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Constitution of the United States

Sagacious men perceived the utter inefficiency of the articles of Confederation (q. v.) as a constitution of a national government as early as 1780, while their ratification by the States was pending. Alexander Hamilton, then only twenty-three years of age, in a long letter to James Duane, in Congress, dated “At the liberty Pole,” Sept. 3, gave an outline sketch of a national constitution, and suggested the calling of a convention to frame such a system of government. During the following year he published in the New York packet (then published at Fishkill, N. Y.) a series of papers under the title of “The Constitutionalist,” which were devoted chiefly to the discussion of the defects of the Articles of Confederation. In the summer of 1782 he succeeded in having the subject brought before the legislature of New York, then in session at Poughkeepsie, and that body, by a resolution drawn by Hamilton and presented by his father-in-law, General Schuyler, recommended (July 21, 1782) the assembling of a national convention to revise the Articles, “reserving the right of the respective legislatures to ratify their determinations.” In the spring of 1783 Hamilton, in Congress, expressed an earnest desire for such a convention. Pelatiah Webster and Thomas Paine wrote in favor of it the same year, and in 1784 Noah Webster wrote a pamphlet on the subject which he carried in person to General Washington. In that pamphlet Webster proposed “a new system of government which should act, not on the States, but directly on individuals, and vest in Congress full power to carry its laws into effect.” The plan deeply impressed the mind of Washington.

Events in North Carolina and Massachusetts made many leading men anxious about the future. They saw the weakness of the existing form of government. In the autumn of 1785 Washington, in a letter to James Warren, deplored that weakness, and the “illiberality, jealousy, and local policy of the States,” that was likely to “sink the new nation in the eyes of Europe into contempt.” Finally, after many grave discussions at Mount Vernon, Washington, acting upon the suggestions of Hamilton made five years before, proposed a convention of the several States to agree upon a plan of unity in a commercial arrangement, over which, by the existing Constitution, Congress had no control. Coming from such an exalted source, the suggestion was acted upon.

A convention of delegates from the several States was called at Annapolis, Md. Only five States (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia) sent deputies. These met Sept. 11, 1786. There being only a minority of the States present, they deferred action, at the same time recommending another convention. On Feb. 21, 1787, the Congress, by resolution, strongly [332] urged the several legislatures to send deputies to a convention to meet in Philadelphia in May following, “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.” Delegates were appointed by all the States excepting Rhode Island. The convention assembled at the appointed time (May 14), but only one-half the States were then represented. The remainder did not all arrive before May 24. Washington, who was a delegate from Virginia, was chosen president of the convention, and William Jackson, one of his most intimate friends, was made secretary. Edmund Randolph, of Virginia, opened the proceedings by a carefully prepared speech, in which the defects of the existing Constitution were pointed out. At its conclusion he offered fifteen resolutions, in which were embodied the leading principles whereon to construct a new form of government. In these was the suggestion that “a national government ought to be established, consisting of a supreme legislature, executive, and judiciary.”

Upon this broad idea the convention proceeded, and had not gone far when they perceived that the Articles of Confederation were too radically defective to form a basis for a stable government. Therefore they did not attempt to amend them, but proceeded to form an entirely new Constitution. For many weeks debates went on, when (Sept. 10, 1787) all plans and amendments adopted by the convention were referred to a committee for revision and arrangement. It consisted of James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Johnson, Rufus King, and Gouverneur Morris. The latter put the document into proper literary form. It was signed by nearly all the members of the convention on the 17th. The convention ordered these proceedings to be laid before Congress, and recommended that body to submit the instrument to the people (not the States) and ask them, the source of all sovereignty, to ratify or reject it. It was done. The Constitution was violently assailed, especially by the extreme supporters of the doctrine of State sovereignty. The consent of the people of nine States was necessary to secure its ratification. The New Hampshire convention completed the work by voting for its ratification, June 21, 1788. All the rest had ratified it, excepting Rhode Island, before the close of that year, North Carolina having voted for it Nov. 21. Rhode Island held back until May 20, 1790, the government, under the new Constitution, having gone into operation on March 4, 1789.

The ratification of the national Constitution was celebrated at Philadelphia (July 4, 1788) with imposing ceremonies. The ten ratifying States were represented by as many ships moored at intervals in the Delaware, along the front of the city, each displaying at her mast-head a white flag bearing the name of the State represented in golden letters. All the river craft were embellished with flags and streamers. A large procession paraded the streets, in which several of the principal citizens personated in appropriate dresses some such event as “Independence,” the “French Alliance,” the “Definitive treaty of peace,” “Washington,” the “New era,” the “Federal Constitution,” the “Ten ratifying States.” In a car in the form of an eagle, lofty and ornamental, sat Chief-Justice McKean and two of his bench associates, bearing a framed copy of the Constitution on a staff. The car and its contents personified the new Constitution. On the staff was a cap of Liberty, bearing in golden letters the legend “The people.” A citizen and an Indian chief rode together, smoking a pipe of peace, personifying peace on the frontiers. Various trades were represented; also the shipping interest, and different associations in Philadelphia. Altogether there were about 5.000 in the procession, which ended at Union Square, where 17,000 persons were addressed by James Wilson, who took a conspicuous part in framing the Constitution. The oration was followed by a collation. About three weeks afterwards a similar celebration occurred in the city of New York, where a large majority of the inhabitants were in favor of the Constitution. Greenleaf's Political register —anti-Federal in its politics-contained a disparaging account of the celebration; and when, a night or two afterwards, news came of the ratification of the Constitution by the convention in session at Poughkeepsie, a mob attacked the [333] printing-office, broke in the doors, and destroyed the type. The people of Providence, R. I., were in favor of the Constitution, and were preparing to celebrate its ratification on July 4, with other ceremonies appropriate to the day, when 1,000 men, some of them armed, headed by a judge of the Supreme Court, came in from the country, and compelled the citizens to omit in the celebration anything favorable to the Constitution. A more violent collision took place in Albany. The friends of the Constitution celebrated its ratification on July 3, the opponents at the same time burning it. Both parties united in celebrating the 4th, but dined at different places. After dinner the Federalists formed a new procession, and when they were passing the headquarters of the anti-Federal party a quarrel occurred, followed by a fight, in which clubs and stones, swords and bayonets, were freely used, to the injury of several persons. There was much asperity of feeling everywhere exhibited.

The following is the text of the national Constitution and of its several amendments:

Constitution of the United States.

Article I:

section 1. Legislative powers; in whom vested.

sec. 2. House of Representatives, how and by whom chosen—Qualifications of a representative—Representatives and direct taxes, how apportioned—Census— Vacancies to be filled—Power of choosing officers, and of impeachment.

sec. 3. Senators, how and by whom chosen—How classified—State Executive to make temporary appointments, in case, etc.—Qualifications of a senator—President of the Senate, his right to vote— President pro tem., and other officers of Senate, how chosen—Power to try impeachment—When President is tried, chief-justice to preside—Sentence.

sec. 4. Times, etc., of holding elections, how prescribed—One session in each year.

sec. 5. Membership—Quorum—Adjournments—Rules—Power to punish or expel —Journal—Time of adjournments limited, unless, etc.

sec. 6. Compensation–Privileges–Disqualification in certain cases.

sec. 7. House to originate all revenue bills—Veto—Bill may be passed by twothirds of each House notwithstanding, etc.—Bill not returned in ten days—Provision as to all orders, etc., except, etc.

sec. 8. Powers of Congress.

sec. 9. Provision as to migration or importation of certain persons—Habeas Corpus—Bills of attainder, etc.—Taxes, how apportioned—No export duty—No commercial preference—No money drawn from treasury, unless, etc.—No titular nobility—Officers not to receive presents, unless, etc.

sec. 10. States prohibited from the exercise of certain powers.

Article II:

section 1. President; his term of office—Electors of President; number and how appointed—Electors to vote on same day—Qualification of President—On whom his duties devolve in case of his removal, death, etc.—President's compensation—His oath.

sec. 2. President to be commander-inchief—He may require opinion of, etc., and may pardon—Treaty-making power— Nomination of certain officers—When President may fill vacancies.

sec. 3. President shall communicate to Congress—He may convene and adjourn Congress, in case, etc.; shall receive ambassadors, execute laws, and commission officers.

sec. 4. All civil offices forfeited for certain crimes.

Article III:

section 1. Judicial power—Tenure— Compensation.

sec. 2. Judicial power; to what cases it extends—Original jurisdiction of supreme court—Appellate—Trial by jury, except, etc.—Trial, where.

sec. 3. Treason defined—Proof of—Punishment of.

Article IV:

section 1. Each State to give credit to the public acts, etc., of every other State.

sec. 2. Privileges of citizens of each State—Fugitives from justice to be delivered up—Persons held to service having escaped, to be delivered up. [334]

sec. 3. Admission of new States—Power of Congress over territory and other property.

sec. 4. Republican form of government guaranteed—Each State to be protected.

Article V:

Constitution; how amended—Proviso.

Article VI:

Certain debts, etc., adopted—Supremacy of Constitution, treaties, and laws of the United States—Oath to support Constitution, by whom taken—No religious test.

Article VII:

What ratification shall establish Constitution.


I. Religious establishment prohibited —Freedom of speech, of the press, and right to petition.

II. Right to keep and bear arms.

III. No soldier to be quartered in any house, unless, etc.

IV. Right of search and seizure regulated.

V. Provisions concerning prosecutions, trial, and punishment—Private property not to be taken for public use, without, etc.

VI. Further provisions respecting criminal prosecutions.

VII. Right of trial by jury secured.

VIII. Excessive bail or fines and cruel punishments prohibited.

IX. Rule of construction.

X. Same subject.

XI. Same subject.

XII. Manner of choosing President and Vice-President.

XIII. Slavery abolished.

XIV. Citizenship.

XV. Right of suffrage.


we, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, 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.

Article I:

section 1.

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.

section 2.

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.

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.

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. 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 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.

4. When vacancies happen in the representation from any State, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.

5. The House of Representatives shall [335] choose their speaker and other officers, and shall have the sole power of impeachment.

section 3.

1. 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.

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.

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.

4. The Vice-President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote unless they be equally divided.

5. 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.

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 twothirds of the members present.

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.

section 4.

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 choosing senators.

2. 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.

section 5.

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.

2. 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.

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.

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.

section 6.

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. They shall, in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech [336] or debate in either House they shall not be questioned in any other place.

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 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.

1. All bills for raising, revenues shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.

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 twothirds 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. 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 Congress shall have power:

1. 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. To borrow money on the credit of the United States.

3. To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.

4. To establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.

5. To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures.

6. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States.

7. To establish post-offices and postroads.

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.

9. To constitute tribunals inferior to the supreme court; to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations.

10. To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.

11. To raise and support armies; but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years.

12. To provide and maintain a navy.

13. To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.

14. To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.

15. To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for [337] 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.

16. 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

17. 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.

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.

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.

3. No bill of attainder, or ex post facto law shall be passed.

4. No capitation or other direct tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration hereinbefore directed to be taken.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States; and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign State.

section 10.

1. 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.

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 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:

section 1.

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:

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 [338] trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.

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 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 choose, 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, choose the President. But in choosing the President, the vote 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 choose from them, by ballot, the Vice-President.] 1

4. 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.

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.

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, 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.

7. 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. Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States; and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

section 2.

1. The President shall be commanderin-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.

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, [339] 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. 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.

1. 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.

1. 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:

section 1.

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.

section 2.

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; 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.

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.

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.

section 3.

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 court.

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 attainted.

Article IV:

section 1.

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 [340] acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

section 2.

1. The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.

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.

3. 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.

section 3.

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.

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.

section 4.

1. 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:

1. 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 threefourths 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:

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.

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, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

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.

Article VII:

1. 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.

Ga: Washington, Presidt. and Deputy from Virginia. [341]
New Hampshire. John Langdon, Nicholas Gilman.
Massachusetts. Nathaniel Gorham, Rufus King.
Connecticut. Wm. Saml. Johnson, Roger Sherman.
New York. Alexander Hamilton.
New Jersey. Wil: Livingston, David Brearley, Wm. Paterson, Jona: Dayton.
Pennsylvania. B. Franklin, Thomas Mifflin, Robt. Morris, Geo. Clymer, Thomas Fitzsimons, Jared Ingersoll, James Wilson, Gouv. Morris.
Delaware. Geo: Read, Jaco: Broom, John Dickinson, Richard Bassett, Gunning Bedford, Jun.
Maryland. James Mchenry, Danl. Carroll, Dan of St. Thos. Jenifer.
Virginia. John Blair, James Madison, Jr.
North Carolina. Wm. Blount, Hugh Williamson, Richd. Dobbs Spaight.
South Carolina. J. Rutledge, Charles Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Pierce Butler.
Georgia. William Few, Abr. Baldwin.
Attest: William Jackson, Secretary.

Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

The following amendments were proposed at the first session of the First Congress of the United States, which was begun and held at the city of New York on the 4th of March, 1789, and were declared in force Dec. 15, 1791.

The following preamble and resolution preceded the original proposition of the amendments, and as they have been supposed to have an important bearing on the construction of those amendments, they are here inserted. They will be found in the journals of the first session of the First Congress.

Congress of the United States.

Begun and held at the city of New York, on Wednesday, the 4th day of March, 1789.

The conventions of a number of the States having, at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added, and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution:

Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two-thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the constitution of the United States; all or any of which articles, when ratified by three-fourths of the said legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said constitution, namely:

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 a 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 [342] 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 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.

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 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.

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. 2

article VIII:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments 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.

[The following amendment was proposed at the second session of the Third Congress. Declared in force Jan. 8, 1798.]

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.

[The three following sections were proposed as amendments at the first session of the Eighth Congress. Declared in force Sept. 25, 1804.]

article XII:

1. 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 [343] 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 number, 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.

2. 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.

3. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

article XIII: 3

section 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.

section 2.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

article XIV: 4

section 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.

section 2.

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a State, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

section 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 [344] 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 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.

section 5.

The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

article XV: 5

section 1.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

section 2.

The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Constitution, or old Ironsides

1 This paragraph has been superseded and annulled by the 12th amendment.

2 This affects only United States Courts.

3 Proposed by Congress Feb. 1. 1865. Ratification announced by Secretary of State, Dec. 18, 1865.

4 Proposed by Congress June 16, 1866. Ratification announced by Secretary of State, July 28, 1868.

5 Proposed by Congress Feb. 27, 1869. Ratification announced by Secretary of State, March 30, 1870.

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