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(The previous sentence was superceded by Amendment XIV, Section 2.)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