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[Went into operation on the first Wednesday of March, 1789. Owings v. Speed, 5 Wh., 420.]

WE, the people of the United States, in order to form a Preamble more perfect union, establish justice, ensure 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:

2 Dal., 471; 1 Wh., 324; 3 Wh., 181; 4 Wh., 404; 6 Wh., 414; 12
Wh., 455; 5 Pet., 128; 6 Pet., 569; 12 How., 107; 1 Brock., 177;
2 Brock., 109; 6 Call., 277; 7 J. Ch., 297; 16 J. R., 233; 17 J. R.,
195; 19 J. R., 153; 4 N. Y., 276; 20 W., 365; 3 Cow., 713.



1. All legislative powers, herein granted, shall be vested in Legislative a congress of the United States, which shall consist of a senate power. and house of representatives.


tatives; its

1. The house of representatives shall be composed of House of members chosen every second year by the people of the represen several states; and the electors in each state shall have the members; qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous chosen. branch of the state legislature.

by whom

tion of

2. No person shall be a representative who shall not have Qualifica attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven members. 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.

ment of

3. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned Apportionamong the several states which may be included within this representaUnion, according to their respective numbers; which shall be tives and determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, taxes.




including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons. Census. 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 manNumber of ner 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.

First apportionment.



Power of impeachment.


Classification of senators.

3 Dal., 171; Wh., 317.

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

10 Law R., 1.

5. The house of representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeach



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 Vacancies. 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 presiof the sen- dent of the senate, but shall have no vote unless they be equally divided.


Officers and president pro tem.

Trial of im

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 impeachpeachments ments. 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.

on impeach

7. Judgment, in cases of impeachment, shall not extend Judgment further than to removal from office, and disqualification to ment. 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.



1. The times, places, and manner of holding elections for Election of senators and representatives shall be prescribed in each state and repreby the legislature thereof; but the congress may, at any sentatives. time, by law, make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing senators.

meeting of

2. The congress shall assemble at least once in every year; Annual and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, congress. unless they shall, by law, appoint a different day.


each house.

2. Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns, Powers of 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, Power to punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the and expel concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.

1 Dal., 296; 6 Wh., 204; 1 Am. L. J., 139; 1 Am. L. J., 459.

make rules


3. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and, Journals. from time to time, publish the same, excepting such parts as may, in their judgment, require secrecy; and the yeas and nays Yeas and of the members of either house, on any question, shall, at the nays. desire of one-fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.

4. Neither house, during the session of congress, shall, Adjonrnwithout the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three ments. days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.


tion to


1. The senators and representatives shall receive a com- Compensapensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and members of 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 ses- Privileges. sion 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.

3 Dal., 478; 4 Dal., 107.


from cer

2. No senator or representative shall, during the time for tain offices. 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.

Rvenue bills.

Manner of

passing bills.


by president.



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.

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 Reconsider proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, twothirds 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 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. His omis- 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.

sion to re

turn it.

Concurrent orders,


3. Every order, resolution or vote to which the concurrence resolutions, 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.

General powers of congress. Taxation.



6 Op., 680.


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.

5 Wh., 317; 9 Wh., 199.

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

2 Pet., 449.

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

9 Wh, 1; 12 Wh., 419; 2 Pet., 250; 11 Pet., 102; 12 Pet., 72; 5 How.,
504; 7 How., 288; 8 How., 73, 490; 12 How., 299; 14 How., 568;
18 How., 71, 421; 4 Wash., 378; 1 McL., 254; 5 McL., 426; 6 Mc-
L., 70, 209, 237, 518; 1 Op., 659; 2 Op., 426; 9 J. R., 507; Hop.,
149; 3 Cow., 713; 6 Cow., 169; 7 Cow., 349; 1 H., 469; 4 D.,
469; 1 W., 493; 15 W., 113; 19 W., 547; 26 B., 270.


4. To establish an uniform rule of naturalization; and uni- Naturalizaform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the Bankrupt United States.

2 Dal., 372; 3 Wash., 314; 2 Wh., 259; 4 Wh., 122, 209; 6 Wh., 131;
12 Wh., 213, 370; 6 Pet., 348, 635; 9 Pet., 329; 14 Pet., 67; 5
How., 295, 585; 7 How., 556; 6 Cow., 497; 3 B., 429; 4 N. Y.,




5. To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of for- Coin. eign coin; and fix the standard of weights and measures. and meas6. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the countersecurities and current coin of the United States.

2 Law R., 90; 5 How., 410; 9 How., 560.

7. To establish post-offices and post-roads.

18 How., 421; 3 McL., 393.



Post-offices and roads.

8. To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by Patent and securing, for limited times, to authors and inventors, the copy rights. exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.

6 Pet., 218; 8 Pet., 591; 1 How., 202; 6 How., 486; 15 How., 212;
3 Sum., 535; 1 Blatch., 258; 5 McL., 158; 3 B. Ch., 320; 8 W.,
562; 3 N. Y., 9.

9. To constitute tribunals inferior to the supreme court.

1 Pet., 546.


10. To define and punish piracies and felonies committed Piracies, on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations.

5 Wh., 153.


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

8 Cr., 110.

12. To raise and support armies; but no appropriation of Army. 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 Articles of the land and naval forces.


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

12 Wh., 19.


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

5 Wh., 1; 19 J. R., 7.

17. To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever Exclusive


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