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The United States of America

Is a Democratic Republic - where the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.

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IN GOD WE TRUST


 

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                      AMENDMENTS 
                      TO THE CONSTITUTION 
                             OF THE 
                    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 
 
                          Amendment I.* 
 
*The first ten Amendments (Bill of Rights) were ratified effective 
December 15, 1791.
 
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. 
 
  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. 
 
  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. 
 
  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. 
 
  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 offense 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. 
 
  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 defence. 
 
                         Amendment VII. 
 
  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 reexamined in any Court 
of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. 
 
                         Amendment VIII. 
 
  Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, 
nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. 
 
                         Amendment IX. 
 
  The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be 
construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. 
 
 
                         Amendment X. 
 
  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. 
 
                         Amendment XI.* 
 
*The Eleventh Amendment was ratified February 7,  1795.
 
  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.  
 
                         Amendment XII.* 
 
*The Twelfth Amendment was ratified June 15, 1804.
 
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 PA 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. 
 
*Superseded by section 3 of the Twentieth Amendment. 
                                 
 
                          Amendment XIII.** 
 
**The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified December 6, 1865. 
 
  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 this article by 
appropriate legislation. 
 
                           Amendment XIV.*** 
 
***The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified July 9, 1868. 
 
  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. 
 
                             Amendment XV.* 
 
  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. 
 
                             Amendment XVI.** 
 
  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. 
 
                            Amendment XVII.*** 
 
  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 legislatures. 
 
  *The Fifteenth Amendment was ratified February 3, 1870. 
 **The Sixteenth Amendment was ratified February 3, 1913. 
***The Seventeenth Amendment was ratified April 8, 1913. 
 
 
  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. 
 
                           Amendment XVIII.* 
 
  [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 here of to the States by the 
Congress.] 
 
*The Eighteenth Amendment was ratified January 16, 1914. It was 
repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment, December 5, 1933. 
 
                             Amendment XIX.* 
 
  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 
sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate 
legislation. 
 
                             Amendment XX.** 
 
  Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end 
at noon on 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. 
 
 
*The Nineteenth Amendment was ratified August 18, 1920. 
 
The Twentieth Amendment was ratified January 23, 1933. 
 
 
  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. 
 
                             Amendment XXI.* 
 
  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. This 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.
 
 *The Twenty-First Amendment was ratified December 5, 1933. 
 
                             Amendment XXII* 
 
  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 threefourths of the several States within seven years from the date 
of its submission to the States by the Congress. 
 
                            Amendment XXIII.** 
 
  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 
 *The Twenty-Second Amendment was ratified February 27, 1951.
**The Twenty-Third Amendment was ratified March 29, 1961. 
 
  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.
 
                            Amendment XXIV.* 
 
  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. 
 
                             Amendment XXV.** 
 
  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. 
 
*The Twenty-Fourth Amendment was ratified January 23, 1964. 
 
**The Twenty-Fifth Amendment was ratified February 10, 1967. 
 
 
  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. 
 
                            Amendment XXVI* 
 
  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.
 
                           Amendment XXVII** 
 
  No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators 
and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of 
Representatives shall have intervened. 

 

 

 

 

Articles of Confederation

 (The first Constitution drafted and ratified by the 13 colonies)
1st President of the Continental Congress, Samuel Huntington

Passed by Congress Nov. 15, 1777 -  Ratified by the States March 1, 1781

The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution were established by
many of the same people, the two documents are very different. The
original five-page Articles contained thirteen articles, a conclusion,
and a signatory section.

The following list contains short summaries of each of the thirteen articles.To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting.
          
    Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

                    I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be "The United States of America".

                    II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

                    III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.

                    IV. The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions, and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that such restrictions shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any State, to any other State, of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any State, on the property of the United States, or either of them.
          If any person guilty of, or charged with, treason, felony, or other high misdemeanor in any State, shall flee from justice, and be found in any of the United States, he shall, upon demand of the Governor or executive power of the State from which he fled, be delivered up and removed to the State having jurisdiction of his offense.
          Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these States to the records, acts, and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every other State.

                    V. For the most convenient management of the general interests of the United States, delegates shall be annually appointed in such manner as the legislatures of each State shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday in November, in every year, with a power reserved to each State to recall its delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead for the remainder of the year.
          No State shall be represented in Congress by less than two, nor more than seven members; and no person shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three years in any term of six years; nor shall any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding any office under the United States, for which he, or another for his benefit, receives any salary, fees or emolument of any kind.
          Each State shall maintain its own delegates in a meeting of the States, and while they act as members of the committee of the States.
          In determining questions in the United States in Congress assembled, each State shall have one vote.
          Freedom of speech and debate in Congress shall not be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Congress, and the members of Congress shall be protected in their persons from arrests or imprisonments, during the time of their going to and from, and attendance on Congress, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace.

                    VI. No State, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, shall send any embassy to, or receive any embassy from, or enter into any conference, agreement, alliance or treaty with any King, Prince or State; nor shall any person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States, or any of them, accept any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any King, Prince or foreign State; nor shall the United States in Congress assembled, or any of them, grant any title of nobility.
          No two or more States shall enter into any treaty, confederation or alliance whatever between them, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to be entered into, and how long it shall continue.
          No State shall lay any imposts or duties, which may interfere with any stipulations in treaties, entered into by the United States in Congress assembled, with any King, Prince or State, in pursuance of any treaties already proposed by Congress, to the courts of France and Spain.
          No vessel of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, for the defense of such State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgment of the United States in Congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defense of such State; but every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of filed pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.
          No State shall engage in any war without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be actually invaded by enemies, or shall have received certain advice of a resolution being formed by some nation of Indians to invade such State, and the danger is so imminent as not to admit of a delay till the United States in Congress assembled can be consulted; nor shall any State grant commissions to any ships or vessels of war, nor letters of marque or reprisal, except it be after a declaration of war by the United States in Congress assembled, and then only against the Kingdom or State and the subjects thereof, against which war has been so declared, and under such regulations as shall be established by the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be infested by pirates, in which case vessels of war may be fitted out for that occasion, and kept so long as the danger shall continue, or until the United States in Congress assembled shall determine otherwise.

                    VII. When land forces are raised by any State for the common defense, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by the legislature of each State respectively, by whom such forces shall be raised, or in such manner as such State shall direct, and all vacancies shall be filled up by the State which first made the appointment.

                    VIII. All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several States in proportion to the value of all land within each State, granted or surveyed for any person, as such land and the buildings and improvements thereon shall be estimated according to such mode as the United States in Congress assembled, shall from time to time direct and appoint.
          The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the several States within the time agreed upon by the United States in Congress assembled.

                    IX. The United States in Congress assembled, shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war, except in the cases mentioned in the sixth article -- of sending and receiving ambassadors -- entering into treaties and alliances, provided that no treaty of commerce shall be made whereby the legislative power of the respective States shall be restrained from imposing such imposts and duties on foreigners, as their own people are subjected to, or from prohibiting the exportation or importation of any species of goods or commodities whatsoever -- of establishing rules for deciding in all cases, what captures on land or water shall be legal, and in what manner prizes taken by land or naval forces in the service of the United States shall be divided or appropriated -- of granting letters of marquee and reprisal in times of peace -- appointing courts for the trial of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas and establishing courts for receiving and determining finally appeals in all cases of captures, provided that no member of Congress shall be appointed a judge of any of the said courts.
          The United States in Congress assembled shall also be the last resort on appeal in all disputes and differences now subsisting or that hereafter may arise between two or more States concerning boundary, jurisdiction or any other causes whatever; which authority shall always be exercised in the manner following. Whenever the legislative or executive authority or lawful agent of any State in controversy with another shall present a petition to Congress stating the matter in question and praying for a hearing, notice thereof shall be given by order of Congress to the legislative or executive authority of the other State in controversy, and a day assigned for the appearance of the parties by their lawful agents, who shall then be directed to appoint by joint consent, commissioners or judges to constitute a court for hearing and determining the matter in question: but if they cannot agree, Congress shall name three persons out of each of the United States, and from the list of such persons each party shall alternately strike out one, the petitioners beginning, until the number shall be reduced to thirteen; and from that number not less than seven, nor more than nine names as Congress shall direct, shall in the presence of Congress be drawn out by lot, and the persons whose names shall be so drawn or any five of them, shall be commissioners or judges, to hear and finally determine the controversy, so always as a major part of the judges who shall hear the cause shall agree in the determination: and if either party shall neglect to attend at the day appointed, without showing reasons, which Congress shall judge sufficient, or being present shall refuse to strike, the Congress shall proceed to nominate three persons out of each State, and the secretary of Congress shall strike in behalf of such party absent or refusing; and the judgment and sentence of the court to be appointed, in the manner before prescribed, shall be final and conclusive; and if any of the parties shall refuse to submit to the authority of such court, or to appear or defend their claim or cause, the court shall nevertheless proceed to pronounce sentence, or judgment, which shall in like manner be final and decisive, the judgment or sentence and other proceedings being in either case transmitted to Congress, and lodged among the acts of Congress for the security of the parties concerned: provided that every commissioner, before he sits in judgment, shall take an oath to be administered by one of the judges of the supreme or superior court of the State, where the cause shall be tried, 'well and truly to hear and determine the matter in question, according to the best of his judgment, without favor, affection or hope of reward': provided also, that no State shall be deprived of territory for the benefit of the United States.
          All controversies concerning the private right of soil claimed under different grants of two or more States, whose jurisdictions as they may respect such lands, and the States which passed such grants are adjusted, the said grants or either of them being at the same time claimed to have originated antecedent to such settlement of jurisdiction, shall on the petition of either party to the Congress of the United States, be finally determined as near as may be in the same manner as is before prescribed for deciding disputes respecting territorial jurisdiction between different States.
          The United States in Congress assembled shall also have the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective States -- fixing the standards of weights and measures throughout the United States -- regulating the trade and managing all affairs with the Indians, not members of any of the States, provided that the legislative right of any State within its own limits be not infringed or violated -- establishing or regulating post offices from one State to another, throughout all the United States, and exacting such postage on the papers passing through the same as may be requisite to defray the expenses of the said office -- appointing all officers of the land forces, in the service of the United States, excepting regimental officers -- appointing all the officers of the naval forces, and commissioning all officers whatever in the service of the United States -- making rules for the government and regulation of the said land and naval forces, and directing their operations.
          The United States in Congress assembled shall have authority to appoint a committee, to sit in the recess of Congress, to be denominated 'A Committee of the States', and to consist of one delegate from each State; and to appoint such other committees and civil officers as may be necessary for managing the general affairs of the United States under their direction

              -- to appoint one of their members to preside, provided that no person be allowed to serve in the office of president more than one year in any term of three years; to ascertain the necessary sums of money to be raised for the service of the United States, and to appropriate and apply the same for defraying the public expenses -- to borrow money, or emit bills on the credit of the United States, transmitting every half-year to the respective States an account of the sums of money so borrowed or emitted
              -- to build and equip a navy -- to agree upon the number of land forces, and to make requisitions from each State for its quota, in proportion to the number of white inhabitants in such State; which requisition shall be binding, and thereupon the legislature of each State shall appoint the regimental officers, raise the men and cloth, arm and equip them in a solid-like manner, at the expense of the United States; and the officers and men so clothed, armed and equipped shall march to the place appointed, and within the time agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled. But if the United States in Congress assembled shall, on consideration of circumstances judge proper that any State should not raise men, or should raise a smaller number of men than the quota thereof, such extra number shall be raised, officered, clothed, armed and equipped in the same manner as the quota of each State, unless the legislature of such State shall judge that such extra number cannot be safely spread out in the same, in which case they shall raise, officer, cloath, arm and equip as many of such extra number as they judge can be safely spared. And the officers and men so clothed, armed, and equipped, shall march to the place appointed, and within the time agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled.

          The United States in Congress assembled shall never engage in a war, nor grant letters of marquee or reprisal in time of peace, nor enter into any treaties or alliances, nor coin money, nor regulate the value thereof, nor ascertain the sums and expenses necessary for the defense and welfare of the United States, or any of them, nor emit bills, nor borrow money on the credit of the United States, nor appropriate money, nor agree upon the number of vessels of war, to be built or purchased, or the number of land or sea forces to be raised, nor appoint a commander in chief of the army or navy, unless nine States assent to the same: nor shall a question on any other point, except for adjourning from day to day be determined, unless by the votes of the majority of the United States in Congress assembled.
          The Congress of the United States shall have power to adjourn to any time within the year, and to any place within the United States, so that no period of adjournment be for a longer duration than the space of six months, and shall publish the journal of their proceedings monthly, except such parts thereof relating to treaties, alliances or military operations, as in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the delegates of each State on any question shall be entered on the journal, when it is desired by any delegates of a State, or any of them, at his or their request shall be furnished with a transcript of the said journal, except such parts as are above excepted, to lay before the legislatures of the several States.

                    X. The Committee of the States, or any nine of them, shall be authorized to execute, in the recess of Congress, such of the powers of Congress as the United States in Congress assembled, by the consent of the nine States, shall from time to time think expedient to vest them with; provided that no power be delegated to the said Committee, for the exercise of which, by the Articles of Confederation, the voice of nine States in the Congress of the United States assembled be requisite.

                    XI. Canada acceding to this confederation, and adjoining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantages of this Union; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine States.

                    XII. All bills of credit emitted, monies borrowed, and debts contracted by, or under the authority of Congress, before the assembling of the United States, in pursuance of the present confederation, shall be deemed and considered as a charge against the United States, for payment and satisfaction whereof the said United States, and the public faith are hereby solemnly pledged.

                    XIII. Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.
          And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained: And we do further solemnly plight and engage the faith of our respective constituents, that they shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions, which by the said Confederation are submitted to them. And that the Articles thereof shall be inviolably observed by the States we respectively represent, and that the Union shall be perpetual.

              In Witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands in Congress. Done at Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania the ninth day of July in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-Eight, and in the Third Year of the independence of America.

On the part & behalf of the State of New Hampshire:
JOSIAH BARTLETT
JOHN WENTWORTH JUNR.
August 8th 1778

On the part and behalf of The State of Massachusetts Bay
JOHN HANCOCK
SAMUEL ADAMS
ELBRIDGE GERRY
FRANCIS DANA
JAMES LOVELL
SAMUEL HOLTEN

On the part and behalf of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
WILLIAM ELLERY
HENRY MARCHANT
JOHN COLLINS

On the part and behalf of the State of Connecticut
ROGER SHERMAN
SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
OLIVER WOLCOTT
TITUS HOSMER ANDREW ADAMS

On the Part and Behalf of the State of New York
JAMES DUANE
FRANCIS LEWIS
WM DUER
GOUV MORRIS

On the Part and in Behalf of the State of New Jersey, November 26, 1778.
JNO WITHERSPOON
NATHANIEL SCUDDER

On the part and behalf of the State of Pennsylvania
ROBT MORRIS
DANIEL ROBERDEAU
JOHN BAYARD SMITH.
WILLIAM CLINGAN
JOSEPH REED
22nd July 1778

On the part & behalf of the State of Delaware
THO McKEAN
February 12, 1779
JOHN DICKINSON
May 5th 1779
NICHOLAS VAN DYKE,

On the part and behalf of the State of Maryland
JOHN HANSON
March 1 1781
DANIEL CARROLL do

On the Part and Behalf of the State of Virginia
RICHARD HENRY LEE
JOHN BANISTER
THOMAS ADAMS
JNo HARVIE
FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT LEE

On the part and Behalf of the State of No Carolina
JOHN PENN
July 21st 1778
CORNs HARNETT
JNo WILLIAMS

On the part & behalf of the State of South Carolina
HENRY LAURENS
WILLIAM HENRY DRAYTON
JNo MATHEWS
RICHD HUTSON
THOs HEYWARD Junr
 

On the part & behalf of the State of Georgia JNo WALTON
24th July 1778
EDWD TELFAIR
EDWD LANGWORTHY


United States of America - Bill of Rights


The new United States of America adopted the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution,The conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added.

 

Article the first [Not Ratified]


After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.

Article the second [Amendment XXVII - Ratified 1992]


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

Article the third [Amendment I]


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.

Article the fourth [Amendment II]


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.*

Article the fifth [Amendment III]


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.

Article the sixth [Amendment IV]


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.

Article the seventh [Amendment V]


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.

Article the eighth [Amendment VI]


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 defence.

Article the ninth [Amendment VII]


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.

Article the tenth [Amendment VIII]


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

Article the eleventh [Amendment IX]


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

Article the twelfth [Amendment X]


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.

 

Notes:

*In the Congressional Statutes at Large, Vol. 1, Page 97-  As 'Originally' drafted and "Adopted"
        "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".

 

 


The legislative branch of our government is represented by Congress, which includes two parts: the House of Representatives, whose 435 members are elected according to the population of each state, and the Senate, which consists of two members from each state. Congress meets in Washington, DC, and both branches study bills which will become future laws, and problems which affect our nation. The House of Representatives includes the Speaker of the House (the head of the majority party) who becomes president if both the president and vice-president die or become incapacitated. Representatives are elected for two year terms.

In the senate, members are elected for terms of six years. The senators help create and pass laws, and also interview candidates that the president elects for certain offices (such as Supreme Court justices). It can also ratify treaties the president makes (with a 2/3 majority).

Introducing and passing legislation is an important function of both the House and the senate. New proposals for laws (called bills before they become law) are assigned numbers, are studied and reported on by committees, and eventually based on the committee recommendations, are voted on. Finally, if passed, the president signs them into law.



The History of Congress

One of the challenges facing the young United States in its first years was the fact that while the colonies had become independent states, they each had a thirteen governments. The original Articles of Confederation did not provide for a strong enough central government to bring cohesion or resolve disputes between states. war.

In 1787, 55 representatives from every state except Georgia met at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and created the Constitution of the United States. After months of debate, Article I of the new Constitution was written and established the legislative, or law-making branch of the central government. It created a Congress that was bicameral (had two houses): the House of Representatives and the Senate.

This division of the legislature served to provide checks and balances in this branch of the government. It was also a compromise on how representation in the legislation would be determined, since larger, more populous states wanted representation to be determined by the state's population, while smaller states wanted equal representation since they feared that the larger states would dominate. With the two houses of Congress, one house (the House of Representatives) has representation that is based on a state's population, while the other house (the Senate) has all states equally represented with two senators.

Members of the House of Representatives were always elected by popular vote, but until 1913, Senators were chosen by state legislatures. This changed when the 17th amendment passed which determined that senators would be chosen by popular vote.

Each year, the entire Congress holds an annual meeting on January 3 (which was mandated when the 20th amendment was passed in 1933. The President can also call an extra session of Congress, or of either house.

The House of Representatives: Its Role in Government

The House of Representatives is one of two houses in Congress, the legislative body of our nation. The 435 members of the House have important duties, including writing, debating, studying, and passing bills by standing committees which eventually become laws guiding our nation. These bills must be signed by the President within ten days of being passed by Congress to become law. If the president chooses to veto a law, then it can only become law if 2/3 of the majority in both houses of Congress approve its passage.

In addition to creating laws, the House of Representatives has special committees which study issues that affect our nation. Some of its members belong to joint committees (with members from the Senate as well) to work on important issues. Many of these committees have leaders known as chairs who are elected based on experience and seniority.

Both the House and the Senate have an equal voice in our legislature. But only the House can create revenue bills (laws which create federal taxes). And only the House of Representatives can impeach federal officials, including the President (although the Senate must be the one to conduct the trials). This allows a balance between Congress and the other branches of government, including the executive and judicial branches, since Congress can order audits of agencies and hold hearing to hear the grievances of citizens as part of its role known as oversight.

The political party with the greatest number of representatives in the House is known as the majority party, while the other party is known as the minority party. The head of the majority party in the House is known as the speaker of the House, and is elected by other members. If both the president and the vice president die or become incapacitated (or resign), then the speaker of the House become president. He also appoints the members of all temporary committees in the House of Representatives.

Each house of Congress meets separately in Washington, DC: the Senate meets in one place, and the House of Representatives in another. But if there is an important message from the president or a visiting foreign leader, the two houses come together for a special joint session.

Almost all of the sessions of Congress, including the House of Representatives, are a matter of public record and are published in the Congressional Record.

The Senate: Its Role in Government

Two senators from each state are elected to the fifty seats in the Senate. The Senate is one of the two houses of Congress, and one of its most important functions is creating and passing legislation for our nation.

The Senate meets in a separate place from the House of Representatives, but on important occasions may meet with the House in a joint session.

While the president can negotiate a treaty with another nation, it does not take effect until the Senate approves the treaty by a two thirds majority vote. And while the President is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, only Congress can declare war.

This allows for a system of checks and balances between the power of the executive branch and the legislative branch, and prevents one or the other from becoming too powerful. The Supreme Court is also a check on the legislative power of Congress, since it can declare a law unconstitutional if it violates the Constitution. But the Senate must approve official appointees that the President makes to important government positions (such as to his Cabinet, the Supreme Court, or high ranking military positions). Special Senate committees investigate the candidate. The committees then make recommendations on whether the candidate should be approved, and the Senate votes.

The Senate has special committees set up to study whether laws should be passed, to propose new laws, and to hear grievances and concerns. The political party with the most representatives in the Senate is known as the majority party; the other party is known as the minority party. Members of the majority party are chosen to head committees in the Senate, and members of the Senate elect a majority leader and a minority leader. These leaders help to schedule when bills (proposed legislation) will be discussed or studied. While the Constitution states that the vice president has formal control of the Senate, and is known as the president of the Senate, in reality it is only a formal title, and he only comes on important occasions or to cast a tie-breaking vote. In his absence, a president pro tempore is elected by the Senate who fulfills this role.

The Senate meets yearly in a joint Congressional meeting with the House of Representatives on January 3rd of each year.

A record of most meetings of the Senate is open to public view, and is published in the Congressional Record.

How Representatives and Senators are Elected

The House of Representatives and the Senate represent a compromise among the early leaders of our nation. States with larger populations wanted representation in the central government according to population, while states with smaller populations, fearing being dominated by the larger states, wanted equal representation.

Both options were adopted in the two different houses of Congress. It was decided that members of the House of Representatives would be elected every two years according to a state's population. This election is held during odd-numbered years. This population is determined by a census held every ten years. Each state is entitled to at least one representative, as is the case with Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. If a state has only one representative, he or she is known as a Representative at large and is elected by the whole state.

States with larger populations are divided into congressional districts. Larger states such as California may have many representatives (it has 52, the larges number for one state). And although they cannot vote, there is a resident commissioner from Puerto Rico and a delegate from the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. At this time, the number of members of the House of Representatives is limited by law to 435, to keep it from becoming too large.

Senators are elected to the Senate once every six years. Only 1/3 of the Senators may run for re-election in any year, to prevent a complete change in its members atone time. Until 1913, they were chosen by the state legislature as a representative of the state government, but when the 17th amendment passed, they were required to be voted by popular vote. Each state can have two senators to represent the wishes of their electorate (the people voting for the senate) in the Senate, which ensures equal representation for all states in this part of Congress.

Terms of Service for Representatives and Senators

Each state in the United States has at least one representative in the House of Representatives; many have more, and the number is determined by the population of the state they are elected in. This population is measured every ten years in a national census. A representative is elected to office for two years, and all representatives must choose whether to run for re-election every two years.

To be eligible for election, a representative must be at least 25 years old by the time the representative takes up his or her seat in the House. He or she must be a citizen of the United States for at least seven years in a row, and must be a resident of the state in which he or she is running for election. And while the Constitution does not require that a representative live in the district that he or she represents, in practice this is always the case.

Each state in the nation is represented by two senators who are elected for a term of six years. Every two years, on a rotating basis, the terms of one third of the Senators expires, and they must run for re-election (the rotation prevents a complete change in the Senate body).

To be elected, a Senator must be at least 30 years old by the time he or she takes up a seat in the Senate. He or she must have been a citizen of the United States for at least nine years in a row, and must be a resident of the state in which he or she is elected.

How a Law is Passed: From Conception to the Floor

Preparing and passing legislation (laws) is one of the more important duties of Congress. Here is a step-by-step discussion of how a bill is passed into law.

(1) Legislation in introduced: Anyone can propose a bill, but only a member of Congress can sponsor a bill. In the House of Representatives, the proposed legislation is handed to the clerk of the House, or placed in the hopper (a special box on the clerk's desk). In the Senate, the member proposing the legislation must gain recognition by the presiding officer or announce the proposed bill during the morning hour.

(2) The new bill (proposed legislation) is assigned a number that identifies it. It is labeled with the name of the sponsor or cosponsors (person or persons who proposed it), and copies are made and sent to committees.

(3) The committee in the House or Senate reviews the bill when it comes up on their calendar. The bill may be divided up into different parts that are sent to different committees or subcommittees, where hearing may be held, studies made, and findings re finally reported on to the committee. After this, a vote is made (order to be reported) by the committee. If the committee does not review the bill, it is effectively killed at this point.


(4) After the vote, the committee may make revisions or amendments to the bill. If the bill is changed quite a bit by the amendments, the committee can ask that the bill be reintroduced again, including the changes.

(5) After the committee votes on the bill, they then prepare a document that explains why they favor passage of the bill. If a committee member in the minority opposes the bill, he or she can write a dissenting opinion.

(6) The bill is the placed on a calendar, where it will go before the floor. In the House of Representatives, the bill first goes to the Rules committee (unless they are bypassed by a special vote or procedure) who decides which rules will govern how the bill will be considered (time limits on the debate over the bill, for example, or forbidding the introduction of amendments).

(7) The bill then goes onto the House calendar (House of Representatives) or the Legislative calendar (Senate) to be discussed. The Speaker of the House and the majority leader decide when the bill will go to the floor in the House; a majority vote in the Senate can bring any bill to the floor. At this point, the bill is debated by the house of Congress it was introduced in. Supporters of the bill and detractors are both given equal time to discuss the bill. In the House of Representatives, the amount of time the bill can be debated is limited by the rules committee, but in the Senate, the debate is unlimited unless cloture is invoked by a vote of 60 members. And in the Senate, some bills are defeated by "filibuster" or using up hours of debate time which effectively "kill" the bill unless cloture is voted.

(8) Finally, the bill is voted on by the House (which needs at least 218 members, or a quorum to vote) or the Senate. If the bill is passed, it is then sent to the other house of Congress. If either the House or the Senate do not pass the bill, then it dies. If both pass the bill, then it is sent to the President for signing. If the bill is changed a lot before passage in either the House or the Senate, then it is given to a Conference Committee. The conference committee is composed of members from both houses of Congress who work together to resolve differences. Once a compromise is reached, the bill is reintroduced to both houses and voted on.

(9) The President must sign the bill within ten days for it to become law. If the President vetoes the bill, it is sent back to Congress with the reasons why it wasn't signed. Both houses of congress can override the veto by a 2/3 majority vote.

(10) Once it is signed by the President, or the veto is overridden, then the bill becomes a law.



Constitution of the United States of America

 

The Constitution of the United States comprises the primary law of the U.S. Federal Government. It also describes the three chief branches of the Federal Government and their jurisdictions. In addition, it lays out the basic rights of citizens of the United States. The Constitution of the United States is the oldest Federal constitution in existence and was framed by a convention of delegates from twelve of the thirteen original states in Philadelphia in May 1787. The Constitution is the landmark legal document of the United States.

 

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 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.


Written in 1787, ratified in 1788, and in operation since 1789, the United States Constitution is the world’s longest surviving written charter of government.  Its first three words – “We The People” affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens.  The supremacy of the people through their elected representatives is recognized in Article I, which creates a Congress consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The positioning of Congress at the beginning of the Constitution reaffirms its status as the “First Branch” of the federal government.

The Constitution assigned to Congress responsibility for organizing the executive and judicial branches, raising revenue, declaring war, and making all laws necessary for executing these powers.  The president is permitted to veto specific legislative acts, but Congress has the authority to override presidential vetoes by two-thirds majorities of both houses.  The Constitution also provides that the Senate advise and consent on key executive and judicial appointments and on the ratification of treaties.


 

                                Article. I.

  Section. 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a

Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House

of Representatives.

  Section. 2. 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.

  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.

  [Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the

several States which maybe included within this Union, according to

their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the

whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a

Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all

other Persons.]* The 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.

 

*Changed by section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment.

 

  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 of the United States shall be composed of two

Senators from each State, [chosen by the Legislature thereof,]* for six

Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

 

*Changed by the Seventeenth Amendment.

 

  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.]*

 

*Changed by the Seventeenth Amendment.

 

  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.

  The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the

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

  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.

  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.

  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. 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.

  The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such

Meeting shall be [on the first Monday in December,]* unless they shall

by Law appoint a different Day.

 

*Changed by section 2 of the Twentieth Amendment.

 

  Section. 5. 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.

  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.

  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.

  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. 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. 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 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. 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 becomes 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.

  Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the

Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a

question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the

United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved

by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of

the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and

Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

  Section. 8. The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes,

Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the

common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all

Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United

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;

  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; 

  To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas,

and Offenses against the Law 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 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 an Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State

in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines,

Arsenals, dockYards and other needful Buildings;--And

  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. The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of

the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be

prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight

hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such

Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person. 

  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.

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

  No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in

Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to

be taken.* 

 

*See Sixteenth Amendment.

 

  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. 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. 

  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.

  No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of

Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any

Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or

engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as

will not admit of delay.

 

                          Article. II.

                                                                                                                     

  Section. 1. 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

  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 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.]*

 

*Changed lay the Twelfth Amendment.

 

  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 Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the

United States.

  [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, 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.]*

 

*Changed by the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.

 

  The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a

Compensation, which shall neither be increased 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 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. 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 Offenses 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 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.

  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 Adjoumment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall

think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers;

he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall

Commission all the Officers of the United States.

  Section. 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of

the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for,

and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and

Misdemeanors.

 

                        Article. III.

 

  Section. 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested

in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may

from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme

and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour,

and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation,

which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

  Section. 2. 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;--]*

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.]*

 

*Changed by the Eleventh Amendment.

 

  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.

  Section. 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in

levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them

Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on

the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession

in open Court.

  The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason,

but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or

Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

 

                          Article. IV.

 

  Section. 1. Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to

the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other

State; And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner

in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and

the Effect thereof.

  Section. 2. 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.]*

 

*Changed by the Thirteenth Amendment.

 

  Section. 3. 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.

  The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful

Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property

belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution

shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United

States, or of any particular State.

  Section. 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in

this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each

of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature,

or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened)

against domestic Violence. 

 

                          Article. V. 

 

  The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it

necessary, shall propose 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 it's equal Suffrage in the Senate.

 

                          Article. VI.

 

  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 of the several States, shall

be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but

no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any

Office or public Trust under the United States.

 

                         Article. VII.

 

  The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be

sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the

States so ratifying the Same.

  done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present

the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand

seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United

States of America the Twelfth In Witness whereof We have hereunto

subscribed our Names,

 

                           G . Washington--Presid .

                          and deputy from Virginia

 

 

                        New Hampshire  John Langdon

                                       Nicholas Gilman

 

                        Massachusetts  Nathaniel Gorham

                                       Rufus King

                      

                          Connecticut  Wm. Saml. Johnson

                                       Roger Sherman

¡

                             New York  Alexander Hamilton

 

                           New Jersey  Wil: Livingston

                                            David Brearley

                                            Wm. Paterson

                                            Jona: Dayton

 

                          Pennsylvania  B Franklin

                                        Thomas Mifflin

                                        Robt Morris

                                        Geo. Clymer

                                        Thos. FitzSimons

                                        Jared Ingersoll

                                        James Wilson

                                        Gouv Morris

 

                              Delaware  Geo: Read

                                        Gunning Bedford jun

                                        John Dickinson

                                        Richard Bassett

                                        Jaco: Broom

 

                              Maryland  James McHenry

                                        Dan of St Thos. Jenifer

                                        Danl Carroll

 

                              Virginia  John Blair--

                                        James Madison Jr.

 

                        North Carolina  Wm. Blount

                                        Richd. Dobbs Spaight

                                        Hu Williamson

 

                        South Carolina  J. Rutledge

                                        Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

                                        Charles Pinckney

                                        Pierce Butler

                                        Georgia William Few

                                        Abr Baldwin

 

                                      Attest William Jackson Secretary

 

                               In Convention Monday

                                September 17th 1787.

 

                                      Present

 

                                    The States of

 

 

New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Mr. Hamilton from New York,

New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North

Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

 

Resolved,

  That the preceeding Constitution be laid before the United States

in Congress assembled, and that it is the Opinion of this Convention,

that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates,

chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the Recommendation

of its Legislature, for their Assent and Ratification; and that each

Convention assenting to, and ratifying the Same, should give Notice

thereof to the United States in Congress assembled. Resolved, That it

is the Opinion of this Convention, that as soon as the Conventions of

nine States shall have ratified this Constitution, the United States

in Congress assembled should fix a Day on which Electors should be

appointed by the States which shall have ratified the same, and a Day

on which the Electors should assemble to vote for the President, and

the Time and Place for commencing Proceedings under this Constitution.

  That after such Publication the Electors should be appointed, and

the Senators and Representatives elected: That the Electors should meet

on the Day fixed for the Election of the President, and should transmit

their Votes certified, signed, sealed and directed, as the Constitution

requires, to the Secretary of the United States in Congress assembled,

that the Senators and Representatives should convene at the Time and

Place assigned; that the Senators should appoint a President of the

Senate, for the sole Purpose of receiving, opening and counting the

Votes for President; and, that after he shall be chosen, the Congress,

together with the President, should, without Delay, proceed to execute

this Constitution.

                               By the unanimous Order of the Convention

 

                                                 Go. WASHINGTON--Presidt.

 

W.  JACKSON Secretary.

 

 

 

Declaration of Independence

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 affect 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 and 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 benefits 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 Legislature 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 complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and 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 attention 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.

e, 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.

 



The Emancipation Proclamation
January 1, 1863

By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

 

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:


"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

 

"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."

 

Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:


Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

 

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

 

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.


And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

 

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.


In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

 

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

 

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.



Gettysburg Address:


Delivered by President Lincoln at the dedication of the Soldiers'
National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on the afternoon of
Thursday, November 19, 1863, during the American Civil War, four and a
half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy
at the decisive Battle of Gettysburg.

-Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation,
or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are
met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a
portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here
gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting
and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate...we can not
consecrate...we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and
dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor
power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember
what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is
for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work
which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is
rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before
us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that
cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we
here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that
this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that
government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not
perish from the earth.-

 

 

Map of the United States of America

 

Map_of_USA_with_state_names.png

 



Commonwealths & Territories of the United States of America

 

·        Territory of American Samoa (A group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand).

·        Territory of Guam (Oceania, island in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines).

·        Territory of the Virgin Islands (The islands are located east of Puerto Rico and north of Haiti in the Caribbean Sea).

·         Commonwealth of Washington, D.C. (Washington, D.C. is neither a state nor territory, but has a government that resembles both). The District of Columbia is under the direct authority of Congress, and was established from territory ceded by the states of Maryland and Virginia. Formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States, founded on July 16, 1790. The City of Washington was originally a separate municipality within the Territory of Columbia until an act of Congress in 1871 effectively merged the City and the Territory into a single entity called the District of Columbia. It is for this reason that the city, while legally named the District of Columbia, is known as Washington, D.C. 

·         Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (A group of islands in the Pacific Ocean located east of the Philippines and south of Japan).

·         Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Caribbean island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican   Republic ) was once a territory.

·         Territories and commonwealths are partially self-governing areas that have not been granted statehood. The indigenous peoples of these areas are citizens of the United States.

·         These areas may have one non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives



OATH OF OFFICE


President

(The Constitution contains an oath of office only for the President).

In accordance with Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution:
 

"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."

 

Congress:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God".
 

At the start of each new Congress, in January of every odd-numbered year, the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate performs a solemn and festive constitutional rite that is as old as the Republic. While the oath-taking dates back to the First Congress in 1789, the current oath is a product of the 1860s, drafted by Civil War-era members of Congress intent on ensnaring traitors.

The Constitution contains an oath of office only for the president. For other officials, including members of Congress, that document specifies only that they "shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this constitution." In 1789, the First Congress reworked this requirement into a simple fourteen-word oath: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States."

For nearly three-quarters of a century, that oath served nicely, although to the modern ear it sounds woefully incomplete. Missing are the soaring references to bearing "true faith and allegiance;" to taking "this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;" and to "well and faithfully" discharging the duties of the office.

The outbreak of the Civil War quickly transformed the routine act of oath-taking into one of enormous significance. In April of 1861, a time of uncertain and shifting loyalties, President Abraham Lincoln ordered all federal civilian employees within the executive branch to take an expanded oath. When Congress convened for a brief emergency session in July, members echoed the president's action by enacting legislation requiring employees to take the expanded oath in support of the Union. This oath is the earliest direct predecessor of the modern oath.

When Congress returned for its regular session in December 1861, members who believed that the Union had as much to fear from northern traitors as southern soldiers again revised the oath, adding a new first section known as the "Ironclad Test Oath." The war-inspired Test Oath, signed into law on July 2, 1862, required "every person elected or appointed to any office ... under the Government of the United States ... excepting the President of the United States" to swear or affirm that they had never previously engaged in criminal or disloyal conduct. Those government employees who failed to take the 1862 Test Oath would not receive a salary; those who swore falsely would be prosecuted for perjury and forever denied federal employment.

The 1862 oath's second section incorporated a more polished and graceful rendering of the hastily drafted 1861oath. Although Congress did not extend coverage of the Ironclad Test Oath to its own members, many took it voluntarily. Angered by those who refused this symbolic act during a wartime crisis, and determined to prevent the eventual return of prewar southern leaders to positions of power in the national government, congressional hard-liners eventually succeeded by 1864 in making the Test Oath mandatory for all members.

The Senate then revised its rules to require that members not only take the Test Oath orally, but also that they "subscribe" to it by signing a printed copy. This condition reflected a wartime practice in which military and civilian authorities required anyone wishing to do business with the federal government to sign a copy of the Test Oath. The current practice of newly sworn senators signing individual pages in an elegantly bound oath book dates from this period.

As tensions cooled during the decade following the Civil War, Congress enacted private legislation permitting particular former Confederates to take only the second section of the 1862 oath. An 1868 public law prescribed this alternative oath for "any person who has participated in the late rebellion, and from whom all legal disabilities arising therefrom have been removed by act of Congress."  Northerners immediately pointed to the new law's unfair double standard that required loyal Unionists to take the Test Oath's harsh first section while permitting ex-Confederates to ignore it. In 1884, a new generation of lawmakers quietly repealed the first section of the Test Oath, leaving intact today's moving affirmation of constitutional allegiance.







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