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The Bill of Rights


1789

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free
State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be
infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without
the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be
prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers,
and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,
supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place
to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous
crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in
cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in
actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be
subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or
limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness
against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without
due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use,
without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a
speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district
wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have
been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against
him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor,
and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed
twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no
fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the
United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

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

Amendment IX

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

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor
prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively,
or to the people.

Amendment XI

Passed by Congress March 4, 1794. Ratified February 7, 1795. Note: Article
III, Section 2, of the Constitution was modified by Amendment 11.
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend
to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the
United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects
of any Foreign State.

Amendment XII

Passed by Congress December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804. Note: A
portion of Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution was superseded by the
12th Amendment.

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 case of the death or other constitutional disability of
the President. --]* The person having the greatest number of votes as
Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a
majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person
have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the
Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall
consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of
the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person
constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible
to that of Vice-President of the United States.

* Superseded by Section 3 of the 20th Amendment.

Amendment XIII

Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865. Note: A
portion of Article IV, Section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by
the 13th Amendment.

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a
punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,
shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their
jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.

Amendment XIV

Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868. Note: Article I,
Section 2, of the Constitution was modified by Section 2 of the 14th
Amendment.

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and
subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States
and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any
law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the
United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty,
or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within
its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States
according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of
persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right
to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and
Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the
Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the
Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such
State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United
States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion,
or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in
the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the
whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress,
or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or
military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having
previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of
the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an
executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution
of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion
against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But
Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such
disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States,
authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and
bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall
not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall
assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or
rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or
emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims
shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate
legislation, the provisions of this article.
* Changed by Section 1 of the 26th Amendment.

Amendment XV

Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.
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 the power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.

Amendment XVI

Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913. Note: Article
I, Section 9, of the Constitution was modified by Amendment 16.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from
whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States,
and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Amendment XVII

Passed by Congress May 13, 1912. Ratified April 8, 1913. Note: Article I,
Section 3, of the Constitution was modified by the 17th Amendment.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from
each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each
Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the
qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the
State legislatures.When vacancies happen in the representation of any
State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue
writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature
of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary
appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the
legislature may direct. This Amendment shall not be so construed as to
affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes
valid as part of the Constitution.

Amendment XVIII

Passed by Congress December 18, 1917. Ratified January 16, 1919. Repealed
by Amendment 21.

Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the
manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the
importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United
States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for
beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent
power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been
ratified as an Amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the
several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from
the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Amendment XIX

Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied
or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of
sex.Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate
legislation.

Amendment XX

Passed by Congress March 2, 1932. Ratified January 23, 1933. Note: Article
I, Section 4, of the Constitution was modified by Section 2 of this
Amendment. In addition, a portion of the 12th Amendment was superseded by
Section 3.

Section 1. The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end
at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and
Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which
such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and
the terms of their successors shall then begin.

Section 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and
such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they
shall by law appoint a different day.

Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the
President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect
shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before
the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect
shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as
President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may
by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice
President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as
President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected,
and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice
President shall have qualified.

Section 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of
any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a
President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them,
and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate
may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have
devolved upon them.

Section 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October
following the ratification of this article.

Section 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been
ratified as an Amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of
three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of
its submission.

Amendment XXI

Passed by Congress February 20, 1933. Ratified December 5, 1933.
Section 1. The eighteenth article of Amendment to the Constitution of
the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory,
or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of
intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby
prohibited.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been
ratified as an Amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the
several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from
the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Amendment XXII

Passed by Congress March 21, 1947. Ratified February 27, 1951.
Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President
more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or
acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some
other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of
President more that once. But this Article shall not apply to any person
holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by
Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office
of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this
Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting
as President during the remainder of such term.

Section 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been
ratified as an Amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of
three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of
its submission to the States by the Congress.

Amendment XXIII

Passed by Congress June 16, 1960. Ratified March 29, 1961.
Section 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the
United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct: A
number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole
number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District
would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the
least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by
the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the
election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a
State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as
provided by the twelfth article of Amendment.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.

Amendment XXIV

Passed by Congress August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964.
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any
primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors
for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in
Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any
State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.

Amendment XXV

Passed by Congress July 6, 1965. Ratified February 10, 1967. Note: Article
II, Section 1, of the Constitution was affected by the 25th Amendment.

Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his
death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice
President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take
office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore
of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his
written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties
of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to
the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice
President as Acting President.

Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the
principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as
Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of
the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written
declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and
duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the
powers and duties of the office as Acting President. Thereafter, when
the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and
the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that
no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office
unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal
officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress
may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro
tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives
their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the
powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the
issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in
session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the
latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within
twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by
two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge
the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue
to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President
shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Amendment XXVI

Passed by Congress March 23, 1971. Ratified July 1, 1971. Note: Amendment
14, Section 2, of the Constitution was modified by Section 1 of the 26th
Amendment.

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen
years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the
United States or by any State on account of age.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.

Amendment XXVII

Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and
Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives
shall have intervened.
 

 
 

Promoting the Freedom, Sovereignty, & Independence of America