United States Constitution
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.
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.
Clause 1: 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.
Clause 2: 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.
Clause 3: 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. (See Note 2) 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
Clause 4: When vacancies happen in the
Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs
of Election to fill such Vacancies.
Clause 5: The House of Representatives shall
chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of
Clause 1: The Senate of the United States shall
be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof,
(See Note 3) for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Clause 2: 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. (See Note
Clause 3: 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.
Clause 4: The Vice President of the United
States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be
Clause 5: 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
Clause 6: 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.
Clause 7: 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.
Clause 1: 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.
Clause 2: The Congress shall assemble at least
once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December,
(See Note 5) unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.
Clause 1: 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.
Clause 2: 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.
Clause 3: 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.
Clause 4: 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.
Clause 1: 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. (See Note 6) They shall in
all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, beprivileged 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.
Clause 2: No Senator or Representative shall,
during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under
the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the
Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person
holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House
during his Continuance in Office.
Clause 1: 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.
Clause 2: 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.
Clause 3: 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.
Clause 1: 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;
Clause 2: To borrow Money on the credit of the
Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign
Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
Clause 4: To establish an uniform Rule of
Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the
Clause 5: To coin Money, regulate the Value
thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
Clause 6: To provide for the Punishment of
counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
Clause 7: To establish Post Offices and post
Clause 8: 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;
Clause 9: To constitute Tribunals inferior to
the supreme Court;
Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and
Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of
Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no
Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;
Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and
Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the
Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel
Clause 16: 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;
Clause 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in
all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as
may, byCession 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
Clause 18: 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.
Clause 1: 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.
Clause 2: 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.
Clause 3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto
Law shall be passed.
Clause 4: No Capitation, or other direct, Tax
shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before
directed to be taken. (See Note 7)
Clause 5: No Tax or Duty shall be laid on
Articles exported from any State.
Clause 6: 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.
Clause 7: 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.
Clause 8: 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
Clause 1: 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.
Clause 2: 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.
Clause 3: 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.
Clause 1: 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
Clause 2: 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.
Clause 3: The Electors shall meet in their
respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least
shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall
make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each;
which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the
Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The
President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of
Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted.
The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such
Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be
more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then
the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for
President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the
List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the
President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each
State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or
Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be
necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the
Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice
President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the
Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President. (See Note 8)
Clause 4: 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.
Clause 5: 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.
Clause 6: 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, (See Note 9) the Same shall
devolve on the VicePresident, 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
Clause 7: The President shall, at stated Times,
receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased 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.
Clause 8: 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."
Clause 1: The President shall be Commander in
Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the
several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may
require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the
executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their
respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for
Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
Clause 2: 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.
Clause 3: 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.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress
Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such
Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary
Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement
between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to
such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other
public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and
shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
The President, Vice President and all civil
Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for,
and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
The judicial Power of the United States, shall
be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may
from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and
inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at
stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be
diminished during their Continuance in Office.
Clause 1: 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; (See Note 10)–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.
Clause 2: 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.
Clause 3: 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.
Clause 1: 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
Clause 2: The Congress shall have Power to
declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work
Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each
State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other
State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such
Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
Clause 1: The Citizens of each State shall be
entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
Clause 2: 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.
Clause 3: 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. (See Note 11)
Clause 1: 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.
Clause 2: The Congress shall have Power to
dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory
or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this
Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United
States, or of any particular State.
The United States shall guarantee to every
State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of
them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the
Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
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.
Clause 1: 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.
Clause 2: 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
Clause 3: 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
GO WASHINGTON–Presidt. and deputy from
[Signed also by the deputies of twelve States.]
Gunning Bedford jun
Dan of ST ThoS. Jenifer
James Madison Jr.
RichD. Dobbs Spaight.
Charles 1ACotesworth Pinckney
WM. SamL. Johnson
Attest William Jackson Secretary
Note 1: This text of the Constitution follows
the engrossed copy signed by Gen. Washington and the deputies from 12 States.
The small superior figures preceding the paragraphs designate Clauses, and were
not in the original and have no reference to footnotes.
The Constitution was adopted by a convention of
the States on September 17, 1787, and was subsequently ratified by the several
States, on the following dates: Delaware, December 7, 1787; Pennsylvania,
December 12, 1787; New Jersey, December 18, 1787; Georgia, January 2, 1788;
Connecticut, January 9, 1788; Massachusetts, February 6, 1788; Maryland, April
28, 1788; South Carolina, May 23, 1788; New Hampshire, June 21, 1788.
Ratification was completed on June 21, 1788.
The Constitution was subsequently ratified by
Virginia, June 25, 1788; New York, July 26, 1788; North Carolina, November 21,
1789; Rhode Island, May 29, 1790; and Vermont, January 10, 1791.
In May 1785, a committee of Congress made a
report recommending an alteration in the Articles of Confederation, but no
action was taken on it, and it was left to the State Legislatures to proceed in
the matter. In January 1786, the Legislature of Virginia passed a resolution
providing for the appointment of five commissioners, who, or any three of them,
should meet such commissioners as might be appointed in the other States of the
Union, at a time and place to be agreed upon, to take into consideration the
trade of the United States; to consider how far a uniform system in their
commercial regulations may be necessary to their common interest and their
permanent harmony; and to report to the several States such an act, relative to
this great object, as, when ratified by them, will enable the United States in
Congress effectually to provide for the same. The Virginia commissioners, after
some correspondence, fixed the first Monday in September as the time, and the
city of Annapolis as the place for the meeting, but only four other States were
represented, viz: Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; the
commissioners appointed by Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and
Rhode Island failed to attend. Under the circumstances of so partial a
representation, the commissioners present agreed upon a report, (drawn by Mr.
Hamilton, of New York,) expressing their unanimous conviction that it might
essentially tend to advance the interests of the Union if the States by which
they were respectively delegated would concur, and use their endeavors to
procure the concurrence of the other States, in the appointment of commissioners
to meet at Philadelphia on the Second Monday of May following, to take into
consideration the situation of the United States; to devise such further
provisions as should appear to them necessary to render the Constitution of the
Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union; and to report such
an act for that purpose to the United States in Congress assembled as, when
agreed to by them and afterwards confirmed by the Legislatures of every State,
would effectually provide for the same.
Congress, on the 21st of February, 1787,
adopted a resolution in favor of a convention, and the Legislatures of those
States which had not already done so (with the exception of Rhode Island)
promptly appointed delegates. On the 25th of May, seven States having convened,
George Washington, of Virginia, was unanimously elected President, and the
consideration of the proposed constitution was commenced. On the 17th of
September, 1787, the Constitution as engrossed and agreed upon was signed by all
the members present, except Mr. Gerry of Massachusetts, and Messrs. Mason and
Randolph, of Virginia. The president of the convention transmitted it to
Congress, with a resolution stating how the proposed Federal Government should
be put in operation, and an explanatory letter. Congress, on the 28th of
September, 1787, directed the Constitution so framed, with the resolutions and
letter concerning the same, to "be transmitted to the several Legislatures in
order to be submitted to a convention of delegates chosen in each State by the
people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the convention."
On the 4th of March, 1789, the day which had
been fixed for commencing the operations of Government under the new
Constitution, it had been ratified by the conventions chosen in each State to
consider it, as follows: Delaware, December 7, 1787; Pennsylvania, December 12,
1787; New Jersey, December 18, 1787; Georgia, January 2, 1788; Connecticut,
January 9, 1788; Massachusetts, February 6, 1788; Maryland, April 28, 1788;
South Carolina, May 23, 1788; New Hampshire, June 21, 1788; Virginia, June 25,
1788; and New York, July 26, 1788.
The President informed Congress, on the 28th of
January, 1790, that North Carolina had ratified the Constitution November 21,
1789; and he informed Congress on the 1st of June, 1790, that Rhode Island had
ratified the Constitution May 29, 1790. Vermont, in convention, ratified the
Constitution January 10, 1791, and was, by an act of Congress approved February
18, 1791, "received and admitted into this Union as a new and entire member of
the United States."
Note 2: The part of this Clause relating to the
mode of apportionment of representatives among the several States has been
affected by Section 2 of amendment XIV, and as to taxes on incomes without
apportionment by amendment XVI.
Note 3: This Clause has been affected by Clause
1 of amendment XVII.
Note 4: This Clause has been affected by Clause
2 of amendment XVIII.
Note 5: This Clause has been affected by
Note 6: This Clause has been affected by
Note 7: This Clause has been affected by
Note 8: This Clause has been superseded by
Note 9: This Clause has been affected by
Note 10: This Clause has been affected by
Note 11: This Clause has been affected by
Note 12: The first ten amendments to the
Constitution of the United States (and two others, one of which failed of
ratification and the other which later became the 27th amendment) were proposed
to the legislatures of the several States by the First Congress on September 25,
1789. The first ten amendments were ratified by the following States, and the
notifications of ratification by the Governors thereof were successively
communicated by the President to Congress: New Jersey, November 20, 1789;
Maryland, December 19, 1789; North Carolina, December 22, 1789; South Carolina,
January 19, 1790; New Hampshire, January 25, 1790; Delaware, January 28, 1790;
New York, February 24, 1790; Pennsylvania, March 10, 1790; Rhode Island, June 7,
1790; Vermont, November 3, 1791; and Virginia, December 15, 1791.
Ratification was completed on December 15,
The amendments were subsequently ratified by
the legislatures of Massachusetts, March 2, 1939; Georgia, March 18, 1939; and
Connecticut, April 19, 1939.
Note 13: Only the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th
articles of amendment had numbers assigned to them at the time of ratification.
Note 14: This sentence has been superseded by
section 3 of amendment XX.
Note 15: See amendment XIX and section 1 of
Note 16: Repealed by section 1 of amendment