United States Constitution
The First Public Printing
A Folio broadsheet entitled "New Plan for The
Federal Government" which is a previous unrecorded is most likely the
first public printing of the US Constitution. The broadsheet is dated three
times in the text, September 17th 1787 and marked:
Philadelphia by printer Robert Smith. This rare
printing, by the very nature of its content, is the ultimate testament of a
citizen utilizing the newly won US political freedoms to save his fledgling
business. Smith, by printing the US Constitution on September 17 - 18th and
distributing it as an insert in his regular scheduled The Evening Chronicle
on the 18th. Smith scooped all competitors.
Smith's "New Plan for
the Federal Government" appeared in the Philadelphia streets before the
Constitutional Convention's official Dunlap printing reached President St.
Clair and the Delegates of the United States in Congress Assembled in New York
City on September 20th. Incredibly, the people of Philadelphia knew on the of
evening of the 18th that that foreign born citizens such as the sitting
President of the United States in Congress Assembled being born in Scotland,
who wholeheartedly endorsed and supported the "Revisions of the Articles of
Confederation", were now excluded from serving in new US Presidency
proposed under this new constitution. President St. Clair, as well as the
delegates of The United States in Congress Assembled, to their revelation
received not revisions to the Articles of Confederation but a whole new
constitution on the 20th of September in New York City.
On the evening of September
17th, 1787 the Constitution was signed and the injunction of
secrecy was lifted. The race was on to print new constitution for their eager
subscribers. Five Philadelphia newspapers jointly followed Smith's September
18th Evening lead and the Constitution appeared in their papers on
September 19th. Unfortunately, this constitutional “scoop” wasn't enough to
save Smith's fledgling paper. Smith's Evening Chronicle went out of print in
November 1787 despite taking on a partner in October 1787.
Robert Smith established
"The Evening Chronicle; or, Philadelphia Advertiser" on February 6, 1787.
It was a tri-weekly newspaper of quarto size - 8 inches by 10 inches. With
the issue of May 5, 1787, the title was changed to the "Evening Chronicle."
On August 7, 1787 the paper became a semi-weekly, and the size was changed to
folio - 11 inches by 14 inches. In late October 1787 James Prange was taken
into partnership due to Smith's growing insolvency. The paper continued to do
business under the firm name Robert Smith and James Prange, publishers. We
know for certain that "New Plan for the Federal Government" broadsheet
was printed before the merger as its mark states: Philadelphia; by printer
Robert Smith rather than Philadelphia; by publishers Robert Smith and James
Prange. The last Evening Chronicle issue known to be printed is dated November
7, 1787, vol. 2, no.104 and can be found in the collection of the American
Very little is known about
Robert Smith as he was a publisher, as indicated by Charles R. Hildeburn
author of "Issues of the Press in Pennsylvania 1685 - 1784", and never
a proprietor of a press. This is clearly the reason why Smith and his work has
been overlooked in the histories of colonial printing which tend to focus on
the "Life-size Names" such as Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin,
Christopher Sauer, Dunlap and Claypoole - men who owned or operated
We do know that Robert
Smith was first listed as a printer in 1783 at "… the Back of the Fountain
Inn between Second and Third Street." in downtown Philadelphia. On January
1, 1785 he joined Dunlap and Claypooles' Pennsylvania Packet and
remained with them until late 1786. In that same year Smith re-opened his
business at the White-Horse and Fountain Inn. It wasn't until February 1787,
with the launch of the "The Evening Chronical; or, Philadelphia
Advertiser", that Smith moved again "Next to the Coffee-House in
Front" according to "A Directory of the Book-Arts and Book Trade in
Philadelphia to 1820. Including Painters and Engravers". Finally, Smith
business was relocated, during the Constitutional Convention, to "Below the
Drawbridge, third door below Spruce, in Front and Water" less then
one-mile from Independence Hall.
At Independence Hall on
September 17th, 1787, the final day of the Constitutional Convention, the
engrossed "We the People " copy, prepared by Jacob Sallus, was read to
the delegates. Just prior to the final vote of adoption of the Constitution,
Nathaniel Gorham of Massachusetts asked if the ratio of representation in the
House of Representatives could be changed from one in every forty-thousand
inhabitants to one in every thirty thousand. Gorham's proposal was unanimously
adopted and the engrossed copy was then signed by all members present except
Elbridge Gerry, George Mason, and Edmund Randolph who refused to give their
At 4pm the convention
adjourned and Secretary Jackson was then ordered to carry the Engrossed
Constitution along with the newly printed copies for distribution to the
Confederation Congress assembled in New York City. Dunlap & Claypoole,
Smith's old employer, was contracted to complete the final printing of some
500 copies of the Constitution by the 10:00am departure of the New York stage
coach on September 18.
According to the Dispatch
Book, Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 185, IV, p. 17, the report of
the Constitutional Convention was delivered September 20, 1787 to President of
the United States in Congress Assembled, Arthur St. Clair. On that same day
President St. Clair permitted Jackson to read the Constitution before
Congress. Jackson's report consisted of the Constitution, the resolution of
the Constitutional Convention and the letter of Washington to the President
Arthur St. Clair, transmitting the first two documents. According to a letter
of William Bingham to Pennsylvania Signer Thomas Fitzsimons, dated September
21, 1787, the report of the Convention was received and read September 20,
1787 and Wednesday next (September 26) assigned for consideration. It was not
until September 27, 1787 finally resolved that:
Resolved that there be transmitted to the supreme
executive of each State a copy of the report of the Convention of the States
lately Assembled in the City of Philadelphia signed by their deputies the
seventeenth instant including their resolutions, and their letter directed to
the President of Congress.
Meanwhile back in
Philadelphia, with the injunction on secrecy lifted, a broadsheet of the new
Constitution was being sold to Philadelphia citizens by Robert Smith. The text
simultaneously appeared in five Philadelphia newspapers on the morning of the
19th of September. Up until the contemporary discovery of Robert Smith's
"New Plan for the Federal Government", The Pennsylvania Packet and these
four other papers were acknowledged as the first public printings of the US
Since the discovery of
"New Plan for the Federal Government" in 2001, scholars' initial research
indicated that the September 19th printings of Constitution must include
Robert Smith's September 17th - 18th printing. Further research on the actual
printed text when compared to the other five newspapers indicates that Smith
most likely trumped all competitors as the 1st public printing of the US
Constitution by circulating his special printing of constitution as an insert
to his regularly scheduled September 18th Evening Chronicle under the headline
"New Plan for The Federal Government".
It is important to note that Smith's crude broadsheet,
unlike his competitors, was hastily typeset, and printed with three text dates
of September 17, 1787 and the marking Philadelphia: Printed by Robert Smith
on his standard paper and ink used in the Evening Chronicle. The heading or
any reference to the Evening Chronicle was omitted indicating this must have
been an insert.
One of our researchers, Max E. Moeller, from the
Historical Society of Pennsylvania noted:
"Smith presumably felt his broadsheet would benefit
by a headline. But what should it read? At this stage the US Constitution
was a new proposal and not yet the law of the land. In other words, it was a
constitution and not yet become the US Constitution. In 1787 there was an
existing confederate system of government, set forth in the Articles of
Confederation. To avoid confusion and to simultaneously convey the import and
political philosophy of the newly proposed constitution, Smith (as publisher)
employed a more descriptive and informative title "New Plan for The Federal
Government". It is certainly a very effective headline, as it properly
orients new readers to what they can expect from the document."
Brigham , Clarence S. "History and Bibliography of
American Newspapers 1690 - 1820" American Antiquarian Society, Worchester,
Brown , H. Glenn and Maude O, "A Directory of the
Book-Arts and Book Trade in Philadelphia to 1820. Including Painters and
Engravers" New York Public Library, NY 1950.
Dube, Ann Marie, "A Multitude of Amendments,
Alterations and Additions": The Writing and Publicizing of the Declaration
of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of the
United States." Independence National Historical Park, May 1996.
Hildeburn , Charles R. "Issues of The Press in
Pennsylvania 1685 - 1784" Burt Franklin, NY: 1968. Two volumes
Goodman, Roy - Curator of Printed Materials and
Assistant Librarian, American Philosophical Society 105 S. 5th Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19106-3386
Klos, Stanley L., "A Scottish Born US President?"
ArthurStClair.com, Carnegie, PA 2000.
Journals of Congress, Thursday, September 20, 1787.
Journals of Congress, Thursday, September 27, 1787.
Lefaivre-Rochester, Carole - Researcher, Friends of
Franklin and Former American Philosophical Society editor
TEXT OF THE US
CONSTITUTION EXACTLY AS IT APPEARED PUBLICLY FOR THE FIRST TIME ON THE
EVENING OF SEPTEMBER 18, 1787
P L A N
New Federal Government
WE, the People of the United States, in
order to form a more perfect union, establifh Juftice, infure domeftic
tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and
fecure the bleffings of liberty to ourselves and our pofterity, do ordain and
establifh this conftitution for the United ftates of America.
A R T I C L E I.
ALL legiflative powers herein granted fhall be
vefted in a Congrefs of the United States, which fhall confift of a fenate and
Houfe of Reprefentatives.
The Houfe of Reprefentatives fhall be compofed
of members chofen every fecond year by the people of the feveral ftates, and
the elec^tors in each ftate fhall have the qualifications requifite for
electors of the moft numerous branch of the ftate legiflature.
No perfon fhall be a representative, who
fhall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been feven years
a citizen of the United States, and who fhall not, when elec^ted, be an
inhabitant of that ftate in which he fhall be chofen.
Reprefentatives and direc^t Taxes fhall be
apportioned among the feveral ftates which may be included within this Union,
according to their refpec^tive numbers, which fhall be determined by adding to
the whole number of free pefsons, including thofe bound to fervice for a term
of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other perfons.
The ac^tual Enumeration fhall be made within three Years after the firft
Meeting of the Congrefs of the United States, and within every fubfequent term
of ten years, in fuch manner as they fhall by law direct. The number of
Reprefentatives fhall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each ftate
fhall have at leaft one Reprefentative ; and until fuch enumeration fhall be
made, the ftate of New-Hampshire fhall be entitled to chufe three,
Massachufetts eight, Rhode-Ifland and Providence Plantations one, Connec^ticut
five, New-York fix, New-Jersey four, Pennfylvania eight, Delaware one,
Maryland fix, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and
When vacancies happen in the reprefentation
from any ftate, the Executive authority thereof fhall iffue writs of election
to fill fuch vacancies.
The Houfe of Reprefentatives fhall chufe
their Speaker and other officers; and fhall have the fole power of
The fenate of the United States fhall be
compofed of two fenators from each ftate, chofen by the legiflature thereof,
for fix years ; and each fenator fhall have one vote.
Immediately after they fhall be affembled in
confequence of the firft elec^tion, they fhall be divided as equally as may be
into three claffes. The feats of the fenators of the firft clafs fhall be
vacated at the xxpiration of the fecond year, of the fecond clafs at the
expiration of the fourth year, and of the third clafs at the expiration of the
fixth year, fo that one third may be chofen every fecond year ; and if
vacancies happen by refignation, or otherwife, during the recefs of the
Legiflature of any ftate, the Executive thereof may make temporary
appointments until the next meeting of the Legiflature, which fhall then fill
No Perfon fhall be a fenator, who fhall not
have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the
United States, and who fhall not, when elec^ted, be an inhabitant of that
ftate for which he fhall be chofen.
The Vice-Prefident of the United States
fhall be Prefident of the fenate, but fhall have no vote, unlefs they be
The fenate fhall chufe their other Officers,
and alfo a Prefident pro tempore, in the abfence of the Vice-Prefident, or
when he fhall exercise the office of Prefident of the United States.
The fenate fhall have the fole power to try
all Impeachments. When sitting for that purpofe, they fhall be on oath or
affirmation. When the Prefident of the United States is tried, the Chief
Justice fhall preside : And no perfon fhall be convic^ted without the
Concurrence of two thirds of the members prefent.
Judgment in cafes of impeachment fhall not
extend further than to removal from office, and difqualification to hold and
en-oy any office of honor, truft or profit under the United States ; but the
Party convic^ted fhall neverthelefs be liable and fubjec^t to ndictment,
trial, judgment and punifhment, according to law.
The times, places and manner of holding elec^tions
for fenators and Reprefentatives, fhall be prescribed in each ftate by the
legiflature thereof ; but the Congrfss may at any time by law make or alter
fuch Regulations, except as to the places of chufing fenators.
The Congrefs fhall affemble at leaft once in
every year, and fuch meeting fhall be on the first Monday in December, unlefs
they fhall by law appoint a different day.
Each houfe fhall be the judge of the elec^tions,
returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each fhall
conftitute a quorum to do bufinefs ; but a fmaller number may adjourn from day
to day, and may be authorifed to compel the attendance of abfent members, in
fuch manner, and under fuch penalties, as each houfe may provide.
Each Houfe may determine the rules of its
proceedings, punifh its members for disorderly behaviour, and, with the
concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.
Each Houfe fhall keep a journal of its
proceedings, and from time to time publifh the fame, excepting fuch parts as
may in their judgment require fecrecy ; and the yeas and nays of the members
of either houfe on any question fhall, at the defire of one fifth of thofe
prefent, be entered on the journal.
Neither houfe, during the feffion of
Congrefs, fhall, without the confent of the other, adjourn for more than three
days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two houfes fhall be
The fenators and Reprefentatives fhall receive
a compenfation for their fervices, to be afcertained by law, and paid out of
the treafury of the United States. They fhall in all cafes, except treafon,
felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from Arreft during their
attendance at the feffion of their refpective houfes, and in going to and
returning from the fame ; and for any fpeech or Debate in either houfe, they
fhall not be queftioned in any other place.
No fenator or reprefentative fhall, during
the time for which he was elec^ted, be appointed to any civil office under the
authority of the United States, which fhall have been created, or the
emoluments whereof fhall have been encreafed during fuch time ; and no perfon
holding any office under the United States, fhall be a member of either houfe
during his continuance in office.
All bills for raifing revenue fhall originate
in the houfe of reprefentatives ; but the fenate may propose or concur with
amendments, as on other bills.
Every bill which fhall have paffed the houfe
of reprefentatives and the fenate, fhall, before it become a law, be prefented
to the prefident of the United States ; if he approve he fhall fign it, but if
not he fhall return it, with his object^tions to that houfe in which it fhall
have originated, who fhall enter the object^tions at large on their journal,
and proceed to re-confider it. If after fuch reconfideration, two thirds of
that houfe fhall agree to pafs the Bill, it fhall be fent, together with the
object^tions, to the other houfe, by which it fhall likewise be reconfidered,
and if approved by two thirds of that houfe, it fhall become a law. But in all
fuch cafes the Votes of both houfes fhall be determined by yeas and nays, and
the names of the perfons voting for and againft the bill fhall be entered on
the Journal of each houfe respectively. If any bill fhall not be returned by
the Prefident within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it fhall have been
presented to him, the same fhall be a law, in like manner as if he had figned
it, unlefs the Congrefs by their adjournment prevent its return, in which cafe
it fhall not be a law.
every order, refolution or vote, to which
the concurrence of the Senate and Houfe of Reprefentatives may be neceffary
(except on a queftion of adjournment) fhall be presented to the Prefident of
the United States ; and before the fame fhall take effect, fhall be approved
by him, or, being difapproved by him, fhall be repaffed by two thirds of the
Senate and Houfe of reprefentatives, according according to the rules and
limitations prefcribed in the cafe of a bill.
The Congrefs fhall have power
To lay and collec^t taxes, duties, impofts
and excifes, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general
welfare of the United States; but all duties, impofts and excifes fhall be
uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations,
and among the feveral ftates, and with the Indian tribes;
To establifh an uniform rule of
naturalization, and uniform laws on the fubjec^t of bankruptcies throughout
the United States ;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof,
and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and meafures ;
To provide for the punifhment of
counterfeiting the fecurities and current coin of the United States ;
To establish poft offices and poft roads ;
To promote the progrefs of fcience and
ufeful arts, by fecuring for limited times to authors and inventors the
exclusive right to their refpec^tive writings and difcoveries ;
To constitute tribunals inferior to the
fupreme court ;
To define and punifh piracies and felonies
committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations ;
To declare war, grant letters of marque and
reprifal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water ;
To raife and fupport armies, but no
appropriation of money to that ufe fhall 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, fupprefs infurrec^tions and repel invafions ;
To provide for organizing, arming, and
disciplining, the militia, and for governing fuch part of them as may be
employed in the fervice of the United States, referving to the ftates
refpectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training
the militia according to the difcipline prefcribed by Congrefs ;
To exercife exclufive legiflation in all
cafes whatsoever, over fuch diftric^t (not exceeding ten miles fquare) as may,
by ceffion of particular ftates, and the acceptance of Congrefs, become the
feat of the government of the United States, and to exercife like authority
over all places purchafed by the confent of the legiflature of the ftate in
which the same fhall be, for the erec^tion of forts, magazines, arfenals,
dock-yards, and other needful buildings ;-- And
To make all laws which fhall be neceffary
and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other
powers vefted by this conftitution in the government of the United States, or
in any Department or Officer thereof.
The migration or importation of fuch perfons as
any of the ftates now existing fhall think proper to admit, fhall not be
prohibited by the Congrefs prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and
eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on fuch importation, not exceeding ten
dollars for each perfon.
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
fhall not be fufpended, unlefs when in cafes of rebellion or invafion the
public safety may require it.
No bill of attainder or ex post fac^to law
fhall be passed.
No capitation, or other direc^t, tax fhall
be laid, unlefs in proportion to the cenfus or enumeration herein before
directed to be taken.
No tax or duty fhall be laid on articles
exported from any ftate.
No preference fhall be given by any
regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one ftate over thofe of
another; nor fhall vessels bound to, or from, one ftate, be obliged to enter,
clear, or pay duties in another.
No money fhall be drawn from the treafury,
but in confequence of appropriations made by law ; and a regular ftatement and
account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money fhall be
published from time to time.
No title of nobility fhall be granted by the
United States :---- And no perfon holding any office of profit or truft under
them, fhall, without the confent of the Congrefs, accept of any prefent,
emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or
No ftate fhall 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 filver coin a tender in
payment of debts ; pafs any bill of attainder, ex poft fac^to law, or law
impairing the obligation of contra^cts, or grant any title of nobility.
No ftate fhall, without the confent of the Congrefs, lay
any impofts or duties on imports or expo ts, except what may be abfolutely
neceffary for executing it's inspect^tion laws ; and the neat produce of all
duties and impofts, laid by any ftate on imports or exports, fhall be for the
ufe of the Treasury of the United States; and all fuch laws fhall be subject^t
to the revifion and controul of the Congrefs. No ftate fhall, without the
confent of Congrefs, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or fhips of war in
time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another ftate, or with
a foreign power, or engage in war, unlefs ac^tually invaded, or in fuch
imminent danger as will not admit of delay.
The executive power fhall be vefted in a
prefident of the United ftates of America. He fhall hold his office during the
term of four years, and, together with the vice-prefident, chofen for the fame
term, be elected, as follows:
Each ftate fhall appoint, in fuch manner as
the legislature thereof may direc^t, a number of elec^tors, equal to the whole
number of fenators and reprefentatives to which the ftate may be entitled in
the Congrefs: but no fenator or reprefentative, or perfon holding an office of
truft or profit under the United States, fhall be appointed an elec^tor.
The elec^tors fhall meet in their respect^tive
ftates, and vote by ballot for two perfons, of whom one at least fhall not be
an inhabitant of the fame ftate with themselves. and they fhall make a lift of
all the perfons voted for, and of the number of votes for each ; which list
they fhall sign and certify, and tranfmit sealed to the feal of the government
of the United States, directed to the prefident of the fenate. the prefident
of the fenate fhall, in the presence of the fenate and houfe of
reprefentatives, open all the certificates, and the votes fhall then be
counted. The perfon having the greatest number of votes fhall be the prefident,
if fuch number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if
there be more than one who have fuch majority, and have an equal number of
votes, then the houfe of reprefentatives fhall immediately chuse by ballot one
of them for prefident; and if no perfon have a majority, then from the five
highest on the list the said houfe fhall in like manner chuse the prefident.
But in chusing the prefident, the votes fhall be taken by ftates, the
representation from each ftate having one vote; a quorum for this purpose
fhall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the ftates, and a
m.jority of all the ftates fhall be neceffary to a choice. In every cafe,
after the choice of the prefident, the perfon having the greatest number of
votes of the electors fhall be the vice prefident. but if there fould remain
two or more who have equal votes, the fenate fhall chuse from them by ballot
The Congrefs may determine the time of
chusing the elec^tors, and the day on which they fhall give their votes ;
which day fhall be the fame throughout the United States.
No Perfon except a natural born citizen, or
a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this
consfitution, fhall be eligible to the office of Prefident ; neither fhall any
perfon be eligible to that office who fhall not have attained to the age of
thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United
In cafe of the removal of the prefident from
office, or of his death, refignation, or inability to difcharge the powers and
duties of the faid office, the same fhall devolve on the vice-prefident, and
the Congrefs may by law provide for the cafe of removal, death, refignation or
inability, both of the prefident and vice-prefident, declaring what officer
fhall then ac^t as prefident, and fuch officer fhall ac^t accordingly, until
the difability be removed, or a prefident fhall be elected.
The prefident fhall, at ftated times,
receive for his fervices, a compenfation, which fhall neither be encreafed nor
diminifhed during the period for which he fhall have been elected, and he
fhall 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 fhall take the following oath or affirmation:--
"I do solemnly fwear (or affirm) that I will
faithfully execute the office of prefident of the United States, and will to
the beft of my ability, preferve, protect^t and defend the constitution of the
Sec^t. 2. The
prefident fhall be commander in chief of the army and navy of the United
States, and of the militia of the feveral ftates, when called into the ac^tual
service of the United States ; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the
principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any fubject
relating to the duties of their refpec^tive offices, and he fhall have power
to grant reprieves and pardons for offences againft the United States, except
in cafes of impeachment.
He fhall have power, by and with the advice
and confent of the fenate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the
fenators prefent concur ; and he fhall nominate, and by and with the advice
and confent of the fenate, fhall appoint ambaffadors, other public ministers
and confuls, judges of the fupreme court, and all other officers of the United
States, whofe appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which
fhall be established by law. But the Congrefs may by law veft the appointment
of fuch inferior officers, as they think proper, in the prefident alone, in
the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
The Prefident fhall have power to fill up
all vacancies that may happen during the recefs of the fenate, by granting
commiffions which fhall expire at the end of their next feffion.
He fhall from time to time give to the Congrefs
information of the ftate of the union, and recommend to their consideration
fuch meafures as he fhall judge neceffary and expedient ; he may, on
extraordinary occafions, convene both houfes, or either of them, and in case
of difagreement between them, with resfpec^t to the time of adjournment, he
may adjourn them to fuch time as he fhall think proper ; he fhall receive
ambaffadors and other public minifters ; he fhall take care that the laws be
faithfully executed, and fhall commiffion all the officers of the United
Sec^t. 4. The Prefident, Vice-Prefident and all civil Officers of
the United States, fhall be removed from office on impeachment for, and
conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
The judicial power of the United States fhall
be vested in one fupreme court, and in fuch inferior courts as the congrefs
may from time to time ordain and eftablish. The judges, both of the fupreme
and inferior courts, fhall hold their offices during good behaviour, and fhall,
at stated times, receive for their fervices a compenfation, which fhall not be
diminifhed during their continuance in office.
The judicial power fhall extend to all cafes,
in law and equity, arifing under this conftitution, the laws of the United
States, and treaties made, or which fhall be made, under their authority ; to
all cafes affect^ting ambaffadors, other public minifters and consuls ; to all
cafes of admiralty and maritime jurifdiction ; to controversies to which the
United States fhall be a party ; to controverfies between two or more States,
between a ftate and citizens of another ftate, between citizens of different
states, between citizens of the fame ftate claiming lands under grants of
different States, and between a ftate, or the citizens thereof, and foreign
States, citizens or fubjec^ts.
In all cases affecting ambaffadors, other
public minifters and consuls, and thofe in which a ftate fhall be party, the
fupreme court fhall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before
mentioned, the fupreme court fhall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law
and fac^t, with fuch exceptions, and under fuch regulations as the Congrefs
The trial of all crimes, except in cafes of
impeachment, fhall be by jury; and fuch trial fhall be held in the ftate where
the faid crimes fhall have been committed ; but when not committed within any
ftate, the trial fhall be at fuch place or places as the Congrefs may by law
Treafon againft the United States, fhall confift only in levying war againft
them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. no perfon
fhall be convic^ted of treafon unlefs on the teftimony of two witneffes to the
fame overt ac^t, or on confeffion in open court.
The Congrefs fhall have power to declare the punifhment
of treafon, but no attainder of treafon fhall work corruption of blood, or
forfeiture except during the life of the perfon attainted.
Full faith and credit fhall be given in each
ftate to the public ac^ts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other
ftate. And the Congrefs may by general laws prefcribe the manner in which fuch
ac^ts, records and proceedings fhall be proved, and the effect^t thereof.
The citizens of each ftate fhall be entitled to
all privileges and immunities of citizens in the feveral ftates.
A perfon charged in any ftate with treafon,
felony, or other crime, who fhall flee from juftice, and be found in another
ftate, fhall on demand of the executive authority of the ftate from which he
fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the ftate having jurifdic^tion of the
No perfon held to fervice or labour in one
ftate, under the laws thereof, efcaping into another, fhall, in confequence of
any law or regulation therein, be difcharged from fuch service or labour, but
fhall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom fuch fervice or labour may
New ftates may be admitted by the Congrefs into
this union ; but no new ftate fhall be formed or erec^ted within the jurisdic^tion
of any other ftate ; nor any ftate be formed by the junc^tion of two or more
states, or parts of ftates, without the confent of the legiflatures of the
ftates concerned, as well as of the Congrefs.
The Congrefs fhall have power to difpofe of
and make all needful rules and regulations respect^ting the territory or other
property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this conftitution
fhall be so conftrued as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of
any particular ftate.
The United States fhall guarantee to every ftate in this union a Republican
form of government, and fhall protect^t each of them againft invafion ; and on
application of the legiflature, or of the executive (when the legiflature
cannot be convened), againft domeftic violence.
The congrefs, whenever two-thirds of both houfes fhall
deem it neceffary, fhall propofe amendments to this conftitution, or, on the
application of the legiflatures of two thirds of the feveral states, fhall
call a convention for propofing amendments, which, in either cafe, fhall be
valid to all intents and purpofes, as part of this conftitution, when ratified
by the legiflatures of three fourths of the feveral ftates, or by conventions
in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be
propofed by the Congrefs ; Provided, that no amendment which may be made prior
to the year one thoufand eight hundred and eight fhall in any manner affect^t
the firft and fourth claufes in the ninth sec^tion of the firft article ; and
that no ftate, without its confent, fhall be deprived of its equal fuffrage in
All debts contrac^ted and engagements
entered into, before the adoption of this conftitution, fhall be as valid
againft the United States under this conftitution, as under the confederation.
This conftitution, and the laws of the
United States which fhall be made in purfuance thereof ; and all treaties
made, or which fhall be made, under the authority of the United States, fhall
be the fupreme law of the land; and the judges in every ftate fhall be bound
thereby, any thing in the conftitution or laws of any ftate to the contrary
The fenators and reprefentatives beforementioned, and the
members of the feveral ftate legiflatures, and all executive and judicial
officers, both of the United States and of the feveral States, fhall be bound,
by oath or affirmation, to support this conftitution ; but no religious teft
fhall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public truft under
the United States.
The ratification of the conventions of nine
ftates fhall be fufficient for the eftablishment of this conftitution between
the ftates so ratifying the fame.
Done in Convention, by the unanimous confent
of the ftates prefent the feventeenth day of September, in the year of our
Lord one thoufand feven hundred and eighty-feven and of the Independence of
the United States of America the twelfth, In witnefs whereof we have hereunto
fubfcribed our names,<![if !supportLineBreakNewLine]>
<![endif]>GEORGE WASHINGTON, Prefident
And deputy from VIRGINIA.
William Samuel Johnfon,
Gunning Bedford, junior
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer,
James Madifon, junior,
Richard Dobbs Spaight,
Charles Cotefworth Pinckney,
Atteft, WILLIAM JACKSON,