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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Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Duplessis, 1778

Benjamin Franklin

American polymath who was active as a writer, scientist, inventor, statesman, diplomat, printer, publisher, and political philosopher. Among the leading intellectuals of his time, Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, a drafter and signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, and the first United States Postmaster General.

American polymath who was active as a writer, scientist, inventor, statesman, diplomat, printer, publisher, and political philosopher. Among the leading intellectuals of his time, Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, a drafter and signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, and the first United States Postmaster General.

Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Duplessis, 1778
La scuola della economia e della morale sketch of Franklin, 1825
Benjamin Franklin (center) at work on a printing press. Reproduction of a Charles Mills painting by the Detroit Publishing Company.
William Franklin (1730-1813), son of Benjamin Franklin
Franklin's The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle (January 1741)
Robert Feke's 1748 painting of Franklin
This Join, or Die by Franklin urged the colonies to join the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War). It later served as a symbol of colonial freedom during the American Revolution.
In 1751, Franklin co-founded Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, one of the first hospitals in the United States (depicted in this engaving by William Strickland, 1755)
Seal of the College of Philadelphia
Sketch of the original Tun Tavern
First U. S. postage stamp, issue of 1847, honoring Benjamin Franklin.
Pass, signed by Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin, gave William Goddard the authority to travel as needed to investigate and inspect postal routes and protect the mail.
Pennsylvania colonial currency printed by Franklin and David Hall in 1764
Franklin in London, 1767, wearing a blue suit with elaborate gold braid and buttons, a far cry from the simple dress he affected at the French court in later years. Painting by David Martin, displayed in the White House.
John Trumbull depicts the Committee of Five presenting their work to the Congress.
Franklin, in his fur hat, charmed the French with what they perceived as rustic New World genius.
While in France, Franklin designed and commissioned Augustin Dupré to engrave the medallion Libertas Americana, minted in Paris in 1783.
Franklin's return to Philadelphia, 1785, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris
Gouverneur Morris signs the Constitution before Washington. Franklin is behind Morris. Painting by Hintermeister, 1925.
Franklin's grave, Philadelphia
Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky c. 1816 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, by Benjamin West
Franklin and Electricity vignette engraved by the BEP (c. 1860)
An illustration from Franklin's paper on "Water-spouts and Whirlwinds"
A bust of Franklin by Jean-Antoine Houdon, 1778
Voltaire blessing Franklin's grandson, in the name of God and Liberty, by Pedro Américo, 1889–90
Benjamin Franklin by Hiram Powers
Dr Richard Price, the radical minister of Newington Green Unitarian Church, holding a letter from Franklin
Franklin bust in the Archives Department of Columbia University in New York City
Glass harmonica
Franklin on the Series 2009 hundred dollar bill
Marble memorial statue, Benjamin Franklin National Memorial
commemorative stamps
Life-size bronze statue of Benjamin Franklin (seated with cane) in the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia

While the plan was not adopted, elements of it found their way into the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.

Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)

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.
Magna Carta
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.

John Locke

Separation of powers

Separation of powers refers to the division of a state's government into branches, each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches.

Separation of powers refers to the division of a state's government into branches, each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches.

John Locke
Montesquieu
George Washington at Constitutional Convention of 1787, signing of U.S. Constitution

Under this influence it was implemented in 1787 in the 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.

Commerce Clause

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.

The Commerce Clause describes an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3).

An 1808 engraving of Chief Justice John Marshall by French portrait painter Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin

Marbury v. Madison

An 1808 engraving of Chief Justice John Marshall by French portrait painter Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin
The U.S. Capitol, home of the U.S. Congress and also where the U.S. Supreme Court convened from 1801 until the Supreme Court Building's completion in 1935.
Marshall's famous line from Marbury v. Madison on American federal courts' power to interpret the law, now inscribed on the wall of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.
Chief justice John Marshall, as painted by Henry Inman in 1832, after having presided over the American federal judiciary for over 30 years

Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137 (1803), was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that established the principle of judicial review in the United States, meaning that American courts have the power to strike down laws and statutes that they find to violate the Constitution of the United States.

Portrait by Mathew Brady, 1855–1860

Roger B. Taney

The fifth chief justice of the United States, holding that office from 1836 until his death in 1864.

The fifth chief justice of the United States, holding that office from 1836 until his death in 1864.

Portrait by Mathew Brady, 1855–1860
Bureau of Engraving and Printing portrait of Taney as Secretary of the Treasury
Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, photograph by Mathew Brady
Taney's grave in Frederick, Maryland
Roger B. Taney statue removed from Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore in August 2017
Roger Taney appears on a 1940 U.S. revenue stamp

In one advisory opinion that he wrote for the president, Taney argued that the protections of the United States Constitution did not apply to free blacks; he would revisit this issue later in his career.

George Washington's inauguration as the first U.S. president, April 30, 1789, by Ramon de Elorriaga (1899)

Article Two of the United States Constitution

George Washington's inauguration as the first U.S. president, April 30, 1789, by Ramon de Elorriaga (1899)
Certificate for the vote for Rutherford B. Hayes and William A. Wheeler for the State of Louisiana
Beginning of the clause in the 1787 document
In this 1944 poster, Franklin Roosevelt (left) successfully campaigned for a fourth term. He was the only president who served more than two terms.
1888 illustration of new President John Tyler receiving the news of President William H. Harrison's death from Chief Clerk of the State Department Fletcher Webster
President Barack Obama being administered the oath of office by Chief Justice John Roberts for the second time at his first inauguration, on January 21, 2009
President Franklin D. Roosevelt as commander-in-chief, with his military subordinates during World War II.
Left to right: General Douglas MacArthur, President Franklin Roosevelt, Admiral William D. Leahy, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz
President George W. Bush announcing the August 1, 2005 recess appointment of John Bolton as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice looks on
Depiction of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868, with Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presiding

Article Two of the United States Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, which carries out and enforces federal laws.

The Nineteenth Amendment in the National Archives

Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

The Nineteenth Amendment in the National Archives
Text of the small ad that attracted a diverse meeting of women and men at the first Women's Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls, New York, during July 1848
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (seated) with Susan B. Anthony
Elizabeth Cady Stanton before the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections. New York Daily Graphic, January 16, 1878, p. 501
Suffragist and civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell
Nannie Helen Burroughs holding a Woman's National Baptist Convention banner
Carrie Chapman Catt, President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, organized the "Winning Plan" that helped secure passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.
"Silent Sentinels" begin a 2 1⁄2-year campaign in front of the White House (1917).
Nina Allender political cartoon aimed at President Wilson published in The Suffragist on October 3, 1917
"The Big Issue At The Polls" (Judge, Oct 25, 1919)
Headquarters of the anti-suffragist National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage
Though accusations of bribery did not cause the Tennessee legislature to reconsider its ratification of the suffrage amendment, Alice Paul immediately cautioned that "women are not yet fully free" and that women "can expect nothing from the politicians...until they stand as a unit in a party of their own", saying that discrimination still exists "on the statute books which will not be removed by the ratification". Paul charged that the amendment passed only because "it at last became more expedient for those in control of the Government to aid suffrage than to oppose it".
Sewing stars on a suffrage flag.
c. 1920
A Ladies Home Journal ad targeted female votes for 1920 presidential election.

The Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution prohibits the United States and its states from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex, in effect recognizing the right of women to a vote.

Three-fifths Compromise

Agreement reached during the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention over the counting of slaves in determining a state's total population.

Agreement reached during the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention over the counting of slaves in determining a state's total population.

In the United States Constitution, the Three-fifths Compromise is part of Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3.

The Missouri Compromise created the slave-holding state Missouri (Mo., yellow) but prohibited slavery in the rest of the former Louisiana Territory (here, marked Missouri Territory 1812, green) north of the 36°30' North parallel.

Dred Scott v. Sandford

The Missouri Compromise created the slave-holding state Missouri (Mo., yellow) but prohibited slavery in the rest of the former Louisiana Territory (here, marked Missouri Territory 1812, green) north of the 36°30' North parallel.
Dred Scott
Chief justice Roger Taney, the author of the majority opinion in the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857), was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in which the Court held that the United States Constitution was not meant to include American citizenship for people of African descent, regardless of whether they were enslaved or free, and so the rights and privileges that the Constitution confers upon American citizens could not apply to them.