Constitution of the United States of America

The Original Seven Articles


We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect

Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the com-

mon defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of

liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Con-

stitution for the United States of America.

Article 1.

Section 1--Legislative powers; in whom vested.

All legislative powers herein vested in a Congress of the

United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section 2--House of Representatives, how and by whom

chosen. Qualifications of a Representative. Representa-

tives and direct taxes, how apportioned. Enumeration. Va-

cancies to be filled. Power of choosing officers, and of


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(The previous sentence was superceded by Amendment XIV, Section 2.)

The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first

meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent

term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of

Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each

State shall have at least one Representative; and until such enumeration

shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to 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 Caro-

lina five, and Georgia three.

4. When vacancies happen in the representation of any State, the

Executive Authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such


5. The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other

officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment.

Section 3--Senators, how and by whom chosen. How

classified. Qualifications of a Senator. President of the

Senate, his right to vote. President pro tem., and other

officers of the Senate, how chosen. Power to try impeach-

ment. When President is tried, Chief Justice to provide.


1. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators

from each State, (chosen by the Legislature thereof), (The preceding five

words were superceded by Amendment XVII, section 1.) 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.) (The words in paren-

theses were superceded by Amendment XVII, section 2.)

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


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 two-thirds of the

members present.

7. Judgements 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, judgement, and pun-

ishment, according to law.

Section 4--Times, etc., of holding elections, how pre-

scribed. One session each year.

1. The times, places, and manners 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) (The words in paren-

theses were superceded by Amendment XX, section 2.) unless they shall

by law appoint a different day.

Section 5--Membership, quorum, adjournments, rules.

Power to punish or expel. Journal. Time of adjournments,

how limited, etc.

1. Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifica-

tions 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 judgement

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--Compensation, privileges, disqualifications

in certain cases.

1. The Senators and Representatives shall recieve 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 any 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 any 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--House to originate all revenue bills. Veto. Bill

may be passed by two-thirds of each House, notwithstand-

ing, etc. Bill, not returned in ten days, to become a law.

Provisions as to orders, concurrent resolutions, etc.

1. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representa-

tives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other


2. Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and

the Senate, shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President

of the United States; if he approves 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.

2. 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

1. 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 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 a 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 post-roads;

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;

10. To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high

seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

11. To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules

concerning captures on land and water;

12. To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that

use shall be for a longer term than two years;

13. To provide and maintain a navy;

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


15. To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union,

supress insurrections and repel invasions;

16. To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for

governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the

United States, reserving to the States respectively, the appointment of the

officers, and the authority of training and militia according to the discipline

prescribed by Congress;

17. 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 Govern-

ment 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, dockyards, and

other needful buildings; And

18. To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into

execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Con-

stitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or

officer thereof.

part 2



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