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A COMPILATION OF THE MESSAGES AND PAPERS OF THE PRESIDENTS
BY JAMES D. RICHARDSON
A REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE STATE OF TENNESSEE
In compliance with the authorization of the Joint Committee on Printing,
I have undertaken this compilation.
The messages of the several Presidents of the United States--annual,
veto, and special--are among the most interesting, instructive, and
valuable contributions to the public literature of our Republic. They
discuss from the loftiest standpoint nearly all the great questions of
national policy and many subjects of minor interest which have engaged
the attention of the people from the beginning of our history, and
so constitute important and often vital links in their progressive
development. The proclamations, also, contain matter and sentiment no
less elevating, interesting, and important. They inspire to the highest
and most exalted degree the patriotic fervor and love of country in the
hearts of the people.
It is believed that legislators and other public men, students of our
national history, and many others will hail with satisfaction the
compilation and publication of these messages and proclamations in
such compact form as will render them easily accessible and of ready
reference. The work can not fail to be exceedingly convenient and useful
to all who have occasion to consult these documents. The Government has
never heretofore authorized a like publication.
In executing the commission with which I have been charged I have sought
to bring together in the several volumes of the series all Presidential
proclamations, addresses, messages, and communications to Congress
excepting those nominating persons to office and those which simply
transmit treaties, and reports of heads of Departments which contain
no recommendation from the Executive. The utmost effort has been made
to render the compilation accurate and exhaustive.
Although not required by the terms of the resolution authorizing the
compilation, it has been deemed wise and wholly consistent with its
purpose to incorporate in the first volume authentic copies of the
Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the
Constitution of the United States, together with steel engravings of
the Capitol, the Executive Mansion, and of the historical painting the
"Signing of the Declaration of Independence." Steel portraits of the
Presidents will be inserted each in its appropriate place.
The compilation has not been brought even to its present stage without
much labor and close application, and the end is far from view; but if
it shall prove satisfactory to Congress and the country, I will feel
compensated for my time and effort.
JAMES D. RICHARDSON.
_February 22, 1896_.
Declaration of Independence
July 4, 1776
Declaration of Independence
NOTE.--The words "Declaration of Independence" do not appear on
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people
to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,
and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal
station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them,
a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should
declare the causes which impel them to the separation.--We hold these
truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure
these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just
powers from the consent of the governed,--That whenever any Form of
Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the
People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,
laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in
such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety
and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long
established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and
accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed
to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by
abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train
of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a
design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is
their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for
their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these
Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter
their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of
Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all
having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over
these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid
world.--He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and
necessary for the public good.--He has forbidden his Governors to pass
Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their
operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he
has utterly neglected to attend to them.--He has refused to pass other
Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those
people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature,
a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.--He has
called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable,
and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole
purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.--He has
dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly
firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.--He has refused for
a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected;
whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned
to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the
mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and
convulsions within.--He has endeavoured to prevent the population of
these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization
of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations
hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.--He
has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to
Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.--He has made Judges dependent
on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and
payment of their salaries.--He has erected a multitude of New Offices,
and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass 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 Legislatures, and declaring
themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases
whatsoever.--He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of
his Protection and waging War against us.--He has plundered our seas,
ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the Lives of our
people.--He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign
Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny,
already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely
paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head
of a civilized nation.--He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken
Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become
the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by
their Hands.--He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has
endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless
Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished
destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. In every stage of these
Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our
repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince,
whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant,
is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Nor have We been wanting
in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time
to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable
jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our
emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice
and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common
kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt
our connections and correspondence They too have been deaf to the voice
of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the
necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold
the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.--
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of
America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme
Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name,
and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish
and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be
Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all
Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection
between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally
dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power
to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and
to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right
do.--And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on
the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other
our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
ROB'T. TREAT PAINE
CHARLES CARROLL of Carrollton
RICHARD HENRY LEE.
THO'S. NELSON jr.
FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT LEE
THO'S. HEYWARD Jun'r.
THOMAS LYNCH Jun'r.
* * * * *
Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
NOTE.--The original is indorsed: Act of Confederation of The
United States of America.
To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned
Delegates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting. Whereas the
Delegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled did on
the fifteenth day of November in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven
Hundred and Seventy seven, and in the Second Year of the Independence of
America agree to certain articles of Confederation and perpetual Union
between the States of Newhampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhodeisland and
Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia
in the Words following, viz. "Articles of Confederation and perpetual
Union between the states of Newhampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhodeisland
and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina,
South-Carolina and Georgia."
Article I. The Stile of this confederacy shall be "The United States of
Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom an independence,
and every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this
confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress
Article III. The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league
of friendship with each other, for their common defence, 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 pretence whatsoever.
Article 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 have 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 restriction 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 offence.
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.
Article V. For the more convenient management of the general interests
of the united states, delegates shall be annually appointed in such
manner as the legislature 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 recal 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 by 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 and
imprisonments, during the time of their going to and from, and
attendance on congress, except for treason, felony, or breach of
Article 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 conferrence, 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 of 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 vessels 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 defence 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 defence of such state; but every state shall always
keep up a well regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed
and accoutred, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use,
in public stores, a due number of field 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.
Article VII. When land-forces are raised by any state for the common
defence, 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
Article VIII. All charges of war, and all other expences that shall be
incurred for the common defence 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 to 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.
Article 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 marque 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 cause 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 shewing 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 administred 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 favour, 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 standard 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 and regulating post-offices from one state to
another, throughout all the united states, and exacting such postage
on the papers passing thro' the same as may be requisite to defray
the expences 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 number 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 expences--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 cloath, arm and equip them in a soldier like manner, at the
expence of the united states, and the officers and men so cloathed,
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 than its quota, and that any other state
should raise a greater number of men than the quota thereof, such extra
number shall be raised, officered, cloathed, armed and equipped in the
same manner as the quota of such state, unless the legislature of such
state shall judge that such extra number cannot be safely spared out of
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 cloathed, 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 marque and 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 expences necessary for the defence
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 a 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 secresy; 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 delegate; and the 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.
Article X. The committee of the states, or any nine of them, shall be
authorised to execute, in the recess of congress, such of the powers of
congress as the united states in congress assembled, by the consent of
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 is requisite.
Article XI. Canada acceding to this confederation, and joining 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.
Article 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.
Article XIII. Every state shall abide by the determinations 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
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
under-signed 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 Jun'r. 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
WILLIAM ELLARY, HENRY MARCHANT, JOHN COLLINS
On the part and behalf of the State of Connecticut
ROGER SHERMAN, SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, OLIVER WOLCOTT, TITUS HOSMER,
On the Part and Behalf of the State of New York
JA'S. DUANE, FRA'S. LEWIS, W'M DUER., GOUV MORRIS
On the Part and in Behalf of the State of New Jersey. Nov'r. 26, 1778--
JNO. WITHERSPOON, NATHL. SCUDDER
On the part and behalf of the State of Pennsylvania
ROB'T. MORRIS, DANIEL ROBERDEAU, JON'A. BAYARD SMITH., WILLIAM
CLINGAN, JOSEPH REED 22d July 1778
On the part & behalf of the State of Delaware
THO McKEAN Feby 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 d'o
On the Part and Behalf of the State of Virginia
RICHARD HENRY LEE, JOHN BANISTER, THOMAS ADAMS, JN'O. HARVIE,
FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT LEE
On the part and Behalf of the State of N'o Carolina
JOHN PENN July 21st 1778, CORN'S HARNETT, JN'O. WILLIAMS
On the part & behalf of the State of South-Carolina
HENRY LAURENS., WILLIAM HENRY DRAYTON, JN'O. MATHEWS, RICH'D. HUTSON.,
THO'S. HEYWARD Jun'r
On the part & behalf of the State of Georgia
JN'O. WALTON 24th July 1778, ELW'D. TELFAIR., EDW'D. LANGWORTHY.
* * * * *
NOTE.--The words "The Constitution" do not appear on the original.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more
perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide
for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the
Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and
establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
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
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 may be included within this Union, according to their
respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole
Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term
of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other
Persons. 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.
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the
Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such
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.
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.
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.
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 become a Law, be presented to the President of
the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall
return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have
originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal,
and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds
of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together
with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be
reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall
become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be
determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for
and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House
respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within
ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him,
the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless
the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it
shall not be a Law.
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 Offences 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
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the
Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and
for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the
United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of
the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the
discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such
District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of
particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of
the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over
all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in
which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals,
dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into
Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this
Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any
Department or Officer thereof.
Section. 9. 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a
Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the
Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive
within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of
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 Offences against the United States, except in Cases of
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
Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper;
he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take
Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the
Officers of the United States.
Section. 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the
United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and
Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient
for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so
ratifying the Same.
[Sidenote: The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and
eighth Lines of the first Page, The Word "Thirty" being partly written
on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words "is
tried" being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines
of the first Page and the Word "the" being interlined between the forty
third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page.--Attest WILLIAM JACKSON
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 Independance of the United
States of America the Twelfth In Witness whereof We have hereunto
subscribed our Names,
GEORGE WASHINGTON--Presidt. and deputy from Virginia.
New Hampshire: JOHN LANGDON, NICHOLAS GILMAN.
Massachusetts: NATHANIEL GORHAM, RUFUS KING.
Connecticut: W'M SAM'L JOHNSON, ROGER SHERMAN.
New York: ALEXANDER HAMILTON.
New Jersey: WIL. LIVINGSTON, DAVID BREARLEY, W'M PATERSON, JONA. DAYTON.
Pensylvania: B FRANKLIN, THOMAS MIFFLIN, ROBT. MORRIS, GEO. CLYMER,
THO'S 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 THO'S JENIFER, DAN'L CARROLL.
Virginia: JOHN BLAIR--, JAMES MADISON Jr.
North Carolina: W'M BLOUNT, RICH'D DOBBS SPAIGHT, HU WILLIAMSON.
South Carolina: J. RUTLEDGE, CHARLES COTESWORTH PINCKNEY, CHARLES
PINCKNEY, PIERCE BUTLER.
Georgia: WILLIAM FEW, ABR BALDWIN.
In Convention Monday September 17th 1787.
The States of
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Mr Hamilton from New York,
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina,
South Carolina and Georgia.
That the preceding 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
GEORGE WASHINGTON. Presid't
W. Jackson Secretary.
Articles in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the
United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the
Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of
the original Constitution.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor
cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be
construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
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.
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.
The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot
for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an
inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their
ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the
person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists
of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for
as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists
they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the
government of the United States, directed to the President of the
Senate;--The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the
Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the
votes shall then be counted;--The person having the greatest number
of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a
majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person
have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not
exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House
of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.
But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the
representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this
purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the
states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.
And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President
whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth
day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as
President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional
disability of the President.--The person having the greatest number of
votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be
a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person
have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the
Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall
consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority
of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person
constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be
eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.
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
Section. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
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
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.
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
* * * * *
April 30, 1789, to March 4, 1797
George Washington was born at Bridges Creek, on the Potomac River, in
Westmoreland County, Va., on the 22d day of February (or 11th, old
style), 1732. Augustine Washington, his father, was a son of Lawrence
Washington, whose father, John Washington, came to Virginia from England
in 1657, and settled at Bridges Creek. Augustine Washington died in
1743, leaving several children, George being the eldest by his second
wife, Mary Ball. At the early age of 19 years he was appointed
adjutant-general of one of the districts of Virginia, with the rank of
major. In November, 1753, he was sent by Lieutenant-Governor Dinwiddie,
of Virginia, to visit the French army in the Ohio Valley on important
business. War followed, and in 1754 he was promoted to the rank of
lieutenant-colonel, and engaged in the war. In 1755 he acted as
aid-de-camp to General Braddock. Soon after this he was appointed by the
legislature commander in chief of all the forces of the Colony, and for
three years devoted himself to recruiting and organizing troops for her
defense. In 1758 he commanded a successful expedition to Fort Du Quesne.
He then left the Army, and was married to Mrs. Martha Custis, a widow
lady of Virginia. For sixteen years he resided at Mount Vernon,
occasionally acting as a magistrate or as a member of the legislature.
He was a delegate to the Williamsburg convention, August, 1773, which
resolved that taxation and representation were inseparable. In 1774
he was sent to the Continental Congress as a delegate from Virginia.
The following year he was unanimously chosen commander in chief, and
assumed the command of the Continental Army July 2, 1775. He commanded
the armies throughout the War for Independence. At the close he resigned
his commission, December 23, 1783, and retired to private life. He was
a delegate to, and president of, the National Convention which met
in Philadelphia, Pa., in May, 1787, and adopted a new Constitution,
that greatly increased the power of the Federal Government. He was
unanimously elected the first President of the United States, and was
inaugurated on the 30th of April, 1789, in New York City, and at the
end of his first term was unanimously reelected. He retired March 4,
1797, having declined a third term. In September, 1796, he issued his
Farewell Address to the people. July 3, 1798, he was again appointed
to the command of the armies of the United States, with the rank of
lieutenant-general. He was a Freemason, and served as master of his
lodge. He died at Mount Vernon, Va., after a short illness, December
14, 1799, and was buried there.
PROCEEDINGS INITIATORY TO THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION.
[From the Washington Papers (Executive Proceedings, vol. 17), Department
Charles Thomson, esq., Secretary of the late Congress, being appointed
by the Senate of the United States to carry to General Washington the
official information of his unanimous election to the office of
President of the United States of America, arrived at Mount Vernon on
the 14th day of April, A.D. 1789, when he communicated to General
Washington the purport of his mission in the following words:
Sir: The President of the Senate chosen for the special purpose, having
opened and counted the votes of the electors in presence of the Senate
and House of Representatives, I was honored with the commands of the
Senate to wait upon Your Excellency with the information of your being
elected to the office of President of the United States of America. This
commission was intrusted to me on account of my having been long in the
confidence of the late Congress, and charged with the duties of one of
the principal civil departments of Government.
I have now, sir, to inform you that the proofs you have given of your
patriotism, and of your readiness to sacrifice domestic ease and private
enjoyments to preserve the happiness of your country, did not permit the
two Houses to harbor a doubt of your undertaking this great and
important office, to which you are called, not only by the unanimous
vote of the electors, but by the voice of America.
I have it, therefore, in command to accompany you to New York, where the
Senate and House of Representatives are convened for the dispatch of
To which General Washington replied:
SIR: I have been accustomed to pay so much respect to the opinion of my
fellow-citizens that the knowledge of their having given their unanimous
suffrages in my favor scarcely leaves me the alternative for an option.
I can not, I believe, give a greater evidence of my sensibility of the
honor which they have done me than by accepting the appointment.
I am so much affected by this fresh proof of my country's esteem and
confidence that silence can best explain my gratitude. While I realize
the arduous nature of the task which is imposed upon me, and feel my own
inability to perform it, I wish, however, that there may not be reason
for regretting the choice, for, indeed, all I can promise is only to
accomplish that which can be done by an honest zeal.
Upon considering how long time some of the gentlemen of both Houses
of Congress have been at New York, how anxiously desirous they must be
to proceed to business, and how deeply the public mind appears to be
impressed with the necessity of doing it speedily, I can not find myself
at liberty to delay my journey. I shall therefore be in readiness to set
out the day after to-morrow, and shall be happy in the pleasure of your
company, for you will permit me to say that it is a peculiar
gratification to have received the communication from you.
OFFICIAL INFORMATION OF THE ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES, APRIL 6, 1789.
Be it known that the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America, being convened in the city and State of New York,
this 6th day of April, A.D. 1789, the underwritten, appointed President
of the Senate for the sole purpose of receiving, opening, and counting
the votes of the electors, did, in the presence of the said Senate and
House of Representatives, open all the certificates and count all the
votes of the electors for a President and Vice-President, by which it
appears that His Excellency George Washington, esq., was unanimously
elected, agreeably to the Constitution, to the office of President of
the said United States of America.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal.
MOUNT VERNON, _April 14, 1789_.
To the Honorable JOHN LANGDON,
_President pro tempore of the Senate of the United States_.
SIR: I had the honor to receive your official communication, by the hand
of Mr. Secretary Thomson, about 1 o'clock this day. Having concluded to
obey the important and flattering call of my country, and having been
impressed with an idea of the expediency of my being with Congress at as
early a period as possible, I propose to commence my journey on Thursday
morning, which will be the day after to-morrow.
I have the honor to be, with sentiments of esteem, sir, your most
RESOLVE OF THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES RESPECTING MR. OSGOOD'S
PREPARING HIS HOUSE FOR THE RECEPTION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
_In Senate, April 15, 1789_.
The committee to whom it was referred to consider of and report to the
House respecting the ceremonial of receiving the President, and to whom
also was referred a letter from the chairman of a committee of the
Senate to the Speaker, communicating an instruction from that House to a
committee thereof to report if any and what arrangements are necessary
for the reception of the Vice-President, have agreed to the following
That Mr. Osgood, the proprietor of the house lately occupied by the
President of Congress, be requested to put the same and the furniture
thereof in proper condition for the residence and use of the President
of the United States, and otherwise, at the expense of the United
States, to provide for his temporary accommodation.
That it will be more eligible, in the first instance, that a committee
of three members from the Senate and five members from the House of
Representatives, to be appointed by the two Houses respectively, attend
to receive the President at such place as he shall embark from New
Jersey for this city, and conduct him without form to the house lately
occupied by the President of Congress, and at such time thereafter as
the President shall signify it will be most convenient for him, he be
formally received by both Houses.
Read and accepted.
IN SENATE, _April 16, 1789_.
The Senate proceeded by ballot to the choice of a committee, agreeably
to the report of the committee of both Houses agreed to the 15th
instant, when the Honorable Mr. Langdon, the Honorable Mr. Carroll,
and the Honorable Mr. Johnson were chosen.
A true copy from the Journals of the Senate.
SAM. A. OTIS, _Secretary_.
RESOLVE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES RESPECTING
MR. OSGOOD'S PREPARING HIS HOUSE FOR THE RECEPTION OF THE PRESIDENT OF
THE UNITED STATES.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES
_Wednesday, April 15, 1789_.
Mr. Benson reported from the committee to whom it was referred to
consider of and report to the House respecting the ceremonial of
receiving the President, and to whom was also referred a letter from the
chairman of a committee of the Senate to the Speaker, communicating an
instruction from that House to a committee thereof to report if any and
what arrangements are necessary for the reception of the Vice-President,
that the committee had, according to order, considered of the same, and
had agreed to a report thereupon, which he delivered in at the Clerk's
table, and where the same was thrice read, and the question put
thereupon agreed to by the House as followeth:
That Mr. Osgood, the proprietor of the house lately occupied by the
President of Congress, be requested to put the same and the furniture
therein in proper order for the residence and use of the President of
the United States, and otherwise, at the expense of the United States,
to provide for his temporary accommodation.
That it will be most eligible, in the first instance, that a committee
of three members from the Senate and five members from the House of
Representatives, to be appointed by the Houses respectively, attend to
receive the President at such place as he shall embark from New Jersey
for this city, and conduct him without form to the house lately occupied
by the President of Congress, and that at such time thereafter as the
President shall signify it will be most convenient for him, he be
formally received by both Houses.
Extract from the Journal.
JOHN BECKLEY, _Clerk_.
RESOLVE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES RESPECTING A COMMITTEE TO MEET
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES,
_Wednesday, April_ 15, _1789_.
_Resolved_, That it will be most eligible, in the first instance,
that a committee of three members from the Senate and five members
from the House of Representatives, to be appointed by the Houses
respectively, attend to receive the President at such place as he shall
embark from New Jersey for this city, and conduct him without form to
the house lately occupied by the President of Congress, and that at such
time thereafter as the President shall signify, he be formally received
by both Houses.
THURSDAY, _April 16, 1789_.
The committee elected on the part of this House, Mr. Boudinot, Mr.
Bland, Mr. Tucker, Mr. Benson, and Mr. Lawrance.
Extract from the Journal.
JOHN BECKLEY, _Clerk_.
REQUEST OF THE COMMITTEE APPOINTED BY CONGRESS TO KNOW WHEN THEY SHOULD
MEET THE PRESIDENT.
The committee appointed in consequence of the resolutions of both
Houses of Congress, and which accompany this note, most respectfully
communicate their appointment to the President of the United States,
with a request that he will please to have it signified to them when
they shall attend, with a barge which has been prepared for that
purpose, to receive him at Elizabeth Town, or at such other place as
he shall choose to embark from New Jersey for this city.
NEW YORK, _April 17, 1789_.
CHARGES CARROLL, of Carrollton.
WM. SAMUEL JOHNSON.
THOS. TUDR. TUCKER.
TO THE COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS RESPECTING THE TIME OF THE PRESIDENT
MEETING THEM AT ELIZABETH TOWN.
PHILADELPHIA, _April 20, 1789_.
GENTLEMEN: Upon my arrival in this city I received your note, with
the resolutions of the two Houses which accompanied it, and in answer
thereto beg leave to inform you that, knowing how anxious both Houses
must be to proceed to business, I shall continue my journey dispatch
as possible. To-morrow evening I purpose to be at Trenton, the night
following at Brunswick, and hope to have the pleasure of meeting you
at Elizabeth Town point on Thursday at 12 o'clock.
LETTER FROM THE HONORABLE ELIAS BOUDINOT.
NEW YORK, _April 21, 1789_.
His Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq.
SIR: The committee have just received Your Excellency's letter of the
20th, and will be at Elizabeth Town on Thursday morning.
I must beg Your Excellency will alight at my house, where the committee
will attend, and where it will give me (in a particular manner) the
utmost pleasure to receive you.
I have the honor to be, with the most profound respect, sir, your most
obedient and very humble servant,
LETTER FROM THE HONORABLE ELIAS BOUDINOT, APRIL 23, 1789.
ELIZABETH TOWN, _Wednesday Evening_.
His Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq.
SIR: I have the honor of informing Your Excellency that the committees
of both Houses arrived here this afternoon, and will be ready to receive
Your Excellency at my house as soon as you can arrive here to-morrow
If you, sir, will honor us with your company at breakfast, it will give
us great pleasure. We shall wait Your Excellency's arrival in hopes of
that gratification. You can have a room to dress in, if you should think
it necessary, as convenient as you can have it in town.
I have the honor to be Your Excellency's most obedient humble servant,
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS RESPECTING THE TIME OF THE
INAUGURATION OF THE PRESIDENT.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES
_Saturday, April 25, 1789_.
Mr. Benson, from the committee appointed to consider of the time, place,
and manner in which, and of the person by whom, the oath prescribed by
the Constitution shall be administered to the President of the United
States, and to confer with a committee of the Senate, appointed for the
purpose, reported as followeth:
That the President hath been pleased to signify to them that any time or
place which both Houses may think proper to appoint and any manner which
shall appear most eligible to them will be convenient and acceptable to
That requisite preparations can not probably be made before Thursday
next; that the President be on that day formally received in the Senate
Chamber; that the Representatives' Chamber being capable of receiving
the greater number of persons, that therefore the President do take the
oath in that place and in the presence of both Houses; that after the
formal reception of the President in the Senate Chamber he be attended
by both Houses to the Representatives' Chamber, and that the oath be
administered by the chancellor of this State.
The committee further report it as their opinion that it will be proper
that a committee of both Houses be appointed to take order for further
conducting the ceremonial.
The said report was twice read, and on the question put thereupon was
agreed to by the House.
_Ordered_, That Mr. Benson, Mr. Ames, and Mr. Carroll be a
committee on the part of this House pursuant to the said report.
Extract from the Journal.
JOHN BECKLEY, _Clerk_.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF CONGRESS TO THE SENATE RESPECTING THE TIME OF
THE INAUGURATION OF THE PRESIDENT.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
_In Senate_, _April 25, 1789_.
The committee appointed to consider of the time, place, and manner in
which and of the person by whom the oath prescribed by the Constitution
shall be administered to the President of the United States, and to
confer with a committee of the House appointed for that purpose, report:
That the President hath been pleased to signify to them that any time or
place which both Houses may think proper to appoint and any manner which
shall appear most eligible to them will be convenient and acceptable
to him; that requisite preparations can not probably be made before
Thursday next; that the President be on that day formally received in
the Senate Chamber by both Houses; that the Representatives' Chamber
being capable of receiving the greater number of persons, that therefore
the President do take the oath in that place in presence of both Houses;
that after the formal reception of the President in the Senate Chamber
he be attended by both Houses to the Representatives' Chamber, and that
the oath be administered by the chancellor of this State.
The committee further report it as their opinion that it will be proper
that a committee of both Houses be appointed to take order for conducting
Read and accepted.
And Mr. Lee, Mr. Izard, and Mr. Dalton, on the part of the Senate,
together with the committee that may be appointed on the part of the
House, are empowered to take order for conducting the business.
A true copy from the Journals of Senate.
IN SENATE, _April 27_, _1789_
The committees appointed to take order for conducting the ceremonial of
the formal reception, etc., of the President report that it appears to
them more eligible that the oath should be administered to the President
in the outer gallery adjoining the Senate Chamber than in the
Representatives' Chamber, and therefore submit to the respective Houses
the propriety of authorizing their committees to take order as to the
place where the oath shall be administered to the President, the
resolutions of Saturday assigning the Representatives' Chamber as the
Read and accepted.
A true copy from the Journals of the Senate.
SAM. A. OTIS, _Secretary_.
ORDER FOR CONDUCTING THE CEREMONIAL FOR THE INAUGURATION OF THE
The committees of both Houses of Congress appointed to take order
for conducting the ceremonial for the formal reception, etc., of the
President of the United States on Thursday next have agreed to the
following order thereon, viz:
That General Webb, Colonel Smith, Lieutenant-Colonel Fish, Major Franks,
Major L'Enfant, Major Bleeker, and Mr. John R. Livingston be requested
to serve as assistants on the occasion.
That a chair be placed in the Senate Chamber for the President.
That a chair be placed in the Senate Chamber for the Vice-President, to
the right of the President's chair, and that the Senators take their
seats on that side of the Chamber on which the Vice-President's chair
shall be placed. That a chair be placed in the Senate Chamber for the
Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the left of the President's
chair, and that the Representatives take their seats on that side of the
Chamber on which the Speaker's chair shall be placed.
That seats be provided in the Senate Chamber sufficient to accommodate
the late President of Congress, the governor of the Western Territory,
the five persons being the heads of the great Departments, the minister
plenipotentiary of France, the encargado de negocios of Spain, the
chaplains of Congress, the persons in the suite of the President, and
also to accommodate the following public officers of the State, viz:
The governor, lieutenant-governor, the chancellor, the chief justice of
the supreme court and other judges thereof, and the mayor of the city.
That one of the assistants wait on these gentlemen and inform them that
seats are provided for their accommodation, and also to signify to them
that no precedence of seats is intended, and that no salutation is
expected from them on their entrance into or their departure from the
That the members of both Houses assemble in their respective chambers
precisely at 12 o'clock, and that the Representatives, preceded by their
Speaker and attended by their Clerk and other officers, proceed to the
Senate Chamber, there to be received by the Vice-President and Senators
That the committees attend the President from his residence to the
Senate Chamber, and that he be there received by the Vice-President, the
Senators and Representatives rising, and by the Vice-President conducted