Talk:Constitution of the United States of America

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Information about this edition
Edition: Original
Source: USConstitution.net
Contributor(s): Angela, anonymous users
Level of progress: 50%.svg50%: not proofread or standardised.
Notes: This edition is taken from the US House of Representatives web site.
Proofreaders:

COTUS A and I Project[edit]

An effort to upload .djvu's of all 15 Parts (over 40 sections in total} of the Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation - 1992 Edition and subsequent revisions [1] to the sub-page annotations added to the 15 part base version since its original publication in 1992. Produced by the U.S. Federal Government and Published by U.S. Government Printing Office (HAS THE MOST CURRENT VERSIONS and NOW ALL PDFs ELECTRONICALLY CERTIFIED BY GPO).


The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis, and Interpretation - 1992 Edition

1-0 Title Page

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2-0 Special Thanks To

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3-0 Public Law 91-589: Authorization

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4-0 Introduction to the 1992 Edition

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5-0 Historical Note on Formation of the Constitution

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6-0 The Constitution of the United States of America (Literal Print) 1

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7-0 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America 2

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8-0 Proposed Amendments not Ratified by the States

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9-0 The Constitution of the United States of America (With Annotations) 

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9-1 The Preamble

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9-2 Article I. Legislative Department

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9-3 Article II. Executive Department

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9-4 Article III. Judicial Department

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9-5 Article IV. States' Relations

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9-6 Article V. Mode of Amendment

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9-7 Article VI. Prior Debts, National Supremacy, Oaths of Office 

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9-8 Article VII. Ratification

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10-0 Amendments to the Constitution

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10-1 First Through Tenth Amendments - Bill of Rights

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10-2 First Amendment - Religion and Expression

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10-3 Second Amendment - Bearing Arms

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10-4 Third Amendment - Quartering Soldiers

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10-5 Fourth Amendment - Search and Seizure

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10-6 Fifth Amendment - Rights of Persons

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10-7 Sixth Amendment - Rights of Accused in Criminal Prosecutions

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10-8 Seventh Amendment - Civil Trials

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10-9 Eighth Amendment - Further Guarantees in Criminal Cases

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10-10 Ninth Amendment - Unenumerated Rights

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10-11 Tenth Amendment - Reserved Powers

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10-12 Eleventh Amendment - Suits Against States

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10-13 Twelfth Amendment - Election of President

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10-14 Thirteenth Amendment - Slavery and Involuntary Servitude

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10-15 Fourteenth Amendment - Rights Guaranteed: Privileges and Immunities of Citizenship, Due Process...

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10-16 Fifteenth Amendment - Rights of Citizens to Vote

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10-17 Sixteenth Amendment - Income Tax

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10-18 Seventeenth Amendment - Popular Election of Senators

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10-19 Eighteenth Amendment - Prohibition of Intoxicating Liquors

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10-20 Nineteenth Amendment - Women's Suffrage Rights

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10-21 Twentieth Amendment - Terms of President, Vice President, Members of Congress: Presidential Vacancy

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10-22 Twenty-First Amendment - Repeal of Eighteenth Amendment

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10-23 Twenty-Second Amendment - Presidential Tenure

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10-24 Twenty-Third Amendment - Presidential Electors for the District of Columbia

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10-25 Twenty-Fourth Amendment - Abolition of the Poll Tax Qualification in Federal Elections

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10-26 Twenty-Fifth Amendment - Presidential Vacancy, Disability, and Inability

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10-27 Twenty-Sixth Amendment - Reduction of Voting Age Qualification

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10-28 Twenty-Seventh Amendment - Congressional Pay Limitation

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11-0 Acts of Congress Held Unconstitutional in Whole or in Part by the Supreme Court of the United States

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12-0 State Constitutional and Statutory Provisions and Municipal Ordinances Held Unconstitutional on...

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13-0 Supreme Court Decisions Overruled by Subsequent Decision

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14-0 Table of Cases

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15-0 Index

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footnotes[edit]
^1  Part 6-0 should be indexed, validated and transcluded in its entirety, -- sectionalizing each Article & the Preamble from any of their annotations, post ratification footnotes and any other similar extraneous content that may exists in the original scan(s) -- before starting on any of Part 9

This is recommended in order to help faciliate a quicker transcription of Part 9-0 (Sub-Parts 9-1 thru 9-8) with less effort since all of the main entries found in Part 6-0 are duplicated at the begining of each (sub)section found throughout Part 9-0.

^2  Part 7-0 should be indexed, validated and transcluded in its entirety, -- sectionalizing each Amendment & the Bill of Rights from any of their annotations, post ratification footnotes and any other similar extraneous content that may exists in the original scan(s) -- before starting on any of Part 10

This is recommended in order to help faciliate a quicker transcription of Part 10-0 (Sub-Parts 10-1 thru 10-28) with less effort since all of the main entries found in Part 7-0 are duplicated at the begining of each (sub)section found throughout Part 10-0.


George Orwell III (talk) 09:00, 24 October 2010 (UTC)



Recordings[edit]

I suggest we put text rather than recordings. Many folks can't figure out how to operate sound files and it makes "reading" the document take a lot longer than it should.

173.65.239.63 17:06, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Name[edit]

Does anybody know who it was that first decided to settle on the name "Constitution" for this famous document, and how and why they did this?

The writers, the Founding Fathers, decided on the name. It is from the Preamble of the Constitution for the United States. "do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." It's not so much a name as it is a description of what the document is. Whereas the Preamble tells us the reasons for creating the document, the definition of the word constitution is the documentation in which a system of fundamental laws and principles describing the nature, function and limits of a government are recorded.


Although the United States Constitution is the oldest national constitution in continuous use. There were older ones. The state constitution of Massachusetts is ten years older. The ultimate decision to name the document a "constitution" would have been a collective decision of the drafters, perhaps with a little urging from the Massachusetts delegates, but I can't say that for sure. Of course "constitution" still operates as a generic term for any document that establishes (or constitutes) the structure of an organization. It strikes me as an obvios choice. Eclecticology 03:31, 25 Apr 2004 (UTC)
By 1787 ten of the thirteen states had "constitutions" of their own. The phrase "the British constitution" was apparently in use before that (e.g., Montesquieu), which may be where the Americans picked it up, but that's speculation. 68.230.177.98 12:58, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

Typo?[edit]

Does anyone know if the use of it's as the possesive of it was considered grammatical when the Constitution was written, or was it an error? unsigned comment by Xyzzyva (talk) .

From what I've read the current usage of it's is the exact opposite of what it was about 100 years ago, so yes it would've been considered grammatically correct at the American constitution's writing. — 60.227.16.7 13:07, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Maybe there should be a [sic] after the it's so people know that's the actual text? unsigned comment by 81.182.81.204 (talk) .

Or even better, a comment/reference discussing the issue. I was surprised to read it, at least. ----Gwern (contribs) 15:55, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Article 1 Section 9 Clause 4: Should be Census or Enumeration. Not of. please fix this.

Fixed. --Spangineer (háblame) 17:22, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Date format[edit]

Should the dates when the amendments were ratified be in a more unambiguous format such as the ISO date format YYYY-MM-DD? unsigned comment by 68.64.9.10 (talk) .

  • I was just about to change the dates to the Wiki standard, but this article can't be edited. It doesn't have a "protected" template, so what's going on? Is this a wiki or not? PhilHibbs 13:19, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

Removed Congressional preamble of the Bill of Rights as it is not actually a part of the constitution. unsigned comment by 161.253.28.117 (talk) .

The document is American so American ortography should be used. The date format is not bad, it is as it should be in American English. - TopAce

Protection[edit]

This work seems like a prime candidate for protection, in view of the recent vandal attacks here. Does anyone have a published copy they can check it against a published source to verify its accuracy (I don't) so it can be noted on the infobox template here & a protection request submitted. AllanHainey 11:44, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Title[edit]

Does anyone think that "United States Constitution" is a better title for this page?

No. That's not the document's title. It is the Constitution of the United States of America; that's its formal name. "United States Constitution" is just a contraction of the formal name for general

I think the correct title is "Constitution for the United States of America". I think it's important to keep "for" instead of "of" for a subtle, but important, reason as well as for historical accuracy. Constitution "of" implies the authority of the document is granted by the United States of America and to someone who does not read history or the document, they might assume the government wrote it. However, the authority is granted by the People and the States when they created and accepted this document "for" the United States of America as a guide to how the government should be organized and run, like a procedures manual. The writers used "for" in the Preamble to the Constitution.

It's [the] Constitution of the United States [of America] -- see Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 1.djvu/132 George Orwell III (talk) 02:20, 16 October 2010 (UTC)

Internal Anchors[edit]

I have added a few anchors into some of the clauses of Article II, Section 1 so that I can link directly to each clause for some of the wikilinks I am writing into Bush v. Gore/Opinion of the Court. They are currently written as <span id="Article 2 Section 1 Clause #"></span>, where # is the appropriate clause number (for example, Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 is written as <span id="Article 2 Section 1 Clause 2"></span>, right before the first word of the clause). It would be highly appreciated if these were left in place so all of the links don't break all of a sudden! Thanks! –Pakman044 02:08, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Format of Signatories Names[edit]

How come some names aren't written out? For example George Washington's name is written "Go Washington". In other cases, the first name William is written simply "Wm". Is this done intentially or accidently?

- The text on this page seems to be an attempt to reflect the text of the original, hand-written document as much as possible. The signers signed their own names in the ways that they were accustomed to do, and an examination of the images linked on the page will demonstrate that some of them abbreviated their names and some of them didn't.

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. Article 1, third section

What is that supposed to mean? "shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of the State for which he shall be chosen" - he should not have citizenship? He must be a citizen of the state? Can somebody explain that? Is it just a typing error or what?

I think it means that if he "shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of the State for which he shall be chosen", then he WON'T be able to be elected.

Notice that it begins with a negative, so I think what it comes out to is that "noone shall be elected a Senator unless they're 30 years old, have been a citizen for 9 years, and reside in the state they're elected in." Basic residency requirement. 68.39.174.238 18:40, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

Author[edit]

Should, the author be stated as The Federal Convention of 1787 and not as Government of the United States of America? The Constitution created the "Government of the United States of America"-- as we know it.--Lookatthis 15:54, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Also, while I don't question the status of the work as public domain on other grounds, I think the copyright notice is a bit strange in claiming that this is the work of the "United State federal government" as the federation in question was created by the ratification of this document. -- Bdentremont 15:26, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
Feel free to change the author field. Regarding the copyright notice, a similar concern was raised at the top of Talk:United States Declaration of Independence. --John Vandenberg (chat) 23:20, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

the right to keep and bear arms and the pursuit of happiness[edit]

Where is all that stuff about the right to keep and bear arms and the pursuit of happiness? I thought it might be around here. Thanks. --Emesee 19:21, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

  1. See United States Bill of Rights and United States Declaration of Independence. --Pmsyyz 22:10, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
    1. Almost immediately after the signing of the Constitution, The 1-10 amendments were added which included the right to bear arms, since these are just as much part of the Constitution as the original text, the ought to be included.

Preamble[edit]

Could we possibly get the Preamble into audio form as well? It seems odd that all of the other sections have audio form, but not the Preamble. I would do it, but I don't have a microphone.76.95.124.146 00:28, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

The preamble is in the article 1 audio version. We might want to add it before to make it clearer though...82.243.59.107

thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!![edit]

hey, I'm doing a scrpbook for a grade in history. I have to have some american symbols. i am useing the constiution as one of them. thanks to the discussion page I found just what I needed,thanks. Do you realy think that there is a typo in the constitution? unsigned comment by 209.214.64.49 (talk) 22:27, 16 February 2009.

What's with the capitalization?[edit]

I'm referring to stuff like "No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports" that's not capitalized in the original. Why are all these words capitalized? (Note that I also just fixed an obvious its/it's grammatical error in that section that has crept into many transcriptions of the constitution, and that a comment even claimed was "the actual spelling used in the Constitution".) --NE2 (talk) 08:49, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

  • See the original handwritten copy [[2]], [[3]], [[[[4]], and [[5]]--Lookatthis (talk) 22:25, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
    • Wow, that sucks. Are we sure that this is actually an apostrophe and not just a stray mark (maybe the missing dot on the next "i")? It's certainly not a question of "modern spelling" as the comment says, since every other place correctly uses "its". It at least needs some sort of "sic". --NE2 (talk) 23:04, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
We can utilise {{sic}} which is non-showing except in revealed text. -- billinghurst (talk) 01:00, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

The Supreme Court does not use "it's" or capitalize these words: [6][7] It would seem that the original printed text, not the handwritten text, is the official Constitution. --NE2 (talk) 01:15, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

The Supreme Court may decide, when next updating their website, to change their personal nomenclature; does that mean we would do the same? No, we are reproducing the original hand-written copy; and what it has, is what we should have. Of course, I'm not 100% convinced that's an apostrophe in the original... Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:Romain Rolland. 17:50, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
On the U.S. Supreme Court Web page there is link to a copy of the "handwritten text" I think we should keep the "handwritten text" However I have setup pages for both the "handwritten text"(in the page namespace) and United States Constitution Broadsid Printed by John Carter Rhode Island Providence in the page namespace) AKA "The Print Text" They just need to be poof I hope this helps. --Lookatthis (talk) 04:35, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

I've been looking at some published transcriptions of the Constitution (9/22/09) and am impressed by the inconsistencies, especially in capitalization. Here are two capitalizations in the current wikipedia version that differ from the handwritten copy in the National Archives. One is Article I, Section 8: "The Congress shall have Power." (The current wiki version has "power.") Another is Article IV, Section 2: "shall on Demand of the executive Authority." (The current wiki version has "demand.") I've seen these right in a published text, and yet that had "the Power," wrongly. There are probably other discrepancies that a full proofreading would disclose, but it's obviously a hard thing to do. --(unsign post by 75.82.227.212)

We(On Wikisource) go by handwritten copy in the National Archives--Lookatthis (talk) 04:00, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Now what on EARTH does this have to do with the price of tee in china? i mean really, just ask James Madison, he wrote it!

Audio links in printable version[edit]

Is there any particular reason for the audio link buttons to show up in the printable version of this page? ([8]) It's needless and distracting to have them in the printed version of the page. Horologium (talk) 08:04, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Links to signatories?[edit]

Why aren't more of the names linked to their Wikipedia articles? Is it because some of them are abbreviated like [9] is only seen as Wm. Blount?

These people laid out the DNA for the United States of America, we should try to provide more recognition and help make the article more complete in this way.

Wrong link for Robert Morris[edit]

A link for Robert Morris in the Signatures section goes to a disambiguation page. I believe the correct article is supposed to be Robert Morris (financier). Would someone please fix it? 66.168.69.205 17:21, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Fixed it; thanks. —Spangineerwp (háblame) 17:40, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Amendments?[edit]

Sorry if this has been discussed before, but aren't the amendments to the constitution actually part of the constitution? So what we have here, under the title of "Constitution of the United States of America", is actually only the original Constitution of the United States of America, not the whole thing (because the whole thing includes the amendments).

So really, we should have something like "Original Constitution of the United States of America", which is what this is, and separately there should be an item called "Constitution of the United States of America", which includes both the original text and the amendments.

Right?

Typo in the preamble[edit]

In the scans and everywhere else the word tranquility is spelled with one L. Currently it is spelled with two L's. This mistake is made where it says "insure domestic tranquility" 75.54.116.247 08:08, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Fixed. Thanks for that. -- George Orwell III (talk) 08:57, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Article I, Section 8, 14th line beginning "To"[edit]

The current version reads, "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repeal Invasions;"

repeal should be changed to repel.

Yes check.svg Done Thanks. Beeswaxcandle (talk) 06:36, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Typo in Article II, Section I[edit]

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors. The word chusing should be written as choosing.

67.0.123.96 17:01, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done: We don't correct the authors. The Constitution spells the word "chusing", so that's what it is.--Doug.(talk contribs) 19:28, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Not only that we don't correct even the most obvious of typos in the original works (though we do sometimes mark them as such with {{SIC}}), the word chuse is not an error—it is a valid word, and was in common use at the time of writing. Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 16:11, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Audio was removed[edit]

Why? [10] had audio. Scott Illini (talk) 20:48, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

ToC does not seem to work[edit]

It's unclickable for me. Scott Illini (talk) 20:48, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Picture[edit]

Shouldn't there be a picture, I'd ad one but I'm not to good with the Wiki Script.Anyways, I'm sure There's one in the Commons

The number of dots before Alexander Hamilton's signature[edit]

In the provided scans, only three spaced dots separate his signature from the name of the state that he represented, NY. But here, there are four of them, and they are non-spaced except for one space after the ellipsis. —68.194.250.198 21:30, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done , thanks Beeswaxcandle (talk) 07:45, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. Now can you put the spaces so it would look like this: "New York . . ." rather than "New York..."? --68.194.250.198 16:05, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
also Yes check.svg Done -- George Orwell III (talk) 04:40, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Article I, Section 9 typo[edit]

Looking at the image here, I would like to propose this correction:

...unless when in Cases or of Rebellion or Invasion...

X mark.svg Not done -- it says "or" in the literal print as well. -- George Orwell III (talk) 21:00, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Article 1, Section 9 Typo[edit]

The wiki version shows "unless when in Cases or Rebellion or Invasion"

This should read "unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion"

In other words, the first "or" should be "of" instead.

Please look at the original handwritten document. It's clearly "of" and not "or". http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Constitution_of_the_United_States%2C_page_2.jpg

Also, a modern depiction of the original, as cited on wiki, and found on the U.S. House of Representatives site, uses "of" instead of "or". http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

This almost certainly is an error, which I think it should be corrected please.

Also: your "source" page, which has a version with the same above mentioned typo, that was cited as the reason, given by 'George Orwell III', for not making the fix when it was pointed out earlier by someone else, has a typo in it.

"Author United States Congressional Research Servive"

"Servive" should be "Service"

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Index:COTUS_(1992_Edition)_Part_6_of_15.djvu

This error on the 'spash' page may suggest that all the pages attached to it may not be 100% accurate, and therefore should not be considered the definitive reference for determining the accuracy of wiki's version of the original U.S. Constitution. Perhaps other references, like the original handwritten copy, or one of a U.S. Government site should be consulted, too.

Yes check.svg Done -- Many thanks for taking the time to detail then support the need for a correction. The .jpg you linked clearly shows the typo in the Literal Print. The small numbers (1 thru 4) along the left hand margin would have taken you to the appropriate page in the verification system (or Proofreading system as we call it) to make the changes yourself.

We are only as accurate as our contributors are - and in this case its the Government print that was at fault; we were merely following their lead. The pages in question have been vetted by at least 3 different editors to insure a lack of bias and subjectivity. Please don't let this one instance detract from our mission goals of full & accurate transcriptions. Thanks again. -- George Orwell III (talk) 22:49, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Annotation of All Articles[edit]

What is the best way to add Constitution of the United States of America/Annotated to the top page? Found this page from the orphaned list. There is already on annotation for only Article 1, so I think we should keep both. Having multiple annotations will need some descriptive text to differentiate each version? Looking for recommendations on how to label the link to this version. -- DutchTreat (talk) 22:21, 3 June 2014 (UTC)