August 6 Draft of the Constitution
On Tuesday, July 24, 1787, the Constitutional
Convention appointed members to the Committee of
Detail. The Committee was tasked with taking all of the points debated by
the Convention up to that point and constructing a document that could be used
as a basis for further debate. The members started meeting on the following
Thursday while the rest of the delegates enjoyed some time off from the
debates. For ten days, the five members of the committee met together and in
consultation with their fellow delegates. On August 6, 1787, John Rutledge,
delegate from South Carolina, presented the draft to the Convention.
The following text was taken from Madison's
Notes from the Convention as supplied by The Avalon
Project. The notes presented here have been slightly modified. For example,
Roman numerals were converted to Arabic numbers and abbreviations were
We the people of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island
and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, do
ordain, declare, and establish the following Constitution for the Government of
Ourselves and our Posterity.
The style of the Government shall be, "The United States of America".
The Government shall consist of supreme legislative, executive; and judicial
The legislative power shall be vested in a Congress, to consist of two
separate and distinct bodies of men, a House of Representatives and a Senate;
each of which shall in all cases have a negative on the other. The Legislature
shall meet on the first Monday in December every year. 
Section 1. The members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen every
second year, by the people of the several States comprehended within this
Union. The qualifications of the electors shall be the same, from time to time,
as those of the electors in the several States, of the most numerous branch of
their own legislatures.
Section 2. Every member of the House of Representatives shall be of the age
of twenty five years at least; shall have been a citizen in the United States
for at least three years before his election; and shall be, at the time of his
election, a resident of the State in which he shall be chosen.
Section 3. The House of Representatives shall, at its first formation, and
until the number of citizens and inhabitants shall be taken in the manner
herein after described, consist of sixty five Members, of whom three shall be
chosen in New Hampshire, eight in Massachusetts, one in Rhode Island and
Providence Plantations, five in Connecticut, six in New York, four in
New Jersey, eight in Pennsylvania, one in Delaware, six in Maryland, ten in
Virginia, five in North Carolina, five in South Carolina, and three in
Section 4. As the proportions of numbers in different States will alter from
time to time; as some of the States may hereafter be divided; as others may be
enlarged by addition of territory; as two or more States may be united; as new
States will be erected within the limits of the United States, the Legislature
shall, in each of these cases, regulate the number of representatives by the
number of inhabitants, according to the provisions herein after made, at the
rate of one for every forty thousand. 
Section 5. All bills for raising or appropriating money, and for fixing the
salaries of the officers of Government, shall originate in the House of
Representatives, and shall not be altered or amended by the Senate. No money
shall be drawn from the Public Treasury, but in pursuance of appropriations
that shall originate in the House of Representatives. 
Section 6. The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of
impeachment. It shall choose its Speaker and other officers.
Section 7. Vacancies in the House of Representatives shall be supplied by
writs of election from the executive authority of the State in the
representation from which it shall happen. 
Section 1. The Senate of the United States shall be chosen by the
Legislatures of the several States. Each Legislature shall choose two members.
Vacancies may be supplied by the Executive until the next meeting of the
Legislature. Each member shall have one vote.
Section 2. The Senators shall be chosen for six years; but immediately after
the first election they shall be divided, by lot, into three classes, as nearly
as may be, numbered one, two and three. The seats of the members 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, of the third class at the
expiration of the sixth year, so that a third part of the members may be chosen
every second year.
Section 3. Every member of the Senate shall be of the age of thirty years at
least; shall have been a citizen in the United States for at least four years
before his election; and shall be, at the time of his election, a resident of
the State for which he shall be chosen.
Section 4. The Senate shall choose its own President and other officers.
Section 1. The times and places and manner of holding the elections of the
members of each House shall be prescribed by the Legislature of each State; but
their provisions concerning them may, at any time be altered by the Legislature
of the United States. 
Section 2. The Legislature of the United States shall have authority to
establish such uniform qualifications of the members of each House, with regard
to property, as to the said Legislature shall seem expedient. 
Section 3. In each House a majority of the members shall constitute a quorum
to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day.
Section 4. Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and
qualifications of its own members. 
Section 5. Freedom of speech and debate in the Legislature shall not be
impeached or questioned in any Court or place out of the Legislature; and the
members of each House shall, in all cases, except treason, felony, and breach
of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at Congress,
and in going to and returning from it. 
Section 6. Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings; may punish
its members for disorderly behavior; and may expel a member.
Section 7. The House of Representatives, and the Senate, when it shall be
acting in a legislative capacity, shall keep a journal of their proceedings,
and shall, from time to time, publish them: and the yeas and nays of the
members of each House, on any question, shall at the desire of one-fifth part
of the members present, be entered on the journal.
Section 8. Neither House, without the consent of the other, shall adjourn
for more than three days, nor to any other place than that at which the two
Houses are sitting. But this regulation shall not extend to the Senate, when it
shall exercise the powers mentioned in the — article. 
Section 9. The members of each House shall be ineligible to, and incapable
of holding any office under the authority of the United States, during the time
for which they shall respectively be elected: and the members of the Senate
shall be ineligible to, and incapable of holding any such office for one year
Section 10. The members of each House shall receive a compensation for their
services, to be ascertained and paid by the State, in which they shall be
Section 11. The enacting style of the laws of the United States shall be:
"Be it enacted by the Senate and Representatives in Congress assembled."
Section 12. Each House shall possess the right of originating bills, except
in the cases beforementioned. 
Section 13. 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 for his revision: if, upon such revision, he approve of it,
he shall signify his approbation by signing it: But if, upon such revision, it
shall appear to him improper for being passed into a law, he shall return it,
together with his objections against it, to that House in which it shall have
originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal and
proceed to reconsider the bill. But if after such reconsideration, two thirds
of that House shall, notwithstanding the objections of the President, agree to
pass it, it shall together with his objections, be sent to the other House, by
which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of the
other House also, 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 or against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each House
respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within seven
days after it shall have been presented to him, it shall be a law, unless the
legislature, by their adjournment, prevent its return; in which case it shall
not be a law. 
Section 1. The Legislature of the United States shall have the power to lay
and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises;
To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States;
To establish an uniform rule of naturalization throughout the United
To coin money;
To regulate the value of foreign coin;
To fix the standard of weights and measures;
To establish Post-offices;
To borrow money, and emit bills on the credit of the United States;
To appoint a Treasurer by ballot;
To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
To make rules concerning captures on land and water;
To declare the law and punishment of piracies and felonies committed on the
high seas, and the punishment of counterfeiting the coin of the United States,
and of offenses against the law of nations;
To subdue a rebellion in any State, on the application of its legislature;
To make war;
To raise armies;
To build and equip fleets;
To call forth the aid of the militia, in order to execute the laws of the
Union, enforce treaties, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions;
And to make all laws that 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 2. Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying
war against the United States, or any of them; and in adhering to the enemies
of the United States, or any of them. The Legislature of the United States
shall have power to declare the punishment of treason. No person shall be
convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses. No attainder of
treason shall work corruption of blood, nor forfeiture, except during the life
of the person attainted. 
Section 3. The proportions of direct taxation shall be regulated by the
whole number of white and other free citizens and inhabitants of every age, sex
and condition, including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and
three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing
description, (except Indians not paying taxes) which number shall, within six
years after the first meeting of the Legislature, and within the term of every
ten years afterwards, be taken in such manner as the said Legislature shall
Section 4. No tax or duty shall be laid by the Legislature on articles
exported from any State; nor on the migration or importation of such persons as
the several States shall think proper to admit; nor shall such migration or
importation be prohibited.
Section 5. No capitation tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the
Census herein before directed to be taken.
Section 6. No navigation act shall be passed without the assent of two
thirds of the members present in the each House.
Section 7. The United States shall not grant any title of Nobility. 
The Acts of the Legislature of the United States made in pursuance of this
Constitution, and all treaties made under the authority of the United States
shall be the supreme law of the several States, and of their citizens and
inhabitants; and the judges in the several States shall be bound thereby in
their decisions; any thing in the Constitutions or laws of the several States
to the contrary notwithstanding. 
Section 1. The Senate of the United States shall have power to make
treaties, and to appoint Ambassadors, and Judges of the Supreme Court. 
Section 2. In all disputes and controversies now subsisting, or that may
hereafter subsist between two or more States, respecting jurisdiction or
territory, the Senate shall possess the following powers. Whenever the
Legislature, or the Executive authority, or lawful agent of any State, in
controversy with another, shall by memorial to the Senate, state the matter in
question, and apply for a hearing; notice of such memorial and application
shall be given by order of the Senate, to the Legislature or the Executive
authority of the other State in Controversy. The Senate shall also assign a day
for the appearance of the parties, by their agents, before the House. The
Agents shall be directed to appoint, by joint consent, commissioners or judges
to constitute a Court for hearing and determining the matter in question. But
if the Agents cannot agree, the Senate shall name three persons out of each of
the several States; and from the list of such persons each party shall
alternately strike out one, until the number shall be reduced to thirteen; and
from that number not less than seven nor more than nine names, as the Senate
shall direct, shall in their presence, 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; provided a majority of
the Judges, who shall hear the cause, agree in the determination. If either
party shall neglect to attend at the day assigned, without showing sufficient
reasons for not attending, or being present shall refuse to strike, the Senate
shall proceed to nominate three persons out of each State, and the Clerk of the
Senate shall strike in behalf of the party absent or refusing. If any of the
parties shall refuse to submit to the authority of such Court; or shall not
appear to prosecute or defend their claim or cause, the Court shall
nevertheless proceed to pronounce judgment. The judgment shall be final and
conclusive. The proceedings shall be transmitted to the President of the
Senate, and shall be lodged among the public records, for the security of the
parties concerned. Every Commissioner shall, before he sit in judgment, take an
oath, to be administered 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
favor, affection, or hope of reward."
Section 3. All controversies concerning lands claimed under different grants
of two or more States, whose jurisdictions, as they respect such lands shall
have been decided or adjusted subsequent to such grants, or any of them, shall,
on application to the Senate, be finally determined, as near as may be, in the
same manner as is before prescribed for deciding controversies between
different States. 
Section 1. The Executive Power of the United States shall be vested in a
single person. His style shall be, "The President of the United States of
America;" and his title shall be, "His Excellency." He shall be elected by
ballot by the Legislature. He shall hold his office during the term of seven
years; but shall not be elected a second time. 
Section 2. He shall, from time to time, give information to the Legislature,
of the state of the Union: he may recommend to their consideration such
measures as he shall judge necessary, and expedient: he may convene them on
extraordinary occasions. In case of disagreement between the two Houses, with
regard to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he
thinks proper: he shall take care that the laws of the United States be duly
and faithfully executed: he shall commission all the officers of the United
States; and shall appoint officers in all cases not otherwise provided for by
this Constitution. He shall receive Ambassadors, and may correspond with the
supreme Executives of the several States. He shall have power to grant
reprieves and pardons; but his pardon shall not be pleadable in bar of an
impeachment. He shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United
States, and of the Militia of the several States. He shall, at stated times,
receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor
diminished during his continuance in office. Before he shall enter on the
duties of his department, he shall take the following oath or affirmation, "I
— solemnly swear, (or affirm) that that I will faithfully execute the
office of President of the United States of America." He shall be removed from
his office on impeachment by the House of Representatives, and conviction in
the supreme Court, of treason, bribery, or corruption. In case of his removal
as aforesaid, death, resignation, or disability to discharge the powers and
duties of his office, the President of the Senate shall exercise those powers
and duties, until another President of the United States be chosen, or until
the disability of the President be removed. 
Section 1. The Judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one
Supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as shall, when necessary, from time
to time, be constituted by the Legislature of the United States.
Section 2. The Judges of the Supreme Court, and of the Inferior Courts,
shall hold their offices during good behavior. They shall, at stated times,
receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished
during their continuance in office. 
Section 3. The Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court shall extend to all cases
arising under laws passed by the Legislature of the United States; to all cases
affecting Ambassadors, other Public Ministers and Consuls; to the trial of
impeachments of officers of the United States; to all cases of Admiralty and
maritime jurisdiction; to controversies between two or more States, (except
such as shall regard Territory or Jurisdiction) between a State and Citizens of
another State, between Citizens of different States, and between a State or the
Citizens thereof and foreign States, citizens or subjects. In cases of
impeachment, cases affecting Ambassadors, other Public Ministers and Consuls,
and those in which a State shall be party, this jurisdiction shall be original.
In all the other cases beforementioned, it shall be appellate, with such
exceptions and under such regulations as the Legislature shall make. The
Legislature may assign any part of the jurisdiction abovementioned (except the
trial of the President of the United States) in the manner, and under the
limitations which it shall think proper, to such Inferior Courts, as it shall
constitute from time to time.
Section 4. The trial of all criminal offenses (except in cases of
impeachments) shall be in the State where they shall be committed; and shall be
by Jury. 
Section 5. 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. 
No State shall coin money; nor grant letters of marque and reprisal; nor
enter into any Treaty, alliance, or confederation; nor grant any title of
No State, without the consent of the Legislature of the United States, shall
emit bills of credit, or make any thing but specie a tender in payment of
debts; nor lay imposts or duties on imports; nor keep troops or ships of war in
time of peace; nor enter into any agreement or compact with another State, or
with any foreign power; nor engage in any war, unless it shall be actually
invaded by enemies, or the danger of invasion be so imminent, as not to admit
of delay, until the Legislature of the United States can be consulted. 
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and
immunities of citizens in the several States. 
Any person charged with treason, felony or high misdemeanor in any State,
who shall flee from justice, and shall be found in any other State, shall, on
demand of the Executive power of the State from which he fled, be delivered up
and removed to the State having jurisdiction of the offense. 
Full faith shall be given in each State to the acts of the Legislatures, and
to the records and judicial proceedings of the Courts and magistrates of every
other State. 
New States lawfully constituted or established within the limits of the
United States may be admitted, by the Legislature, into this Government; but to
such admission the consent of two thirds of the members present in each House
shall be necessary. If a new State shall arise within the limits of any of the
present States, the consent of the Legislatures of such States shall be also
necessary to its admission. If the admission be consented to, the new States
shall be admitted on the same terms with the original States. But the
Legislature may make conditions with the new States, concerning the public debt
which shall be then subsisting. 
The United States shall guarantee to each State a Republican form of
Government; and shall protect each State against foreign invasions, and, on the
application of its Legislature, against domestic violence. 
On the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the States in the
Union, for an amendment of this Constitution, the Legislature of the United
States shall call a Convention for that purpose. 
The members of the Legislatures, and the Executive and Judicial officers of
the United States, and of the several States, shall be bound by oath to support
this Constitution. 
The ratifications of the Conventions of — States shall be sufficient
for organizing this Constitution. 
This Constitution shall be laid before the United States in Congress
assembled, for their approbation; and it is the opinion of this Convention,
that it should be afterwards submitted to a Convention chosen, under the
recommendation of its legislature, in order to receive the ratification of such
To introduce this government, it is the opinion of this Convention, that
each assenting Convention should notify its assent and ratification to the
United States in Congress assembled; that Congress, after receiving the assent
and ratification of the Conventions of — States, should appoint and
publish a day, as early as may be, and appoint a place for commencing
proceedings under this Constitution; that after such publication, the
Legislatures of the several States should elect members of the Senate, and
direct the election of members of the House of Representatives; and that the
members of the Legislature should meet at the time and place assigned by
Congress, and should, as soon as may be, after their meeting, choose the
President of the United States, and proceed to execute this Constitution."
The following footnotes indicate where parts of this draft ended up in the
final draft of the Constitution, or if they were
1. This article was not included in the final draft.
2. This article was not included in the final draft.
3. Elements of this article appear in Article 1, Section 1; Section
4; and Section 7.
4. The elements of sections 1 through 4 appear in Article 1, Section 2.
5. A modified version of this clause appears in Article 1, Section 7.
6.The elements of sections 5 and 6 appear in Article 1, Section 2.
7.The elements of this article appear in Article 1, Section 3.
8. This section appears in Article 1, Section 4.
9. This section was not included in the final draft.
10. The elements of section 3 and 4 appear in Article 1, Section 5.
11. The elements of this section appear in Article 1, Section 6.
12. The elements of sections 6 through 8 appear in Article 1, Section 5.
13. The ineligibility rule appears in Article 1, Section 6. The post-term prohibition
on the taking of a government position was not included in the final draft.
14. This section appears in Article 1, Section 6, but was changed to pay
members of Congress from the national treasury.
15. This section was not included in the final draft.
16. This section was included in the final draft only by
17. The elements of this section appear in Article 1, Section 7.
18. The elements of this section appear in Article 1, Section 8. Notably, the selection of a
Treasurer was not included in the final draft.
19. The elements of this section appear in Article 3, Section 3.
20. The elements of this section appear in Article 1, Section 2.
21. The elements of sections 4 through 7 appear in Article 1, Section 9.
22. The elements of this section appear in Article 6.
23. The powers in this section were given to the President
in Article 2, Section 2.
24. Most of the details of sections 2 and 3 were not
included in the final draft. The power to adjudicate disputes between states
was given to the Supreme Court in Article 3,
25. Most of the details of this section were not included
in the final draft. The only surviving details, that the executive is a single
person called President, are found in Article 2,
26. Most of the details of this section survive throughout
27. The elements of sections 1 and 2 appear in Article 3, Section 1.
28. The elements of sections 3 and 4 appear in Article 3, Section 2.
29. The elements of this section appear in Article 1, Section 3.
30. The elements of this article appear in Article 1, Section 10.
31. The elements of this article appear in Article 1, Section 10.
32. The elements of this article appear in Article 4, Section 2.
33. The elements of this article appear in Article 4, Section 2.
34. The elements of this article appear in Article 4, Section 1.
35. The elements of this article appear in Article 4, Section 3.
36. The elements of this article appear in Article 4, Section 4.
37. This article was expanded and appears in Article 5.
38. The elements of this article appear in Article 6.
39. The elements of this article appear in Article 7.
40. This article was not included in the final draft. See,
however, the Letter of Transmittal.
41. This article was not included in the final draft. See,
however, the Letter of Transmittal.