Appendix 3: Text of Constitution and Amendments With Explanatory Comments
This text of the Constitution and Amendments closely follows the original text, including spelling, sentence structure, punctuation and capitalization that in many cases are different from current usage.
Many explanatory subheads are added to increase understanding. All material enclosed in brackets [ ] is clarifying and explanatory information.
Changes made by Amendments are underlined and the source of each particular change is indicated in italicized and bracketed material at the end of the applicable paragraph. Where a change is by implication, that is mentioned.
Whenever a section has more than one paragraph, all the paragraphs under that section are numbered even though they are not numbered in the original text. Added numbers are enclosed in brackets. [p. 123]
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. [Legislative powers vested in Congress.]
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
SECTION 2. [House of Representatives.]
[1.] [Term and election of members.] 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.
[2.] [Qualifications of members.] No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
[3.] [Apportionment of representatives and direct taxes.] Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but [p. 124] 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. [The underlined portion was changed as to apportionment by Section 2 of Amendment 14 and as to taxation by Amendment 16.]
[4.] [Filling vacancies.] When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
[5.] [Officers and impeachment.] The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
SECTION 3. [SENATE.]
[1.] [Number, election and term of members.] The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote. [The underlined portion was changed by Amendment 17.]
[2.] [Staggered terms and filling vacancies.] 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 underlined portion was changed by Amendment 17.]
[3.] [Qualifications of Senators.] No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
[4.] [President of Senate.] The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
[5.] [Other officers.] 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.
[6.] [Trial of impeachments.] The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present. [p. 125]
[7.] [Punishment if convicted.] 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. [Congressional elections and prescribed assembly.]
[1.] [Election procedures.] The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators. [The underlined portion was impliedly made obsolete by Amendment 17.]
[2.] [Annual sessions.] The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day. [The underlined portion was changed by Amendment 20.]
SECTION 5. [Internal operation of congress.]
[1.] [Acceptance of members and quorum.] 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.
[2.] [Rules and punishment of members.] Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.
[3.] [Journal.] Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
[4.] [Adjournment.] 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 - privileges - other offices.]
[1.] [Compensation and Privileges.] The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their [p. 126] 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. [The underlined portion pertaining to compensation was modified by Amendment 27.]
[2.] [Other offices.] 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. [Bills and resolutions - veto power.]
[1.] [Revenue bills.] 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.
[2.] [Veto power over 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.
[3.] [Veto power over other actions of Congress.] 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. [The limited legislative powers delegated to the federal government.]
[1.] [Taxing power.] The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
[2.] [Borrowing power.] To borrow Money on the credit of the United States; [p. 127]
[3.] [Regulate commerce.] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
[4.] [Naturalization and bankruptcies.] To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
[5.] [Money and weights and measures.] To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
[6.] [Counterfeiting.] To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
[7.] [Post offices and post roads.] To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
[8.] [Patents and copyrights.] 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;
[9.] [Establish lower federal courts.] To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
[10.] [Piracies and offenses against law of nations.] To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
[11.] [Declare war, etc.] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
[12.] [Raise and support armies.] To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
[13.] [Provide and maintain navy.] To provide and maintain a Navy;
[14.] [Make military rules.] To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
[15.] [Use of militia.] To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
[16.] [Organizing, etc. militia.] 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; [p. 128]
[17.] [Seat of government, forts, etc.] 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
[18.] [Necessary and proper clause.] 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. [Limitations on federal legislative powers.]
[1.] [Slavery compromise.] 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 underlined portion refers to slavery and is obsolete.]
[2.] [Habeas corpus.] 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.
[3.] [Bills of attainder and ex post facto laws.] No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
[4.] [Direct taxation.] No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken. [The underlined limitation was changed by Amendment 16.]
[5.] [Export taxation.] No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
[6.] [Preferential commercial regulation.] 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.
[7.] [Public expenditures.] No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
[8.] [Nobility and presents.] 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 [p. 129] Consent of the Congress, accept of my present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from my King, Prince or foreign State.
SECTION 10. [Limitations on state powers.]
[1.] [Treaties - acts of war - money - legal tender - unfair laws - nobility.] 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.
[2.] [Taxes on imports and exports.] 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 its 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 Control of the Congress.
[3.] [Foreign relations and war.] 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. [Selection of President and Vice President.]
[1.] [President to hold executive power during four year term.] 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.
[2.] [Selection of electors.] 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.
[3.] [Voting by electors - selection of President and Vice President.] The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence [p. 130] 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 entire paragraph was replaced by Amendment 12.]
[4.] [Voting dates determined by Congress.] 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.
[5.] [Qualifications of President.] 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.
[6.] [Death, resignation or disability of President.] In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected. [The underlined portion was changed by Amendment 25.]
[7.] [Compensation of President.] 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.
[8.] [Oath of President.] 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. [p. 131]
SECTION 2. [Commander-in-Chief- authority over executive departments - pardons treaties - appointment of officers.]
[1.] [Commander-in-Chief - authority over executive departments - pardons.] 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.
[2.] [Treaties and appointment of officers.] 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.
[3.] [Filling vacancies.] 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. [Other powers and duties.]
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. [Impeachment.]
The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. [p. 132]
SECTION 1. [Federal courts - term and compensation of judges.]
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
SECTION 2. [Extent of federal judicial power - jurisdiction of federal courts - Bill of Rights trial safeguards.]
[1.] [Limited extent of federal judicial power.] 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. [The underlined portion was changed by Amendment 11.]
[2.] [Original and appellate jurisdiction - authority of Congress to limit appellate jurisdiction.] 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.
[3.] [Bill of Rights trial safeguards.] 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 - definition, proof and punishment.]
[1.] [Definition and proof of 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. [p. 133]
[2.] [Punishment for treason.] 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.
[STATES AND TERRITORIES]
SECTION 1. [Full faith and credit to acts, records and judicial proceedings of other states.]
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. [Rights of citizens of other states and fugitives from other states.]
[1.] [Rights of citizens of other states.] The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
[2.] [Extradition of persons accused of crimes.] A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.
[3.] [Extradition of persons held to service.] 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. [The 13th Amendment made this paragraph obsolete as to runaway slaves.]
SECTION 3. [Admission of new states - administration of territory and other property of the United States.]
[1.] [Admission of new states.] New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.
[2.] [Administration of territory and other property of the United States.] 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. [p. 134]
SECTION 4. [Guaranty of republican government and protection against invasion and domestic violence.]
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
[Amendment procedure and limitations.]
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three-fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate. [The underlined portion refers to slavery and is obsolete.]
[ASSUMPTION OF DEBTS OF PRIOR GOVERNMENT- SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND - OATH OF OFFICE - NO RELIGIOUS TEST.]
[1.] [Assumption of debts incurred under Articles of Confederation.] 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.
[2.] [This Constitution and laws and treaties authorized by it are supreme over state constitutions and state laws.] 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. [p. 135]
[3.] [Oath to support Constitution . No religious test.] The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
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,
and deputy from Virginia
South Carolina Georgia
Gunning Bedford jun
New Hampshire Massachusetts
Dan of S Thos. Jenifer
James Madison Jr.
Richd. Dobbs Spaight.
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Charles Pinckney Pierce Butler
Nathaniel Gorham Rufus King
W~. SamI. Johnson Roger Sherman
B Franklin Thomas Mifflin Robt Morris Geo. Clymer The. FitzSimons Jared Ingersoll James Wilson Gouv Morris [p. 136]
AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
OF THE UNITED STATES
[THE FIRST TEN AMENDMENTS CONSTITUTING THE BILL OF RIGHTS]
AMENDMENT I .
[The federal government has no authority over religion, and may not diminish the peoples right to speak, publish, assemble or petition.]
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 II .
[The federal government may not interfere with the peoples right to be armed.]
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 be infringed.
AMENDMENT III .
[The federal government is limited in when it can quarter troops in peoples homes.]
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 law.
AMENDMENT IV .
[The federal government is stringently limited in when it can violate peoples privacy.]
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. [p. 137]
AMENDMENT V .
[The federal government may not use oppressive criminal procedures or take private property without paying for it.]
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 offence 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 just compensation.
AMENDMENT VI .
[The federal government may not impair the ability of an accused in a criminal case to defend himself.]
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 VII .
[The federal government may not deprive the people of the protection of a jury in civil cases.]
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 VIII .
[The federal government may not impose oppressive punishments.]
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. [p. 138]
AMENDMENT IX .
[The listing of the peoples rights does not mean the rights listed are their only rights.]
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
AMENDMENT X .
[The federal government has only the powers delegated in the Constitution.
All other powers belong to the states or the people.]
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 the people.
[AMENDMENTS SUBSEQUENT TO THE BILL OF RIGHTS]
AMENDMENT XI .
[The constitutional description of federal judicial power does not impair traditional state immunity.]
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 State.
AMENDMENT XIl .
[The provisions for election of the President and Vice-President are changed to accommodate party politics.]
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 Senate;The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, [p. 139] open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;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 United States. [The underlined portion was changed by Amendment 20.]
AMENDMENT XIII .
[Slavery is eliminated in the United States.]
SECTION 1. [Slavery is prohibited.]
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 jurisdiction.
SECTION 2. [Congress is empowered to enforce this amendment.]
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
AMENDMENT XIV .
[Political subjugation of the South under the appearance of protecting the freed slaves.]
SECTION 1. [The former slaves are made citizens and the states are prohibited from interfering with their rights.]
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 [p. 140] 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.
SECTION 2. [The Northern political leaders, being confident that the South will not give the right to vote to the mostly illiterate former slaves, provide for reducing the representation of the southern states in the federal government to the extent the southern states do not give the right to vote to the former slaves, who are made citizens by the first section of this amendment.]
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. [The underlined portion was impliedly changed by Amendments 19 and 26.]
SECTION 3. [The natural political leaders of the South are prohibited from holding political office.]
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 such disability.
SECTION 4. [The debts of the North to finance the Civil War shall be paid, but the debts of the South may not be paid. The people whose slaves were freed may not be compensated for the loss of their slaves.]
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. [p. 141]
SECTION 5. [Congress is given the power to enforce this amendment.]
The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
AMENDMENT XV .
[Having found they could control the former slaves, the North now prohibits the South from denying them the right to vote.]
SECTION 1. [The former slaves who were made citizens by the Fourteenth Amendment may not be denied the right to vote on the ground of race or prior status as slaves.]
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.
SECTION 2. [Congress is given the power to enforce this amendment.]
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
AMENDMENT XVI .
[The federal government is authorized to enact an income tax.]
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 XVII .
[The states are deprived of their representation in the federal government.]
SECTION 1. [Senators are to be elected by the people instead of the state legislatures.]
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 legislatures. [p. 142]
SECTION 2. [Vacancies are to be filled by elections instead of by state legislatures.]
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.
SECTION 3. [Previously chosen senators are not affected by this Amendment.]
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 XVIII .
[Prohibition of intoxicating liquors. Repealed in 1933 by Amendment XXI.]
SECTION 1. [Intoxicating Liquors prohibited in the United States.]
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.
SECTION 2. [Both Congress and the states are empowered to enforce this amendment.]
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
SECTION 3. [Time limit for ratification.]
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 XIX .
[Requiring that women have the same voting rights as men.]
SECTION 1. [Voting rights may not be limited because of sex.]
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. [p. 143]
SECTION 2. [Congress is given the power to enforce this amendment.]
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
AMENDMENT XX .
[Terms of office and sessions of Congress moved nearer to calendar year succession to office of President and Vice President in event of death or disqualification before taking office.]
SECTION 1. [Beginning dates for terms of President, Vice President, Senators and Representatives.]
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 then begin.
SECTION 2. [Date for beginning annual session of Congress.]
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.
SECTION 3. [Succession to office of President or Vice-President in event of death or failure to qualify after selection, but before taking office.]
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.
[Procedure for selection of President or Vice-President, in event of death of one of persons from whom selection may be made, where selection is to be made by House of Representatives or Senate.]
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. [p. 144]
SECTION 5. [Effective date of this amendment.]
Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.
SECTION 6. [Time limit for ratification.]
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 XXI .
[Repeal of Prohibition.]
SECTION 1. [Eighteenth amendment repealed.]
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
SECTION 2. [Prohibition of shipment of intoxicating liquors into dry state.]
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.
SECTION 3. [Time limit for ratification.]
This 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 XXII .
[Limiting President to two terms.]
SECTION 1. [Limitation of terms of office of President.]
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 [p. 145] 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 such term.
SECTION 2. [Time limit for ratification.]
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 XXIII .
[Authorizing District of Columbia to vote for President and Vice President.]
SECTION 1. [Representation of the District of Columbia in the electoral college.]
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.
SECTION 2. [Congress is empowered to implement this amendment.]
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
AMENDMENT XXIV .
[Prohibiting property qualification for vote.]
SECTION 1. [Right to vote for President, Vice President, Senators or Representatives may not be limited because of failure to pay poll tax.]
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. [p. 146]
SECTION 2. [Congress is empowered to enforce this amendment.]
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
AMENDMENT XXV .
[Succession to office of President or Vice President in event of removal, death, resignation or disability.]
SECTION 1. [Vice President to succeed President who is removed, dies or resigns.]
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
SECTION 2. [Vacant office of Vice President may be filled by person nominated by
President and confirmed by ordinary majority vote of Congress.]
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.
[Upon declaration by the President of his inability to serve, the Vice President becomes temporary Acting President until the President makes a contrary declaration.]
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.
SECTION 4. [Declaration by Vice President and others of Presidents inability to serve.]
[1.] [Procedure for Vice President becoming Acting President where President does not declare his own inability to serve.] 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 Acting President.
[2.] [Procedure where President seeks to resume functioning as President.] 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 [p. 147] 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 XXVI .
[Voting rights of persons 18 years old.]
SECTION 1. [Eighteen year old citizens may not be denied the right to vote because of age.]
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.
SECTION 2. [Congress is empowered to enforce this amendment.]
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
AMENDMENT XXVII .
[Changes in compensation of Senators and Representatives may not take effect until after the Representatives shall have faced the voters in another election.]
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.