THE FOUR DOCUMENTS

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(Preamble) 

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 (Article 1 – Legislative)

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 Representatives.

Section
2

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
.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.

4: When vacancies
happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof
shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

5: The House of
Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and
shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section
3

1: The Senate of the
United States shall be composed of two Senators from each
State, 
chosen by the Legislature thereof,3 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.
4

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 President of the Senate, but shall have
no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

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.

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: 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

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.

2: The Congress
shall assemble at least once in every Year, 
and such Meeting shall be
on the first Monday in December,
5 unless they shall by Law
appoint a different Day.

Section
5

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.

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.

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.

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

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.6 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.

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

1: All Bills for
raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate
may propose orconcur 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 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.

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 repassedby two thirds of the Senate and House of
Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in
the Case of a Bill.

Section
8

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 Excisesshall 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 an
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 Offences 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 twoYears;

13: To provide and
maintain a Navy;

14: To make Rules
for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

15: To provide for
calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress
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 the 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
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

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

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 orduty may be
imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

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.

3: No Bill of
Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

4: No Capitation,
or other direct, Tax shall be laid, 
unless in Proportion to
the Census or
 Enumeration herein before directed to
be taken.
7

5: No Tax
or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

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.

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.

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

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 Nobility.

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.

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 (Article 2 – Executive)

Section
1

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

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.

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.8

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.

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.

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,
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.

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.

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

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 Impeachment.

2: He shall have
Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties,
provided two thirdsof 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.

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 onImpeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or
other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article III (Article 3 – Judicial)

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

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;
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.

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 appellateJurisdiction,
both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as
the Congress shall make.

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

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 twoWitnesses to
the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

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 (Article 4 – States’
Relations)

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

1: The Citizens of
each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in
the several States.

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.

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.
11

Section
3

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.

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 (Article 5 – Mode of
Amendment)

The Congress,
whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary,
shall propose 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 (Article 6 – Prior Debts,
National Supremacy, Oaths of Office)

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.

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.

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 (Article 7 –
Ratification)

The Ratification of the
Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment
of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

The Word “the”,
being interlined between the seventh and eight Lines of
the first Page, The Word “Thirty” being partly
written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of
the first Page. The Words “is tried” being interlined
between the thirty second and thirty third Lines
of the first Page and the Word “the” being interlined
between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of
the second Page.

  

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,

THE BILL OF RIGHTS/ AMENDMENTS

Amendment I

Freedoms, Petitions, Assembly

Congress shall make no
law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of
the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress
of grievances.

Amendment II

Right to bear arms

A well regulated
Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the
people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

Quartering of soldiers

No Soldier shall, in
time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor
in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

Search and arrest

The right of the people
to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants
shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and
particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to
be seized.

Amendment V

Rights in criminal cases

No person shall be held
to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment
or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval
forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger;
nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in
jeopardy of life or limb, nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a
witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without
due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without
just compensation.

Amendment VI

Right to a fair trial

In all criminal
prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial,
by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have
been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law,
and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted
with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining
witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

Rights in civil cases

In Suits at common law,
where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial
by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise
re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of
the common law.

Amendment VIII

Bail, fines, punishment

Excessive bail shall not
be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments
inflicted.

Amendment IX

Rights retained by the People

The enumeration in the
Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage
others retained by the people.

Amendment X

States’ rights

The powers not delegated
to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States,
are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.



Later Amendments

Amendment 11

Lawsuits against states

The Judicial power of
the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or
equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of
another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

February 7, 1795.

Amendment 12

Presidential elections

The Electors shall meet
in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and
Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same
state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as
President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and
they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of
all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each,
which lists 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 for President, shall
be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors
appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having
the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as
President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot,
the President. But in choosing 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. [And if the House
of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice
shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then
the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other
constitutional disability of the President.]
* The person having
the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if
such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no
person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the
Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist
of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole
number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally
ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of
Vice-President of the United States.

June 15, 1804.
Superseded by Section 3 of the Twentieth Amendment.

Amendment 13

Abolition of slavery

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude,
except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly
convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their
jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce these
article by appropriate legislation.

December 6, 1865.

Amendment 14

Civil rights

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United
States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United
States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any
law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United
States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property,
without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the
equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among
the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole
number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the
right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice
President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and
Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is
denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of
age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation
in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be
reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to
the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or
Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold
any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State,
who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer
of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an
executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the
United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the
same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a
vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the
United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of
pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion,
shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall
assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or
rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation
of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal
and void.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce,
by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

July 9, 1868.

Amendment 15

Black suffrage

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States
to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on
account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce
this article by appropriate legislation.

February 3, 1870.

Amendment 16

Income taxes

The Congress shall have
power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived,
without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any
census or enumeration.

February 3, 1913.

Amendment 17

Senatorial elections

The Senate of the United
States shall be composed of two senators from each State, elected by the people
thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in
each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most
numerous branch of the State legislature.

When vacancies happen in
the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such
State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided,
That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make
temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the
legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not
be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before
it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

April 8, 1913.

Amendment 18

Prohibition of liquor

Section 1. After one year from the ratification of
this article, the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors
within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the
United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for
beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall
have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless
it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the
legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within
seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the
Congress.

January 16, 1919.
Repealed by the Twenty-First, December 5, 1933.

Amendment 19

Women’s suffrage

The right of citizens of
the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States
or by any States on account of sex.

Congress shall have
power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

August 18, 1920.

Amendment 20

Terms of office

Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice
President shall end at noon the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators
and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which
such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the
terms of their successors shall then begin.

Section 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once
in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January,
unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of
the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice
President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been
chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President
elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as
President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law
provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President
elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the
manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act
accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

Section 4. The Congress may by law provide for the
case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives
may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon
them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate
may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved
upon them.

Section 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the
15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

Section 6. This article shall be inoperative unless
it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the
legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the
date of its submission.

January 23, 1933.

Amendment 21

Repeal of Prohibition

Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the
Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into any
State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use
therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby
prohibited.

Section 3. The article shall be inoperative unless it
shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in
the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from
the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

December 5, 1933.

Amendment 22

Term Limits for the Presidency

Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office
of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of
President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which
some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the
President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person
holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the Congress,
and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or
acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes
operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during
the remainder of such term.

Section 2. This article shall be inoperative unless
it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the
legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the
date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

February 27, 1951.

Amendment 23

Washington, D.C., suffrage

Section 1. The District constituting the seat of
government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress
may direct:

A number of electors of
President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and
Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were
a state, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in
addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for
the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors
appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such
duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce
this article by appropriate legislation.

March 29, 1961.

Amendment 24

Abolition of poll taxes

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States
to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for
electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in
Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by
reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce
this article by appropriate legislation.

January 23, 1964.

Amendment 25

Presidential succession

Section 1. In case of the removal of the President
from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become
President.

Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office
of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall
take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the
President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the
powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written
declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the
Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority
of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other
body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of
the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written
declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of
his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties
of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the
President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker
of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability
exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice
President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive
department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit
within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of
the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is
unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress
shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if
not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the
latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within
twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by
two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the
powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge
the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers
and duties of his office.

February 10, 1967.

Amendment 26

18-year-old suffrage

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United
States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or
abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce
this article by appropriate legislation.

June 30, 1971.

Amendment 27

Congressional pay raises

No law, varying the
compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take
effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

May 7, 1992. (Note: Congress
submitted the text of this amendment as part of the proposed Bill of Rights on
September 27, 1789. The Amendment was not ratified together with the first ten
Amendments.)

DECLARATION OF
INDEPENDENCE

 

The Declaration of
Independence

Visit our Declaration of Independence website

In Congress, July 4,
1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of
human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political
bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of
the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of
Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires
that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to
be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and
the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights, Governments are
instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the
governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these
ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute
new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its
powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety
and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established
should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all
experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are
sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are
accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing
invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute
Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government,
and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient
sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains
them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present
King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all
having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these
States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his
Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his
Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended
in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended,
he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass
other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those
people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right
inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together
legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the
depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into
compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved
Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his
invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a
long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the
Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at
large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all
the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to
prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws
for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their
migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the
Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing
Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges
dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount an
payment of their salaries.

He has erected a
multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our
people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in
times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to
render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with
others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and
unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended
Legislation:

For quartering large
bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by
a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the
Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our
Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us
without our Consent:

For depriving us in many
cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us
beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free
System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an
Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once
an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these
Colonies

For taking away our
Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the
Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own
Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us
in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated
Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against
us.

He has plundered our
seas, ravaged our Coasts burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our
people.

He is at this time
transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of
death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty
& Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally
unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our
fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their
Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall
themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic
insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of
our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an
undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these
Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our
repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose
character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be
the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting
in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of
attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.
We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement
here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have
conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations,
which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too
have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must,
therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold
them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the
Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress,
Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our
intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these
Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of
Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all
Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them
and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that
as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude
Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and
Things which Independent States may of right do. —And for the support of this
Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we
mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

 

 

VIRGINIA BILL OF
RIGHTS

 


A declaration of rights made by the
representatives of the good people of Virginia, assembled in full and free
convention; which rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the basis
and foundation of government.

SECTION I.
That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain
inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they
cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the
enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing
property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

SEC. 2. That
all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that
magistrates are their trustees and servants and at all times amenable to them.

SEC. 3. That
government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection,
and security of the people, nation, or community; of all the various modes and
forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest
degree of happiness and safety and is most effectually secured against the
danger of maladministration; and that, when any government shall be found
inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an
indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish
it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.

SEC. 4. That
no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or
privileges from the community, but in consideration of public services; which,
not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator, or
judge to be hereditary.

SEC. 5. That
the legislative and executive powers of the state should be separate and
distinct from the judiciary; and that the members of the two first may be
restrained from oppression, by feeling and participating the burdens of the
people, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return
into that body from which they were originally taken, and the vacancies be
supplied by frequent, certain, and regular elections, in wh ich all, or any
part, of the former members, to be again eligible, or ineligible, as the laws
shall direct.

SEC. 6. That
elections of members to serve as representatives of the people, in assembly,
ought to be free; and that all men, having sufficient evidence of permanent
common interest with, and attachment to, the community, have the right of
suffrage and cannot be taxed or deprived of their property for public uses
without their own consent, or that of their representatives so elected, nor
bound by any law to which they have not, in like manner, assented for the
public good.

SEC. 7. That
all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority,
without consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their
rights and ought not to be exercised.

SEC. 8. That
in all capital or criminal prosecutions a man hath a right to demand the cause
and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses,
to call for evidence in his favor, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury
of twelve men of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be
found guilty; nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself; that no
man be deprived of his liberty, except by the law of the land or the judgment
of his peers.

SEC. 9. That
excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel
and unusual punishments inflicted.

SEC. 10.
That general warrants, whereby an officer or messenger may be commanded to
search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any
person or persons not named, or whose offense is not particularly described and
supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive and ought not to be granted.

SEC. 11.
That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man,
the ancient trial by jury is preferable to any other and ought to be held
sacred.

SEC. 12.
That the freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty and can
never be restrained but by despotic governments.

SEC. 13.
That a well-regulated militia, or composed of the body of the people, trained
to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that
standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty;
and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and
governed by, the civil power.

SEC. 14.
That the people have a right to uniform government; and, therefore, that no
government separate from or independent of the government of Virginia ought to
be erected or established within the limits thereof.

SEC. 15.
That no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any
people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality,
and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.

SEC. 16.
That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of
discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or
violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of
religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual
duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each
other.

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