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the other States in the Union, at a time and place to be agreed on, to take into consideration the trade of the United States; to examine the relative situation and trade of the said States; to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial relations may be necessary to their common interest and their permanent harmony; and to report to the several States such an act relative to this great object, as, when unanimously ratified by them, will enable the United States, in Congress assembled, effectually to provide for the same."
In the circular letter transmitting these resolutions to the respective States, Annapolis, in Maryland, was proposed as the place, and the ensuing September as the time, of meeting.
The Convention at Annapolis was attended by commissioners from only five States, [New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia.] These, after appointing Mr. DICKINSON their Chairman, proceeded to discuss the objects for which they had convened. Perceiving that more ample powers would be required to effect the beneficial purposes which they contemplated, and hoping to procure a representation from a greater number of States, the Convention determined to rise without coming to any specific resolutions on the particular subject which had been referred to them. Previous to their adjournment, however, they agreed on a Report to be made to their respective States, in which they represented the necessity of extending the revision of the federal system to all its defects, and recommended that Deputies for that purpose be appointed by the several Legislatures, to meet in Convention in the city of Philadelphia, on the second day of the ensuing May.
The reasons for preferring a Convention to a discussion of this subject in Congress, were stated to be "that, in the latter body, it might be too much interrupted by the ordinary business before them, and would, besides, be deprived of the valuable counsels of sundry individuals who were disqualified by the constitution or laws of particular States, or by peculiar circumstances, from a seat in that assembly."
A copy of this Report was transmitted to Congress in a letter from the Chairman, stating the inefficacy of the Federal Government, and the necessity of devising such further provisions as would render it adequate to the exigencies of the Union.
On receiving this Report, the Legislature of Virginia passed an act for the appointment of Deputies, to meet such as might be appointed by other States; to assemble in Convention at Philadelphia, at the time, and for the purposes specified in the recommendation from the Convention which had met at Annapolis.
At the time and place appointed, the Representatives of twelve States convened. In Rhode Island alone, a spirit sufficiently hostile to every species of reform was found, to prevent the election of Deputies on an occasion so generally deemed momentous. Having unanimously chosen General WASHINGTON for their President, the Convention proceeded, with closed doors, to discuss the interesting and extensive subject submitted to their
On the 17th of September, the Constitution was presented to the American public. The instrument, with its accompanying resolutions, was, by the
unanimous order of the Convention, transmitted to Congress in the following letter:
IN CONVENTION, September 17, 1787.
SIR: We have now the honor to submit to the consideration of the United States in Congress assembled, that Constitution which has appeared to us the most advisable.
The friends of our country have long seen and desired that the power of making war, peace, and treaties, that of levying money, and regulating commerce, and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities, should be fully and effectually vested in the General Government of the Union; but the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident: hence results the necessity of a different organization.
It is obviously impracticable in the Federal Government of these States to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all. Individuals entering into society must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be preserved; and, on the present occasion, this difficulty was increased by a difference among the several States as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.
In all our deliberations on this subject, we kept steadily in our view that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our Union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, safety-perhaps our national existence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each State in the Convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude than might have been otherwise expected; and thus, the Constitution which we now present is the result of a spirit of amity, and of that mutual deference and concession, which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensable.
That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every State is not, perhaps, to be expected; but each will, doubtless, consider, that had her interest alone been consulted, the consequences might have been particularly disagreeable or injurious to others; that it is liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably have been expected, we hope and believe; that it may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish. With great respect, we have the honor to be, sir, your excellency's most obedient and humble servants. By the unanimous order of the Convention.
GEO. WASHINGTON, President.
His Excellency the President of Congress.
Congress resolved, unanimously, that the Report, with the letter accompanying it, be transmitted to the several Legislatures, in order to be submitted to a Convention of Delegates chosen in each State by the People thereof.
After a discussion of the Constitution in the Conventions of the several States, during which its ultimate fate hung for some time in dubious and painful suspense, the Conventions of eleven out of the thirteen States assented to, and ratified the Constitution in the following form:
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES,
AS ORIGINALLY ADOPTED.*
WE, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, 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.
ARTICLE I.—SECTION 1.
1. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 choose 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.
4. When vacancies happen in the representation from any State, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.
5. The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker, and other officers, and shall have the sole power of impeachment.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.
5. The Senate shall choose 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
* The Amendments subsequently adopted, and which are now a part of the Constitution, will be found in the Appendix, at the close of this volume.
1. The times, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representati ves, 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 choosing Senators.
2. 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.
1. 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.
2. Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.
3. 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 request 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.
4. 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.
1. 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 or returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.
2. 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 increased 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.
1. 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.
2. 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 person 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 sam shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment pre vent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.
3. Every order, resolution, or vote, to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Repre sentatives may be necessary, (except on a question of adjournment,) shall be presented to the Pres dent of the United States; and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or, bein disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representative according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.
The Congress shall have power
1. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for th common defence and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts, and excises, sha be uniform throughout the United States:
2. To borrow money on the credit of the United States:
3. To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indi tribes:
4. To establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankru cies throughout the United States:
5. To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weig and measures:
6. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the Uni States:
7. To establish post offices and post roads:
8. 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 :
9. 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:
10. To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on
land and water:
11. To raise and support armies; but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years:
12. To provide and maintain a navy :
13. To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces:
14. To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions:
15. 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 :
16. 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 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, dockyards, and other needful buildings: and,
17. 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.
1. 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.
2. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.
3. No bill of attainder, or ex post facto law, shall be passed.
4. No capitation or other direct tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
5. No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any State; no preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one State over those of another; nor shall vessels bound to or from one State be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another.
6. 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.
7. 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.
1. No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything 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.
2. 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 its 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 control of the Congress. No State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.
ARTICLE II.-SECTION 1.
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:
2. 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.
3. 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