[Italized blue text are editorial comments --- not part of the Constitution.]
[Each of the original 13 States' Legislatures voted (majority ruled) on its' own States' Ratification]
[This is the final ratified version of the U.S. Constitution --- the initial draft version was authored by James Madison]
[Amendments 1-27, which are part of the Constitution, can be found under the "Programs" menu on this web page.]
[Capitalized words, in 1787, apparently were used to show emphasis]
[A woman President was, in 1787, totally unexpected as can be seen by the consistent use of "he" in referencing the President.]
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.
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: The House of Representatives
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second (2nd) 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.
No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty-five (25) Years and been seven (7) 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.
[Note 1: Translation --- To be a Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, a male or female must be at least 25 years old, must have been a U.S. citizen for at least 7 years AND must be an inhabitant of that State which elected him/her.]
[Note 2: Being born in the U.S. is NOT a requirement for a U.S House Representative]
[Note 3: See Amendment 14 - "Civil Rights", Sections 2 & 3 for further clarifications of qualifications]
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 be 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 (3/5) of all other Persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three (3) Years after the first (1st) meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten (10) Years, in such manner as they shall by Law direct.
[Note 1: This is the Constitutional basis for holding a Census every 10 years to count everyone living in the U.S.]
[Note 2: "Three-fifths of all other persons" meant African slaves --- rectified by Amendment 13: "Abolition of Slavery".]
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.
[Obsolete --- The # of House Representatives was capped at 435 Representatives by the "Permanent Apportionment Act" --- passed in 1929. They are apportioned by the State's population as a percentage of the United States population.]
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies. The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole power of Impeachment.
Section 3: The Senate
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two (2) Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six (6) Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
[Note 1: Superseded by Amendment 17 - "Senatorial elections"]
[Note 2: 15% of U.S. population elect 52% of the members of the U.S. Senate; 85% of U.S. population live in larger States. 2 Senators per State. Our Founders never dreamt so many citizens would live in so few States, making those States large; leaving a greater number of States that are less populated. The Senate represents the States --- the House represents the people.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three (3) Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first (1st) Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second (2nd) Year, of the second (2nd) Class at the Expiration of the fourth (4th) Year, and of the third (3rd) Class at the Expiration of the sixth (6th) Year, so that one third (1/3) may be chosen every second (2nd) 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.
[Note: The 3 Classes are already defined. The part on Vacancies refers to the Executive thereof, meaning the Governor of former Senator's State. Every 2 years, a 1/3 of the Senators in the U.S. Senate are up for election
No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained the Age of thirty (30) Years, and have been nine (9) 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.
[Note 1: Translation --- To be a Senator in the U.S. Senate, a male or female must be at least 30 years old, must have been a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years AND must be an inhabitant of that State which elected him/her.]
[Note 2: Being born in the U.S. is NOT a requirement for a U.S. Senator.]
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
[Note: Used to break a Tie vote in the Senate.]
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.
[Note: The President Pro tempore presently is the oldest member of the majority party in the U.S. Senate. S/he sits in for the Vice President in either 1) his/her absence, or 2) when s/he shall exercise the Office of President.]
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 (2/3) of the Members present.
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: Elections
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.
[Note 1: The "Manner" of "holding Elections for Senators and Representatives" could be used by Congress to standardize Laws, for all the several States]
[Note 2: The "Times" for "holding Elections for Senators and Representatives" could be used by Congress to standardize Laws, for all the several States.]
The Congress shall assemble at least once every Year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day. [This is meaningless today.]
Section 5: Powers and Duties of Congress
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. [Note: This allows each entity in Congress, but more so the House of Representatives, than the Senate, to judge the election of any Representative whose election was overturned by any State Legislature using their own State laws.]
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member. [Note: this is how "Rules of the Senate” and the "Rules of the House” were authorized and thus created. The resulting rules are NOT part the U.S. Constitution --- the Founders did not write any rules or suggest what those rules should be.]
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgement require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the desire of one-fifth of those Present, be entered in the Journal.
Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without 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: Rights and Disabilities of Members
The Senators and Representatives shall receive Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
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 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.
[Note: The Foreign Emoluments Clause is a provision in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, that prohibits the federal government from granting titles of nobility and restricts members of the federal government from receiving gifts, emoluments, offices or titles from foreign states and monarchies without the consent of the United States Congress.]
[Also known as the Titles of Nobility Clause, it was designed to shield the federal officeholders of the United States against so-called "corrupting foreign influences." The clause is reinforced by the corresponding prohibition on state titles of nobility in Article I, Section 10, and more generally by the Republican Guarantee Clause in Article IV, Section 4.]
Section 7: Legislative Process
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. 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 (2/3) 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 (2/3) of that House, it shall become a Law. [Note: This is a way Congress can override a Presidential Veto].
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 (10) 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.
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. [Note: This is a way Congress may override a Presidential veto.]
Section 8: Powers of Congress
The Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) 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 States;
- To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
- To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
- To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
- To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
[Note: On August 29, 1862 --- The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) was founded as a government agency within the United States Department of the Treasury to design and produce a variety of security products for the United States government, most notably is that the BEP prints Federal Reserve Notes (paper money) for the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bankThe U.S. Federal Reserve controls the money supply in the United States, and while it doesn't actually print currency bills itself, it does determine how many bills are printed by the Treasury Department each year.]
- To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current coin of the United States;
- To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
- 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;
- To constitute Tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
[Note: There is one Supreme Court:
· at the 2nd Level of inferior courts (tribunals) are the 12 regional Appeals Courts aka Court of Appeals aka Circuit Courts, and
· at the 3rd Level of inferior courts (tribunals) are the 94 District Courts.]
- To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Laws of Nations;
- To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
- To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two (2) Years;
- To provide and maintain a Navy;
- To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
- To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
- 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;
- 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
- 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: Powers Denied Congress
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 (1808), but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollar per person. [Note: Obsolete]
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.
[Note 1: HABEUS CORPUS --- legal definition --- a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person's release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention.]
[Note 2: Writ - a form of written command in the name of a court -or- other legal authority, to act, abstain from acting, in some way.]
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
[Note 1: A bill of attainder – sometimes called an act or writ of attainder or an ex-post facto law – is an act of a government’s legislature that declares a person or group of persons guilty of a crime and prescribing their punishment without the benefit of a trial or judicial hearing. The practical effect of a bill of attainder is to deny accused person’s civil rights and liberties.]
[Note 2: Ex Post Facto --- after the fact]
No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
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.
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.
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: Powers Denied to the States
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant letters of Marque or Reprisal; coin money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a tender in Payment of Debt; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
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 Control of the Congress.
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.
[Note 1: Had James Madison foreseen the possibility that U.S. Oligarchs would come to view the new U.S. Constitution as restricting their ability obtain the results they want, that they could decide to focus on changing voting rights laws that favored them. Madison then could have proposed a "No State shall, without the consent of Congress" section, into the Constitution to protect all aspects of voting rights for every American citizen.]
[Note 2: In 1787, there was no Vote-By-Mail; only white male property owners an/or wealthy persons could vote; there was no drive-by voting as there were no cars, not to mention, no paved roads; there were no Parties to invent gerrymandering. The United States has advanced.]
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 (4) Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:
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.
The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by ballot for two (2) 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 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 the 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 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 (5) 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 (2/3) 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 (2) or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot for Vice President.
[Note: This section is altered by Amendment 12 - "Presidential Elections]
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.
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 (35) Years, and been fourteen (14) Years a Resident within the United States.
In Case of Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, 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.
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.
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 the President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
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 principle 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.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds (2/3) 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.
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.
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, 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.
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 Misdemeanors.
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 Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
[Note 1: What has been established to date is the following:
· There are 3 levels of Federal courts (a total of 108 courts):
o 1st Level - 13 Circuit Courts (1st Level of Appeal courts)
o 2nd Level - 94 District Courts (Trial courts)
o 3rd & Final Level - the Supreme Court]
[Note 2: While one Supreme Court is specified in the Constitution, the number of Justices on the Supreme Court was not specified in the constitution. There have been 9 Supreme Court Justices for a long time. It is arbitrary.]
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, and 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 (2) or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State, 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.
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.
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.
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 (2) Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
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 attained.
[Note 1: Attainder: In English criminal law, attainder was the metaphorical "stain" or "corruption of blood" which arose from being condemned for a serious capital crime. It entailed losing not only one's life, property, and hereditary titles, but typically also the right to pass them on to one's heirs. Both men and women condemned of capital crimes could be attained.]
[Note 2: Legal Definition of "corruption of blood" --- the effect of an attainder which bars a person from inheriting, retaining, or transmitting any estate, rank, or title.]
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.
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
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.
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.
New States may be added 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 (2) or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.
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.
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.
The Congress, whenever two thirds (2/3) of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds (2/3) 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 (3/4) of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths (3/4) 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 (1808) shall in any Manner affect the first (1st) & fourth (4th) Clauses in the Ninth (9th) Section of the first (1st) Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
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.
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.
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 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.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine (9) States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
[Note: This is obsolete.]
Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the seventeenth (17th) day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven (1787) and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth (12th) in witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names --- followed by all the signatures of the Representatives of the original 13 States [most notably James Madison of Virginia, Alexander Hamilton of New York and Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania; and also notably the absence of George Washington of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia and John Adams of Massachusetts.]