Elections, Meetings
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 Place of Chusing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting
(be on the first Monday in December,) (The preceding
words in parentheses were superseded by the 20th Amendment,
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 of
its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may
adjourn from day to day, and may be
authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under
such Penalties as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for
disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time
publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require
Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question
shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the
Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of
the other, adjourn for more than three days,
nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
Section 6 - Compensation
(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.) (The preceding words in parentheses
were modified by the 27th Amendment.)
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 increased
during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States,
shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
Section 7 - Revenue Bills, Legislative Process,
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.
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 the
common Defence and general Welfare of the
United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among
the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and
uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the
Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the
Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited
Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective
Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and
Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures
on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use
shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval
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.
Section 9 - Limits on Congress
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.) (Section in parentheses clarified by the 16th
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
No Title of Nobility shall be granted
by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under
them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind
whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.
Section 10 - Powers prohibited of
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.
Section 1 - The President Note1 Note2
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 lie 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.) (This clause in parentheses was superseded by the
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.) (This clause in parentheses
has been modified by the 20th and 25th
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a
Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the
Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within
that Period any other Emolument
from the United States, or any of them.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following
Oath or Affirmation:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office
of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability,
preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Section 2 - Civilian Power over
Military, Cabinet, Pardon Power, Appointments
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United
States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual
Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the
principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject
relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to
Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in
Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and
Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators
present concur; and he shall nominate, and
by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors,
other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other
Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise
provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by
Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in
the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen
during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at
the End of their next Session.
Section 3 - State of the Union, Convening
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.
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 and
Section 1 - Judicial powers
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 Behavior, and
shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall
not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
Section 2 - Trial by Jury, Original
Jurisdiction, Jury Trials
(The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and
Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and
Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases
affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of
admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to
Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies
between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State;
between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State
claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the
Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.) (This
section in parentheses is modified by the 11th
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and
those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original
Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before
mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with
such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial
shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed;
but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or
Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
Section 3 - Treason
Treason against the United States,
shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their
Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two
Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or
Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Section 1 - Each State to Honor all
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts,
Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may
by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and
Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
Section 2 - State citizens,
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
(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.) (This clause in
parentheses is superseded by the 13th Amendment.)
Section 3 - New States
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new
States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State
be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without
the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and
Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United
States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice
any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Section 4 - Republican government
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall
protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature,
or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic
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
Article VI - Debts, Supremacy, Oaths
All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of
this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this
Constitution, as under the Confederation.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States
which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall
be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of
the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in
the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and
the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial
Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound
by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test
shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under
the 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
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. 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, Gouv
Delaware - Geo. Read, Gunning Bedford jun, John Dickinson, Richard Bassett,
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, Charles
Pinckney, Pierce Butler
Georgia - William Few, Abr Baldwin
Attest: William Jackson, Secretary
The following are the Amendments to the Constitution. The first ten
Amendments 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, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of
the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
Government 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 a
free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not
Amendment 3 - Quartering of Soldiers. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be
quartered in any house, without the
consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by
Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,
and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the
persons or things to be seized.
Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation
for Takings. Ratified
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous
crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases
arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service
in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in
jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be
a witness against himself, nor be deprived
of life, liberty, or property, without due
process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without
Amendment 6 - Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation
of Witnesses. Ratified
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy
and public trial, by an impartial jury of
the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which
district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of
the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses
against 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 twenty
dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a
jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than
according 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, nor
cruel 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 retained
by 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, nor
prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to
Amendment 11 - Judicial Limits. Ratified 2/7/1795. Note History
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to
any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United
States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign
Amendment 12 - Choosing the President,
Vice-President. Ratified 6/15/1804.
Note History The
The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for
President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant
of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person
voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as
Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as
President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of
votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to
the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of
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
The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the
President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors
appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having
the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as
President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot,
the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by
states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a
member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the
states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives
shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon
them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President
shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional
disability of the President.
The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be
the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of
Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest
numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of
two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number
shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to
the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the
Amendment 13 - Slavery Abolished. Ratified 12/6/1865. History
1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for
crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the
United States, or any place subject to their
2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate
Amendment 14 - Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868. Note History
1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the
jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the
United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or
enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of
the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law; nor deny
to any person within its jurisdiction the
equal protection of the laws.
2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States
according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in
each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any
election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the
United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial
officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to
any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and
citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for
participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation
therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male
citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of
age in such State.
3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of
President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the
United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a
member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of
any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to
support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in
insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the
enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove
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 in
suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the
United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred
in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for
the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and
claims 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 denied
or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or
previous condition of servitude.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate
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, from
whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States,
and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Amendment 17 - Senators Elected by Popular
Vote. Ratified 4/8/1913. History
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of
two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and
each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the
qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State
When vacancies happen in the representation of any
State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of
election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State
may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the
people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term
of 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 thereof
into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory
subject to the jurisdiction thereof for
beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to
enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as
an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as
provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the
submission 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 or
abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate
Amendment 20 - Presidential, Congressional Terms.
Ratified 1/23/1933. History
1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the
20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on
the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if
this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall
2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every
year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless
they shall by law appoint a different day.
3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the
President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become
President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for
the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to
qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President
shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein
neither 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 to
act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President
or Vice President shall have qualified.
4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the
persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever
the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the
death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President
whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.
5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following
the ratification of this article.
6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as
an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the
several States within seven years from the date of its submission.
Amendment 21 - Amendment
18 Repealed. Ratified
1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United
States is hereby repealed.
2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or
possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating
liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
3. The article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an
amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided
in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof
to 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 than
twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as
President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was
elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than
once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of
President, when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not
prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as
President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from
holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of
2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as
an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the
several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States
by the Congress.
Amendment 23 - Presidential Vote for District
of Columbia. Ratified 3/29/1961.
1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States
shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electors
of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and
Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were
a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in
addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for
the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors
appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such
duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate
Amendment 24 - Poll
Tax Barred. Ratified 1/23/1964.
1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or
other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or
Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be
denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to
pay any poll tax or other tax.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate
Amendment 25 - Presidential Disability and
Succession. Ratified 2/10/1967.
1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or
resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the
President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon
confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the
Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration
that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until
he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and
duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal
officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by
law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the
President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice
President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the
Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration
that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office
unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of
the 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 the
Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the
President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon
Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty eight hours for that
purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty one days after
receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session,
within twenty one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by
two thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the
powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge
the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers
and duties of his office.
Amendment 26 - Voting Age Set to 18 Years.
1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age
or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by
any State on account of age.
2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate
Amendment 27 - Limiting Changes to Congressional
Pay. Ratified 5/7/1992.
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and
Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall