Determining the Facts
Selected Excerpts from the United States Constitution
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.
All legislative powers, herein granted, shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second year by all the people of the several States….
Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states…according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons…three fifths of all other persons.
The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other officers, and shall have the sole power of impeachment.
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.
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.
Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to that House in which it shall have originated….If after such reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent…to the other House…and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become law.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States….
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 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….
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….
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."
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States….
The President, Vice-President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such Inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion….
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution….
…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….
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.