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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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.

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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.

President of the United States

Head of state and head of government of the United States of America.

Head of state and head of government of the United States of America.

George Washington, the first president of the United States
President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers a radio address, 1933
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King Jr. and others look on
President Donald Trump delivers his 2018 State of the Union Address, with Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
President George H. W. Bush and Russian President Gorbachev sign the 1990 Chemical Weapons Accord in the White House.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, successfully preserved the Union during the American Civil War.
President Barack Obama with his Supreme Court appointee Justice Sotomayor, 2009
President Ronald Reagan reviews honor guards during a state visit to China, 1984
President Woodrow Wilson throws out the ceremonial first ball on Opening Day, 1916
President Jimmy Carter (left) debates Republican nominee Ronald Reagan on October 28, 1980.
Map of the United States showing the number of electoral votes allocated following the 2010 census to each state and the District of Columbia for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 presidential elections; it also notes that Maine and Nebraska distribute electors by way of the congressional district method. 270 electoral votes are required for a majority out of 538 votes possible.
Franklin D. Roosevelt won a record four presidential elections (1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944), leading to the adoption of a two-term limit.
President William McKinley and his successor, Theodore Roosevelt
President Reagan surrounded by Secret Service
From left: George H. W. Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter. Photo taken in the Oval Office on January 7, 2009; Obama formally took office thirteen days later.
Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, 2013
White House, the official residence
Camp David, the official retreat
Blair House, the official guest house
The presidential limousine, dubbed "The Beast"
The presidential plane, called Air Force One when the president is on board
Marine One helicopter, when the president is aboard

It was through the closed-door negotiations at Philadelphia that the presidency framed in the U.S. Constitution emerged.

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.

U.S. Senator from Michigan Jacob M. Howard, author of the Citizenship Clause

Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

U.S. Senator from Michigan Jacob M. Howard, author of the Citizenship Clause
Rep. John Bingham of Ohio was the principal author of the Equal Protection Clause
Thurgood Marshall served as chief counsel in the landmark Fourteenth Amendment decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
Senate and House votes on the Fourteenth Amendment
Form of the Letter of Transmittal of the Fourteenth Amendment to the several states for its ratification

The Fourteenth Amendment (Amendment XIV) to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.

Opening of the 112th Congress in the House of Representatives chamber, January 5, 2011

Article One of the United States Constitution

Opening of the 112th Congress in the House of Representatives chamber, January 5, 2011
Gilded Age monopolies could no longer control the U.S. Senate (left) by corrupting state legislatures (right).
The impeachment trial of President Clinton in 1999, with Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding
Newly naturalized citizen Albert Einstein received his certificate of American citizenship from Judge Phillip Forman.
Congress's "power of the purse" authorizes taxing citizens, spending money, issuing notes and minting coins.
Chief Justice John Marshall established a broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause.
Congress authorizes defense spending such as the purchase of the USS Bon Homme Richard.
U.S. brig Perry confronting the slave ship Martha off Ambriz on June 6, 1850

Article One of the United States Constitution establishes the legislative branch of the federal government, the United States Congress.

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.

Electoral votes, out of 538, allocated to each state and the District of Columbia for presidential elections to be held in 2024 and 2028, based on representation, which depends on population data from the 2020 census. Every jurisdiction is entitled to at least 3.

United States Electoral College

Electoral votes, out of 538, allocated to each state and the District of Columbia for presidential elections to be held in 2024 and 2028, based on representation, which depends on population data from the 2020 census. Every jurisdiction is entitled to at least 3.
In the 2020 presidential election (held using 2010 census data) Joe Biden received 306 and Donald Trump 232 of the total 538 electoral votes.
In Maine (upper-right) and Nebraska (center), the small circled numbers indicate congressional districts. These are the only two states to use a district method for some of their allocated electors, instead of a complete winner-takes-all.
Cases of certificates of the electoral college votes confirming the results of the 2020 US election, after they had been removed from the House Chambers by congressional staff during the 2021 U.S. Capitol attack.
After the popular election in November, a state's Certificate of Ascertainment officially announces the state's electors for the Electoral College. The appointed Electoral College members later meet in the state capital in December to cast their votes.
Population per electoral vote for each state and Washington, D.C. (2010 census). By 2020 estimates, a single elector could represent more than 700,000 people or under 200,000.
When the state's electors meet in December, they cast their ballots and record their vote on a Certificate of Vote, which is then sent to the U.S. Congress. (From the election of 1876)
This cartogram shows the number of electors from each state for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. Following the 2010 Census, New York and Ohio lost two electoral votes, 8 states lost one, 6 states gained one, Florida gained two, and Texas gained four.
This graphic demonstrates how the winner of the popular vote can still lose in an electoral college system similar to the U.S. Electoral College.
Bar graph of popular votes in presidential elections (through 2020). Black stars mark the five cases where the winner did not have the plurality of the popular vote. Black squares mark the two cases where the electoral vote resulted in a tie, or the winner did not have the majority of electoral votes. An H marks each of two cases where the election was decided by the House; an S marks the one case where the election was finalized by the Supreme Court.
These maps show the amount of attention given to each state by the Bush and Kerry campaigns (combined) during the final five weeks of the 2004 election: each waving hand (purple map) represents a visit from a presidential or vice presidential candidate; each dollar sign (green map) represents one million dollars spent on TV advertising.
Half the U.S. population lives in 143 urban / suburban counties out of 3,143 counties or county equivalents (2019 American Community Survey)

The United States Electoral College is the group of presidential electors required by the Constitution to form every four years for the sole purpose of appointing the president and vice president.

Articles of Confederation

Agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America that served as its first frame of government.

Agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America that served as its first frame of government.

1977 13-cent U.S. Postage stamp commemorating the Articles of Confederation bicentennial; the draft was completed on November 15, 1777
The Act of the Maryland legislature to ratify the Articles of Confederation, February 2, 1781
Preamble to Art. V, Sec. 1
Art. V, Sec. 2 to Art. VI
Art. VII to Art. IX, Sec. 2
Art. IX, Sec. 2 to Sec. 5
Art. IX, Sec. 5 to Art. XIII, Sec. 2
Art. XIII, Sec. 2 to signatures

On March 4, 1789, the government under the Articles was replaced with the federal government under the Constitution.

Portrait by John Vanderlyn, 1816

James Madison

American statesman, diplomat, and Founding Father who served as the 4th president of the United States from 1809 to 1817.

American statesman, diplomat, and Founding Father who served as the 4th president of the United States from 1809 to 1817.

Portrait by John Vanderlyn, 1816
Madison's Birthplace
Madison at Princeton, portrait by James Sharples
Congressional delegate Madison, age 32 by Charles Willson Peale
page one of the original copy
of the U.S. Constitution
Gouverneur Morris signs the Constitution before George Washington. Madison sits next to Robert Morris, in front of Benjamin Franklin. Painting by John Henry Hintermeister, 1925.
Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic-Republican Party with Madison.
Montpelier, Madison's tobacco plantation in Virginia
The 1803 Louisiana Purchase totaled 827,987 sqmi, doubling the size of the United States.
James Madison by Gilbert Stuart,
1808 electoral vote results
James Madison engraving by David Edwin from between 1809 and 1817
USS Constitution defeats HMS Guerriere, a significant event during the war. U.S. nautical victories boosted American morale.
The British set ablaze the U.S. Capital on August 24, 1814.
Battle of New Orleans. 1815
Battle of Tippecanoe November 7, 1811
Portrait of James Madison c. 1821, by Gilbert Stuart
Madison's gravestone at Montpelier
Portrait of Madison, age 82, c. 1833
A life-sized statue of Madison at James Madison University.

He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.