The New International Encyclopædia/Constitution of the United States< The New International Encyclopædia
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES. The Federal Constitution of the United States of America is one of the class of ‘written’ and ‘rigid’ constitutions, and the most important example of a constitution of the ‘supreme’ or ‘extraordinary’ type. That is to say, it is not only the result of a definite purpose and of a deliberate act of legislation, embodied in written form; it is not only incapable of modification by ordinary legislative processes; but it is the true supreme law of the land, to which all other law must conform, and conformity to it is the test of the validity of the ordinary law. The commanding quality of the Federal Constitution is the fact that it is not, like most political constitutions, including those of the several States of the American Union, a mere restriction upon the authority of the governing powers of the State, but that it creates a new frame of government, which it endows with certain limited powers, and from which it deliberately withholds all powers not so granted. The government so constituted by it is, therefore, a government of granted, and not of antecedent authority, and the Constitution is not only the supreme law of the land, but comprehends within itself the whole of that law.
There is some confusion, therefore, in the use of such phrases as the ‘territorial extent,’ ‘the Constitution follows the flag,’ and whether the Constitution ‘applies’ to certain newly acquired Territories. Strictly speaking, the Constitution has no territorial extension; it neither expands nor contracts with the limits of American jurisdiction; but, whatever those limits may be, it steadily and invariably binds the governmental agencies of the nation and limits their authority. In so far as it confers general powers of government on the President and Congress, those powers may be exercised in the ends of the earth as well as within the limits of the original States; whereas, the restrictions upon that power are equally valid, wherever it may be exercised.
This view of the Federal Constitution, as a carefully guarded grant of powers to the Central Government, explains even those guarantees of personal liberty and security which it contains and which are commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights of the Constitution (Amendments I.-X.). These are not, as they are commonly understood, an unlimited charter of liberties for the people of the United States, but only restrictions upon the exercise of arbitrary power by the President and Congress. They are not aimed at the States or at local authority. It is announced as “a settled rule of construction of the national Constitution, that the limitations it imposes upon the powers of government are in all cases to be understood as limitations upon the government of the Union only, except where the States are expressly mentioned” (Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, p. 19). Accordingly, even such a right as that of trial by jury in criminal cases, which is usually regarded as one of the inalienable rights of the American citizen, is by the Federal Constitution protected only against violation by Congress and the Federal judiciary. Excepting as they are restrained by their own constitutions, there is nothing to prevent the several States from abolishing the jury system entirely.
From what has been said above it will be observed that the Constitution of the United States is not, as it is conceived by foreigners, a complete scheme of government for the people of the United States, but only a part, and that the smaller part, of such a scheme. To fill out the outline, the constitutions and laws of the several States must be taken into account. These provide by far the greater part of the machinery of government, the securities of life, liberty, and property, and the political rights of the citizen.
The Constitution of the United States, in the form in which it is reprinted in this article, represents a long process of experiment and discussion, in the course of which the jealousies and conflicting interests of the different States and sections of which the Union was made up, were gradually compromised and subordinated to the common welfare of all. The Articles of Confederation, by which the ill-jointed union of the thirteen original States was held together from 1779 to 1789, can scarcely be described as a constitution, in any proper sense of that term, as they created only the form and not the substance of government, and vested no real authority in the common representatives of the several commonwealths. They were more in the nature of a treaty of alliance, by which the States bound themselves to common action, and the Congress constituted by them an international conference for promoting the common welfare. The inconveniences and dangers of this arrangement speedily became too pressing to be ignored, and in February, 1787, Congress took such action as its limited powers permitted, and passed a resolution, suggesting that a convention of delegates from the several States be held at Philadelphia on the second Monday of May following, “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to Congress and the several State legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall, when agreed to by Congress and confirmed by the States, render the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of government, and the preservation of the Union.”
Pursuant to this resolution of Congress, delegates from twelve of the thirteen States (Rhode Island alone being unrepresented) assembled at Philadelphia, the convention opening its sessions in Independence Hall on May 14, 1787, under the Presidency of George Washington. For four months the delegates carried on the great work which had been intrusted to them, and at the close of their deliberations, on September 17, 1787, they had completed the Constitution of the United States, with the exception of the amendments, in the form in which we have it to-day. Their work was promptly approved by Congress, and at the close of the year 1788 had been adopted by eleven of the States and went into operation between them. The two remaining States, North Carolina and Rhode Island, ratified it and entered into the American Union in 1789 and 1790, respectively.
These results were not achieved without difficulty—in the face of profound differences of opinion. In most of the States the ratification of the Constitution was secured by narrow majorities, and after prolonged and earnest discussion, and in none of the States was it approved with anything approaching unanimity. This opposition and these differences of opinion were primarily due to what have been called ‘the compromises of the Constitution.’ These were three in number. The first dealt with the fundamental conflict between those who desired a strong central authority and those who feared the extension of executive power. This was compromised by investing the President of the Republic with great powers, but for a limited term only, and by a complicated system of ‘checks and balances,’ whereby the exercise of his power was at divers points and in various ways subjected to the control of Congress or of the Senate.
The second compromise was of the conflict of the great and small States, the former claiming the weight in the National Government to which their size, wealth, and population entitled them, and the latter insisting upon the recognition of their equality as independent, self-governing commonwealths. This was effected by the institution of two chambers of legislation, a Senate, in which the States were to have equal representation, and a House of Representatives, in which the representation should be in proportion to population. This compromise involved also the delicate question of the distribution of power between the two Houses of Congress.
The third compromise was of the controversy between the upholders of slavery and those who believed that slavery should be restricted or abolished. This was adjusted by the proviso forbidding Congress to prohibit the importation or migration of slaves before the year 1808 (Art. I., Sec. 9). and the requirement that fugitive slaves should be delivered up by the States in which they had taken refuge (Art. IV., Sec. 2). As no power was conferred upon Congress or the President to interfere with slavery in the States in which it existed, the institution was left within the complete control of those States.
In some of the States, great dissatisfaction was expressed at the absence of anything like a Bill of Rights in the Constitution, and for a time the fear was felt that certain of the States might refuse to ratify unless the Constitution were amended. Accordingly, the first Congress after the adoption of the Constitution proposed a series of amendments, which were promptly ratified by the States as Articles I.-X. of the amendments as they now stand. (See Rights, Bill of). Articles XI. and XII. speedily followed, in 1793 and 1803, respectively. From that date to the Civil War, no amendments to the original instrument were adopted. The three remaining amendments, Articles XIII., XIV., and XV., were adopted in 1865, 1868, and 1870, respectively, as part of the reconstruction policy of the Government after the Civil War, in order to secure to the lately emancipated slaves the legal and political benefits of full citizenship in the United States and in the several States. The character and effect of these amendments are considered in the article on Rights, Civil. See, also, Civil War; Reconstruction; Slavery.
It remains to be said, in conclusion, that, in speaking of the Constitution of a State, reference is made to the whole body of its fundamental law, whether embodied in written form or not. The Constitution of every active political community is the product of many agencies and influences, not merely of deliberate legislative action. That of the United States is no exception to this rule. The Constitution, as adopted in the early formative period of the Republic, and formally amended from time to time in the manner therein prescribed, has been more extensively amended by the insensible processes of use and custom, and by the far-reaching effects of judicial construction. As to the last, it may be said that the Constitution, in setting up a supreme judicial tribunal, with the function of passing upon the validity of national and State legislative action and of executive action, has indirectly provided for a process of amendment much more efficacious than that directly provided. The Constitution of the United States, as it exists to-day, therefore, must be looked for in the decisions of the courts and in the political practice of the people, as well as in the text of the original articles and their formal amendments. The leading authorities on the Constitution are: The Federalist; Elliott's Debates in Convention on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution; Curtis, History, Origin, Formation, and Adoption of the Constitution of the United States; Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United Stales (any edition); Cooley, Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations Which Rest Upon the Legislative Powers of the States; Von Holst, Constitutional Law of the United States of America (translation, Chicago, 1887); De Tocqueville, Democracy in America (translation, London, 1835); Bryce, The American Commonwealth (3d ed.), and the Cases on Constitutional Law of the United States, collected and edited by J. B. Thayer (Cambridge, Mass., 1894-95). See also, Constitution; Constitutional Law; Supreme Court of the United States. The text of the Constitution is as follows:
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
We, the people of the United States, in order to form a mure perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, 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.
Article I., Sec. 1. 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.
Sec. 2. 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 be chosen.
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 each State shall have at least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to choose 3; Massachusetts, 8; Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, 1; Connecticut, 5; New York, 6; New Jersey, 4; Pennsylvania, 8; Delaware, 1; Maryland, 6; Virginia, 10; North Carolina, 5; South Carolina, 5; and Georgia, 3.
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 choose their Speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment.
Sec. 3. 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.
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.
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.
The Vice-President of the United States shall also be president of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall choose 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 present.
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.
Sec. 4. 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 choosing Senators.
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.
Sec. 5. 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 journal.
Neither House, during the sessions 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.
Sec. 6. 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 sessions 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.
Sec. 7. 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 (Sunday 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 the 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.
Sec. 8. The Congress shall have power
To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts, and excise shall be uniform throughout the United States;
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-roads;
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 forces;
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.
Sec. 9. The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit shall not be prohibited by 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 hereinbefore directed to be taken.
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 time.
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.
Sec. 10. No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything 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 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.
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.
Article II., Sec. 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:
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 persons holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.
The Congress may determine the time of choosing 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 the 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 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.
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 enters on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or aflirmation: “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.”
Sec. 2. 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.
Sec. 3. 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 eases 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.
Sec. 4. 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.
Article III., Sec. 1. 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.
Sec. 2. 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.
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 eases 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.
Sec. 3. 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.
Article IV., Sec. 1. 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.
Sec. 2. 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 the crime.
No person held to service or labor 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 labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.
Sec. 3. 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.
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 any particular State.
Sec. 4. 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.
Article V. 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.
Article VI. 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, anything 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.
Article VII. 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 17th 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.
Article I. 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 redress of grievances.
Article II. 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.
Article III. 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.
Article IV. 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.
Article V. 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 and 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 ease 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.
Article VI. 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 accusations; 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 defense.
Article VII. 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.
Article VIII. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.
Article IX. The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Article X. 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.
Article XI. 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.
Article XII. 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, 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 a 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.
Article XIII., Sec. 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 jurisdiction.
Sec. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Article XIV., Sec. 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.
Sec. 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 proportions which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Sec. 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 such disability.
Sec. 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.
Sec. 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Article XV., Sec. 1. The right of the 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.
Sec. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.