Article 1 of the US Constitution

 

President George Washington

What does Article 1 of the US Constitution deal with?
The US Constitution was written on June 21, 1788 and consisted of seven parts, called 'Articles'. Article 1 of the US Constitution deals with the Legislative Branch (the Senate and the House of Representatives).

Overall Summary of Article 1 of the US Constitution
Definition and Summary: Article 1 of the US Constitution is very long, consisting of 10 sections. It can be summarized by saying that it primarily deals with Congress. Article 1 explains who may become a representative, and who may become a senator. It then explains all of the powers that Congress and the individual states have, and what Congress and the states are not be allowed to do.

Article 1 of the US Constitution Text
The text of Article 1 of the US Constitution, can be found at the end of this page divided into sections and clause numbers as an easy reference tool. Each of the clauses have been explained and summarized.

Article 1 of the US Constitution: Summary of Section 1 - The Legislative Powers of Congress
The first section of Article 1 of the US Constitution establishes the 1st of the 3 branches of the government, the Legislative Branch (the Senate and the House of Representatives). The name of the Legislature is given as 'The Congress' which is a bicameral, or two-part, body.

Article 1 of the US Constitution: Summary of Section 2 - The House of Representatives
The second section of Article 1 of the US Constitution
defines the House of Representatives, that is also known as the lower house of Congress.

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 1 deals with the election and composition of members of the House of Representatives
Article 1, Section 2, Clause 2 deals with the conditions required to become a Representative - age etc.
Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 (Three-Fifths Clause) deals with distribution of Representatives and taxes
Article 1, Section 2, Clause 4 deals with vacancies in the House of Representatives
Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5 deals with the Speaker, other officeholders and Impeachment

Article 1 of the US Constitution: Summary of Section 3 - The Senate
The third section of Article 1 of the US Constitution explains the organization and function of the Senate, the upper house of Congress, and the requirements of the Senators.

 
Article 1, Section 3, Clause 1 deals with the election and composition of Senators
Article 1, Section 3, Clause 2 deals with the organization of Senators and the subject of vacancies
Article 1, Section 3, Clause 3 deals with the conditions required to become a Senator - age etc.
Article 1, Section 3, Clause 4 establishes the Vice President as the President of the Senate and details voting rights
Article 1, Section 3, Clause 5 deals with President pro tempore and other officials

Article 1 of the US Constitution: Summary of Section 4 - Congressional Elections
The fourth section of Article 1 of the US Constitution is about congressional elections

 
Article 1, Section 4, Clause 1 deals with the place, the time and method of state elections
Article 1, Section 4, Clause 2 deals with the sessions of Congress

Article 1 of the US Constitution: Summary of Section 5 - Procedures, Behavior and Records
The fifth section of Article 1 of the US Constitution deals with rules, behavior and recording procedures.

 
Article 1, Section 5, Clause 1 deals with the running, responsibilities and requirements of each house
Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2 deals with rules of behavior
Article 1, Section 5, Clause 3 deals with recording proceedings
Article 1, Section 5, Clause 4 deals with rules relating to adjournment

Section 5 says that Congress must have a minimum number of members present in order to meet, and that it may set fines for members who do not show up. It says that members may be expelled, that each house must keep a journal to record proceedings and votes, and that neither house can adjourn without the permission of the other.

Article 1 of the US Constitution: Summary of Section 6 - Compensation, Privileges and Restrictions
The sixth section of Article 1 of the US Constitution refers to payments of members of Congress and restricts members from taking other jobs.

 
Article 1, Section 6, Clause 1 (the Speech & Debate Clause) deals with legal protection, privileges and payments
Article 1, Section 6, Clause 2 deals with restrictions of members

Article 1 of the US Constitution: Summary of Section 7 - Bills (Laws)
The seventh section of Article 1 of the US Constitution deals with the process of passing laws.

 
Article 1, Section 7, Clause 1 (the Origination Clause) deals with rules for bills to raise revenue. A Bill refers draft of a proposed law presented for approval to a legislative body.
Article 1, Section 7, Clause 2 (the Presentment Clause) details how bills become law ( Bills or laws enacted from drafts)
Article 1, Section 7, Clause 3 deals with the Presidential Veto in relation to Bills (laws)

Article 1 of the US Constitution: Summary of Section 8 - Powers of Congress
The eighth section of Article 1 of the US Constitution defines essential elements required to run the government.

 
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 (General Welfare Clause) deals with the power of Congress to collect taxes and pay debts
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 2 deals with the power to borrow Money on the credit of the United States
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 (the Commerce Clause) deals with regulating trade
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 deals with rules for the naturalization of immigrants and ensuring consistent bankruptcy laws
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5 (the Coinage Clause) deals with the powers of Congress to produce coins, print bills, control the money supply and set weights and measures
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 6 deals with punishments for counterfeiters
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7 deals with the power of Congress to create post offices
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 (the Patent & Copyright Clause) deals with giving copyrights and patents to authors and inventors
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 9 deals with setting up courts lower than the Supreme Court
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 10 deals with laws against piracy and breaking International Law
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 deals with the power of Congress to declare war
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 12 deals with the power of Congress to raise and pay for armies
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 13 deals with the power of Congress to raise to pay for a navy
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 14 gives the powers to regulate the navy and the army
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15 deals with powers to enforce laws, call out the militia (National Guard) and fight enemies
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16 deals with arming, training, regulating and disciplining the militia. States allowed to appoint and train militia.
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 (Enclave Clause) enables Congress to govern the District of Columbia
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18 (the Elastic Clause) gives Congress the power to make the laws needed to carry out the requirements of the Constitution

Article 1 of the US Constitution: Summary of Section 9 - Limits on Congress
The ninth section of Article 1 of the US Constitution
details certain limits on Congress and prohibits the suspension of some existing laws. It also says that no law can give preference to one state over another, no titles should be given and that money from the US treasury cannot be used except by duly passed law.

 
Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1 relates to Congress not interfering with early laws relating to slavery - refer to the Slave Trade Compromise

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2 establishes that people may not be kept in jail without a hearing, unless safety of the public is at risk. This refers to the Writ of Habeas Corpus, an important right requiring that a prisoner must be brought before the court to determine whether the government has the right to continue detaining them.

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 3  (the Ex Post Facto Clause) establishes that a person cannot be found guilty of a crime without having a trial and that no law shall to make something illegal after it has been done, when it was not against the law when it was done.
Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4 relates to taxes in proportion to numbers of people in a state - it was changed by the 16th Amendment
Article 1, Section 9, Clause 5 says that there shall be no tax on items imported from any state

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 6 relates to ports and says that all state ports shall be treated equally in terms of regulations and taxes. No taxes for ships going into the port of another state

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 (the Statement & Account Clause) states that money in the US Treasury cannot used unless Congress passes a law to do so. It also says that Congress will publish a regular statement and account of income and expenses.

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 states that the US will not give anyone any titles such as king, prince, earl, baron, duke, etc. No government official shall accept any gifts, or pay, or job, or title of any kind from any foreign country.

Article 1 of the US Constitution: Summary of Section 10 - Limits on the States
The tenth section of Article 1 of the US Constitution details the limits  placed on states.

 
Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1 (the Contracts Clause) says that individual states may not make treaties with any other countries, confer title, give presents, coin or print money. States may not convict people without a trial, make laws and then convict after the event or make laws that reduce the obligations in a contract
Article 1, Section 10, Clause 2 (the Import-Export Clause) says States may not collect or taxes on imports or exports.
Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3 (the Compact Clause)  says that states must not tax ships, keep soldiers or warships in peacetime, go to war or make agreements with any foreign countries, unless agreed by Congress.
 

Presidential Seal

 

Text of Article 1 of the US Constitution including amendments
The full text of the Article 1 of the US Constitution includes parts that have been amended or superseded the original wording. Each section is shown separately for ease of reading. Each section is divided into clause numbers. Specific parts of Article 1 can therefore be referred to be sections and clause numbers.

Text of Article 1 of the US Constitution - Section 1

 

Article 1 of the US Constitution Text - Article 1, Section 1

Article 1, 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 of Representatives.

Text of Article 1 of the US Constitution - Section 2

 

Article 1 of the US Constitution Text - Article 1, Section 2

Article 1, Section 2.

Clause 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.

Clause 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.

Clause 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 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.

Clause 4: When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

Clause 5: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Text of Article 1 of the US Constitution - Section 3

 

Article 1 of the US Constitution Text - Article 1, Section 3

Article 1, Section 3.

Clause 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.

Clause 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.

Clause 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.

Clause 4: The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

Clause 5: 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.

Clause 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.

Clause 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.

Text of Article 1 of the US Constitution - Section 4

 

Article 1 of the US Constitution Text - Article 1, Section 4

Article 1, Section 4.

Clause 1: 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.

Clause 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.

Text of Article 1 of the US Constitution - Section 5

 

Article 1 of the US Constitution Text - Article 1, Section 5

Article 1, Section 5.

Clause 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.

Clause 2: 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.

Clause 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 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.

Clause 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.

Text of Article 1 of the US Constitution - Section 6

 

Article 1 of the US Constitution Text - Article 1, Section 6

Article 1, Section 6.

Clause 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 and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

Clause 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.

Text of Article 1 of the US Constitution - Section 7

 

Article 1 of the US Constitution Text - Article 1, Section 7

Article 1, Section 7.

Clause 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.

Clause 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 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.

Clause 3: 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.

Text of Article 1 of the US Constitution - Section 8

 

Article 1 of the US Constitution Text - Article 1, Section 8

Article 1, Section 8.

Clause 1: 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;

Clause 2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Clause 4: To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

Clause 5: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

Clause 6: To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

Clause 7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

Clause 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;

Clause 9: To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;

Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Clause 16: 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;

Clause 17: 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

Clause 18: 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.

Text of Article 1 of the US Constitution - Section 9

 

Article 1 of the US Constitution Text - Article 1, Section 9

Article 1, Section 9.

Clause 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.

Clause 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.

Clause 3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

Clause 4: No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

Clause 5: No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

Clause 6: 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.

Clause 7: 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.

Clause 8: 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.

Text of Article 1 of the US Constitution - Section 10

 

Article 1 of the US Constitution Text - Article 1, Section 10

Article 1, Section 10.

Clause 1: 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.

Clause 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 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 Control of the Congress.

Clause 3: 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 1 of the US Constitution: Video of the Presidents
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