How to Cite the US Constitution in an MLA Works Cited

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The seventh edition of the "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers" is the go-to style guide for writers in the liberal arts and humanities. In MLA format, all references within the body of your manuscript must also be placed on the Works Cited page at the end. A government document like the United States Constitution requires a specific layout.

Works Cited Page

Citing the U.S. Constitution is a straightforward process. Begin with the italicized name of the document, and put a period after it. Next, depending upon which part you are citing, abbreviate article or amendment: "Art." or "Amend" -- without the quotation marks. Then, using Roman numerals, identify the number of the article or amendment. Follow this with a comma. Finish with “Sec.” for section and specify the number using Arabic numerals. At the very end, place a period. For instance, to cite the constitutional discussion of treason, write: U.S. Constitution. Art. III, Sec. 3. Place only the name of the document in italics.

In Text

Within the text, when you reference a part of the Constitution, you must include a citation inside parentheses. Abbreviate the name of the document, US Const., shorten amendment or article -- amend. or art. -- include the amendment number in Roman numerals and insert a comma. Conclude with the abbreviation for section -- sec. -- and its corresponding number. For example, the explanation of treason is cited within parentheses as: US Const. art. III, sec. 3. If you mention the Constitution by name in the same sentence, omit the document title from the parentheses.


About the Author

Living in upstate New York, Susan Sherwood is a researcher who has been writing within educational settings for more than 10 years. She has co-authored papers for Horizons Research, Inc. and the Capital Region Science Education Partnership. Sherwood has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University at Albany.

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