Constitution of the United States

Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.
Signing of the Constitution, September 17, 1787 (1940 by Howard Chandler Christy)
Dates the 13 states ratified the Constitution
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"We the People" in an original edition
Closing endorsement section of the United States Constitution
United States Bill of Rights
Currently housed in the National Archives.
John Jay, 1789–1795
John Marshall, 1801–1835
Salmon P. Chase {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Chase Court, 1864–1873, in 1865 were Salmon P. Chase (chief Justice); Hon. Nathan Clifford, Maine; Stephen J. Field, Justice Supreme Court, U.S.; Hon. Samuel F. Miller, U.S. Supreme Court; Hon. Noah H. Swayne, Justice Supreme Court, U.S.; Judge Morrison R. Waite}}
William Howard Taft {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Taft Court, 1921–1930, in 1925 were James Clark McReynolds, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., William Howard Taft (chief justice), Willis Van Devanter, Louis Brandeis. Edward Sanford, George Sutherland, Pierce Butler, Harlan Fiske Stone}}
Earl Warren {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Warren Court, 1953–1969, in 1963 were Felix Frankfurter; Hugo Black; Earl Warren (chief justice); Stanley Reed; William O. Douglas. Tom Clark; Robert H. Jackson; Harold Burton; Sherman Minton}}
William Rehnquist {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Rehnquist Court, 1986–2005.}}
José Rizal
Sun Yat-sen

Supreme law of the United States of America.

- Constitution of the United States
Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.

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Constitution

Aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of entity and commonly determine how that entity is to be governed.

Aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of entity and commonly determine how that entity is to be governed.

Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)
Constitution of the Kingdom of Naples in 1848.
Detail from Hammurabi's stele shows him receiving the laws of Babylon from the seated sun deity.
Diagram illustrating the classification of constitutions by Aristotle.
Third volume of the compilation of Catalan Constitutions of 1585
The Cossack Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk, 1710.
A painting depicting George Washington at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution
Constitution of May 3, 1791 (painting by Jan Matejko, 1891). Polish King Stanisław August (left, in regal ermine-trimmed cloak), enters St. John's Cathedral, where Sejm deputies will swear to uphold the new Constitution; in background, Warsaw's Royal Castle, where the Constitution has just been adopted.
Presidential copy of the Russian Constitution.
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United States Constitution

The Constitution of San Marino might be the world's oldest active written constitution, since some of its core documents have been in operation since 1600, while the Constitution of the United States is the oldest active codified constitution.

Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.

Article Four of the United States Constitution

Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.

Article Four of the United States Constitution outlines the relationship between the various states, as well as the relationship between each state and the United States federal government.

Supreme Court of the United States

Highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States.

Highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States.

The Court lacked its own building until 1935; from 1791 to 1801, it met in Philadelphia's City Hall.
The Royal Exchange, New York City, the first meeting place of the Supreme Court
Chief Justice Marshall (1801–1835)
The U.S. Supreme Court Building, current home of the Supreme Court, which opened in 1935.
The Hughes Court in 1937, photographed by Erich Salomon. Members include Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes (center), Louis Brandeis, Benjamin N. Cardozo, Harlan Stone, Owen Roberts, and the "Four Horsemen" Pierce Butler, James Clark McReynolds, George Sutherland, and Willis Van Devanter, who opposed New Deal policies.
Justices of the Supreme Court with President George W. Bush (center-right) in October 2005. The justices (left to right) are: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, Antonin Scalia, John Paul Stevens, John Roberts, Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Stephen Breyer
John Roberts giving testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the 2005 hearings on his nomination to be chief justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg giving testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the 1993 hearings on her nomination to be an associate justice
The interior of the United States Supreme Court
The first four female justices: O'Connor, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Kagan.
The current Roberts Court justices (since October 2020): Front row (left to right): Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. Back row (left to right): Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett.
Percentage of cases decided unanimously and by a one-vote margin from 1971 to 2016
The present U.S. Supreme Court building as viewed from the front
From the 1860s until the 1930s, the court sat in the Old Senate Chamber of the U.S. Capitol.
Seth P. Waxman at oral argument presents his case and answers questions from the justices.
Inscription on the wall of the Supreme Court Building from Marbury v. Madison, in which Chief Justice John Marshall outlined the concept of judicial review

The court holds the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the Constitution.

State debt to GDP (2017)

State governments of the United States

State governments of the United States are institutional units exercising functions of government at a level below that of the federal government.

State governments of the United States are institutional units exercising functions of government at a level below that of the federal government.

State debt to GDP (2017)

The United States comprises 50 states: 9 of the Thirteen Colonies that were already part of the United States at the time the present Constitution took effect in 1789, 4 that ratified the constitution after its commencement, plus 37 that have been admitted since by Congress as authorized under Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution.

United States Bill of Rights

On June 5, 1788, Patrick Henry spoke before Virginia's ratification convention in opposition to the Constitution.
George Washington's 1788 letter to the Marquis de Lafayette observed, "the Convention of Massachusetts adopted the Constitution in toto; but recommended a number of specific alterations and quieting explanations." Source: Library of Congress
James Madison, primary author and chief advocate for the Bill of Rights in the First Congress

The United States Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.

In 1868, this committee of representatives prosecuted President Andrew Johnson in his impeachment trial, but the Senate did not convict him.

United States Congress

Legislature of the federal government of the United States.

Legislature of the federal government of the United States.

In 1868, this committee of representatives prosecuted President Andrew Johnson in his impeachment trial, but the Senate did not convict him.
The 1940 painting Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, depicting George Washington presiding over the signing of the United States Constitution.
United States Congress c. 1915
Historical graph of party control of the Senate, House, and Presidency. Since 1980, the Democrats have held the Presidency for four terms, but because of the Senate filibuster, have only been able to freely legislate in two years. The Republicans have been similarly disabled.
Congress's "power of the purse" authorizes taxing citizens, spending money, and printing currency.
Congress authorizes defense spending such as the purchase of the USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31).
Congress oversees other government branches, for example, the Senate Watergate Committee, investigating President Nixon and Watergate, in 1973–74.
View of the United States Capitol from the United States Supreme Court building
The impeachment trial of President Clinton in 1999, Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding
Second committee room in Congress Hall in Philadelphia
Library of Congress Jefferson Building
Lobbying depends on cultivating personal relationships over many years. Photo: Lobbyist Tony Podesta (left) with former senator Kay Hagan (center) and her husband.
An Act of Congress from 1960.
The House Financial Services committee meets. Committee members sit in the tiers of raised chairs, while those testifying, and audience members sit below.
In this example, the more even distribution is on the left and the gerrymandering is presented on the right.
The Federalist Papers argued in favor of a strong connection between citizens and their representatives.

The Congress was created by the Constitution of the United States and first met in 1789, replacing in its legislative function the Congress of the Confederation.

The U.S. constitutional amendment process

Article Five of the United States Constitution

The U.S. constitutional amendment process
Resolution proposing the Nineteenth Amendment
Tennessee certificate of ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. With this ratification, the amendment became valid as a part of the Constitution.

Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process for altering the Constitution.

Constitutional Convention (United States)

The Constitutional Convention took place in Philadelphia from May 25 to September 17, 1787.

The Constitutional Convention took place in Philadelphia from May 25 to September 17, 1787.

Independence Hall's Assembly Room
James Madison, the author of the Virginia Plan
Virginia Plan
Charles Pinckney Plan
Edmund Randolph, the Governor of Virginia, introduced the Virginia Plan
James Wilson's ideas shaped the American presidency more than any other delegate
New Jersey Plan
Hamilton's Plan
Roger Sherman of Connecticut
Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania
Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, by Howard Chandler Christy (1940)
U.S. Postage, Issue of 1937, depicting Delegates at the signing of the Constitution, engraving after a painting by Junius Brutus Stearns
Quaker John Dickinson argued forcefully against slavery during the convention. Once Delaware's largest slaveholder, he had freed all of his slaves by 1787.

The result of the convention was the creation of the Constitution of the United States, placing the Convention among the most significant events in American history.

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U.S. state

Constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50.

Constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50.

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Ownership of federal lands in the 50 states
U.S. states by date of statehood:
The order in which the original 13 states ratified the Constitution, then the order in which the others were admitted to the Union
A map showing the source languages of state names

All are grounded in republican principles (this being required by the federal constitution), and each provides for a government, consisting of three branches, each with separate and independent powers: executive, legislative, and judicial.

Palace of Westminster in February 2007

Continental Congress

Series of legislative bodies, with some executive function, for thirteen of Britain's colonies in North America, and the newly declared United States just before, during, and after the American Revolutionary War.

Series of legislative bodies, with some executive function, for thirteen of Britain's colonies in North America, and the newly declared United States just before, during, and after the American Revolutionary War.

Palace of Westminster in February 2007

The term "Continental Congress" most specifically refers to the First and Second Congresses of 1774–1781 and, at the time, was also used to refer to the Congress of the Confederation of 1781–1789, which operated as the first national government of the United States until being replaced under the Constitution of the United States.