How to Cite the First Amendment

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Although the American Psychological Association and the Modern Language Association use different formats for many citations, both defer to "The Bluebook," the legal system of citation, when it comes to citing parts of the Constitution. The few modifications that APA and MLA make to the "Bluebook" citations when it comes to citing parts of the Constitution do not apply to the First Amendment because it is not divided into sections.

Decide whether you will mention the First Amendment in the text itself. If so, you do not need to cite it. For example, you might write "The First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion to all Americans" without including parenthetical documentation. If, alternatively, you write "The Founding Fathers guaranteed freedom of religion to all Americans," you would need to include parenthetical documentation.

Add the First Amendment to the reference list for your report, using this form: "U.S. Const. amend I."

Cite the amendment within the paper itself, in parenthetical documentation. For example, a sentence might read, "The Founding Fathers prohibited the making of any law that infringes on the freedom of the press" (U.S. Const. amend I).


About the Author

Keren (Carrie) Perles is a freelance writer with professional experience in publishing since 2004. Perles has written, edited and developed curriculum for educational publishers. She writes online articles about various topics, mostly about education or parenting, and has been a mother, teacher and tutor for various ages. Perles holds a Bachelor of Arts in English communications from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

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