We the People of the United States, in Order
to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide
for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings
of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do
ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Article. I. – The Legislative Branch Section 1 – The Legislature
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States,
which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Section 2 – The House The House of Representatives shall be composed
of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the
Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the
most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five
Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when
elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall 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 chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence
Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight,
Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five and
Georgia three. When vacancies happen in the Representation
from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill
such Vacancies. The House of Representatives shall chuse their
Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Section 3 – The Senate The Senate of the United States shall be composed
of two Senators from each 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 be President of the Senate, but shall have
no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the
absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of
the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that
Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is
tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the
Concurrence of two thirds of the Members 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. Section 4 – Elections, Meetings
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,
shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any
time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on
the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.
Section 5 – Membership, Rules, Journals, Adjournment Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections,
Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute
a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may
be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under
such Penalties as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for
disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the
same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and
Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth
of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other,
adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two
Houses shall be sitting. Section 6 – Compensation
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be
ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all
Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during
their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning
from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be
questioned in any other Place. No Senator or Representative shall, during
the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority
of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall
have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the
United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
Section 7 – Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto
All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the
Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall,
before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve
he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which
it shall have originated, who shall enter the
Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration
two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together
with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and
if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases
the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons
voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively.
If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days Sundays excepted
after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as
if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which
Case it shall not be a Law. Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which
the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary except on
a question of Adjournment shall be presented to the President of the United States;
and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved
by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according
to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.
Section 8 – Powers of Congress The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect
Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence
and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises
shall be uniform throughout the United 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 session of particular States, and the acceptance
of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise
like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State
in which the Same shall be, for the Erection
of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and
other needful Buildings; And To make all Laws which shall be necessary
and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested
by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or
Officer thereof. Section 9 – Limits on Congress
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall
think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one
thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation,
not exceeding ten dollars for each Person. The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus
shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety
may require it. No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law
shall be passed. No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall
be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or
Enumeration herein before directed to be taken. 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. Section 10 – Powers prohibited of States
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque
and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin
a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law
impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on
Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection
Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or
Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall
be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops,
or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another
State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such
imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.