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(See Note 1)
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.
Section 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
Section. 2.
Clause 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.
Clause 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.
Clause 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. (See Note 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 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.
Clause 4: When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State,
the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill
such Vacancies.
Clause 5: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and
other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Section. 3.
Clause 1: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two
Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, (See Note
3) for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Clause 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. (See Note 4)
Clause 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.
Clause 4: The Vice President of the United States shall be President
of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
Clause 5: 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.
Clause 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.
Clause 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.
Clause 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 chusing Senators.
Clause 2: The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and
such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, (See Note 5)
unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.
Section. 5.
Clause 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.
Clause 2: Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings,
punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence
of two thirds, expel a Member.
Clause 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.
Clause 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
Section. 6.
Clause 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. (See Note 6) They shall in
all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace,
beprivileged 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.
Clause 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 encreased 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.
Clause 1: 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.
Clause 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 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
Clause 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.
Clause 1: 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
Clause 2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the
several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
Clause 4: To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform
Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
Clause 5: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign
Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
Clause 6: To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the
Securities and current Coin of the United States;
Clause 7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
Clause 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;
Clause 9: To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the
high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and
make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money
to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;
Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land
and naval Forces;
Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the
Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
Clause 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 the
Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Clause 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever,
over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, byCession
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
Clause 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 Constitution in the Government of the United States, or
in any Department or Officer thereof.
Section. 9.
Clause 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.
Clause 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.
Clause 3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
Clause 4: No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in
Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be
taken. (See Note 7)
Clause 5: No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any
Clause 6: 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.
Clause 7: 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.
Clause 8: 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.
Clause 1: 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
Clause 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 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.
Clause 3: 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.
Clause 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
Clause 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 Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed
an Elector.
Clause 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 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 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 chuse 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 chuse the President. But in chusing 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. 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 chuse from them by
Ballot the Vice President. (See Note 8)
Clause 4: The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors,
and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be
the same throughout the United States.
Clause 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.
Clause 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, (See Note 9) the Same shall devolve on the
VicePresident, 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.
Clause 7: The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his
Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased 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.
Clause 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.
Clause 1: 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 Offences against the United States, except in Cases of
Clause 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, 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.
Clause 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.
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.
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
Article. III.
Section. 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 Behaviour, and
shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation,
which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
Section. 2.
Clause 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; (See Note 10)--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.
Clause 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.
Clause 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.
Clause 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.
Clause 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.
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.
Section. 2.
Clause 1: The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all
Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
Clause 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.
Clause 3: No Person held to Service or Labour 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 Labour, but
shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or
Labour may be due. (See Note 11)
Section. 3.
Clause 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.
Clause 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.
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 [1]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.
Clause 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.
Clause 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, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the
Contrary notwithstanding.
Clause 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.
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,
GO WASHINGTON--Presidt. and deputy from Virginia
[Signed also by the deputies of twelve States.]
Geo: Read
Gunning Bedford jun
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jaco: Broom
James MCHenry
Dan of ST ThoS. Jenifer
DanL Carroll.
John Blair--
James Madison Jr.
North Carolina
WM Blount
RichD. Dobbs Spaight.
Hu Williamson
South Carolina
J. Rutledge
Charles 1ACotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler.
William Few
Abr Baldwin
New Hampshire
John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman
Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King
WM. SamL. Johnson
Roger Sherman
New York
Alexander Hamilton
New Jersey
Wil: Livingston
David Brearley.
WM. Paterson.
Jona: Dayton
B Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
RobT Morris
Geo. Clymer
ThoS. FitzSimons
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson.
Gouv Morris
Attest William Jackson Secretary
Note 1: This text of the Constitution follows the engrossed copy
signed by Gen. Washington and the deputies from 12 States. The small
superior figures preceding the paragraphs designate Clauses, and were
not in the original and have no reference to footnotes.
The Constitution was adopted by a convention of the States on
September 17, 1787, and was subsequently ratified by the several
States, on the following dates: Delaware, December 7, 1787;
Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787; New Jersey, December 18, 1787;
Georgia, January 2, 1788; Connecticut, January 9, 1788; Massachusetts,
February 6, 1788; Maryland, April 28, 1788; South Carolina, May 23,
1788; New Hampshire, June 21, 1788.
Ratification was completed on June 21, 1788.
The Constitution was subsequently ratified by Virginia, June 25, 1788;
New York, July 26, 1788; North Carolina, November 21, 1789; Rhode
Island, May 29, 1790; and Vermont, January 10, 1791.
In May 1785, a committee of Congress made a report recommending an
alteration in the Articles of Confederation, but no action was taken
on it, and it was left to the State Legislatures to proceed in the
matter. In January 1786, the Legislature of Virginia passed a
resolution providing for the appointment of five commissioners, who,
or any three of them, should meet such commissioners as might be
appointed in the other States of the Union, at a time and place to be
agreed upon, to take into consideration the trade of the United
States; to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial
regulations may be necessary to their common interest and their
permanent harmony; and to report to the several States such an act,
relative to this great object, as, when ratified by them, will enable
the United States in Congress effectually to provide for the same. The
Virginia commissioners, after some correspondence, fixed the first
Monday in September as the time, and the city of Annapolis as the
place for the meeting, but only four other States were represented,
viz: Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; the
commissioners appointed by Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North
Carolina, and Rhode Island failed to attend. Under the circumstances
of so partial a representation, the commissioners present agreed upon
a report, (drawn by Mr. Hamilton, of New York,) expressing their
unanimous conviction that it might essentially tend to advance the
interests of the Union if the States by which they were respectively
delegated would concur, and use their endeavors to procure the
concurrence of the other States, in the appointment of commissioners
to meet at Philadelphia on the Second Monday of May following, to take
into consideration the situation of the United States; to devise such
further provisions as should appear to them necessary to render the
Constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of
the Union; and to report such an act for that purpose to the United
States in Congress assembled as, when agreed to by them and afterwards
confirmed by the Legislatures of every State, would effectually
provide for the same.
Congress, on the 21st of February, 1787, adopted a resolution in favor
of a convention, and the Legislatures of those States which had not
already done so (with the exception of Rhode Island) promptly
appointed delegates. On the 25th of May, seven States having convened,
George Washington, of Virginia, was unanimously elected President, and
the consideration of the proposed constitution was commenced. On the
17th of September, 1787, the Constitution as engrossed and agreed upon
was signed by all the members present, except Mr. Gerry of
Massachusetts, and Messrs. Mason and Randolph, of Virginia. The
president of the convention transmitted it to Congress, with a
resolution stating how the proposed Federal Government should be put
in operation, and an explanatory letter. Congress, on the 28th of
September, 1787, directed the Constitution so framed, with the
resolutions and letter concerning the same, to "be transmitted to the
several Legislatures in order to be submitted to a convention of
delegates chosen in each State by the people thereof, in conformity to
the resolves of the convention."
On the 4th of March, 1789, the day which had been fixed for commencing
the operations of Government under the new Constitution, it had been
ratified by the conventions chosen in each State to consider it, as
follows: Delaware, December 7, 1787; Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787;
New Jersey, December 18, 1787; Georgia, January 2, 1788; Connecticut,
January 9, 1788; Massachusetts, February 6, 1788; Maryland, April 28,
1788; South Carolina, May 23, 1788; New Hampshire, June 21, 1788;
Virginia, June 25, 1788; and New York, July 26, 1788.
The President informed Congress, on the 28th of January, 1790, that
North Carolina had ratified the Constitution November 21, 1789; and he
informed Congress on the 1st of June, 1790, that Rhode Island had
ratified the Constitution May 29, 1790. Vermont, in convention,
ratified the Constitution January 10, 1791, and was, by an act of
Congress approved February 18, 1791, "received and admitted into this
Union as a new and entire member of the United States."
Note 2: The part of this Clause relating to the mode of apportionment
of representatives among the several States has been affected by
Section 2 of amendment XIV, and as to taxes on incomes without
apportionment by amendment XVI.
Note 3: This Clause has been affected by Clause 1 of amendment XVII.
Note 4: This Clause has been affected by Clause 2 of amendment XVIII.
Note 5: This Clause has been affected by amendment XX.
Note 6: This Clause has been affected by amendment XXVII.
Note 7: This Clause has been affected by amendment XVI.
Note 8: This Clause has been superseded by amendment XII.
Note 9: This Clause has been affected by amendment XXV.
Note 10: This Clause has been affected by amendment XI.
Note 11: This Clause has been affected by amendment XIII.
Note 12: The first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United
States (and two others, one of which failed of ratification and the
other which later became the 27th amendment) were proposed to the
legislatures of the several States by the First Congress on September
25, 1789. The first ten amendments were ratified by the following
States, and the notifications of ratification by the Governors thereof
were successively communicated by the President to Congress: New
Jersey, November 20, 1789; Maryland, December 19, 1789; North
Carolina, December 22, 1789; South Carolina, January 19, 1790; New
Hampshire, January 25, 1790; Delaware, January 28, 1790; New York,
February 24, 1790; Pennsylvania, March 10, 1790; Rhode Island, June 7,
1790; Vermont, November 3, 1791; and Virginia, December 15, 1791.
Ratification was completed on December 15, 1791.
The amendments were subsequently ratified by the legislatures of
Massachusetts, March 2, 1939; Georgia, March 18, 1939; and
Connecticut, April 19, 1939.
Note 13: Only the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th articles of amendment had
numbers assigned to them at the time of ratification.
Note 14: This sentence has been superseded by section 3 of amendment
Note 15: See amendment XIX and section 1 of amendment XXVI.
Note 16: Repealed by section 1 of amendment XXI.