How to cite the Constitution in MLA

To cite the Constitution of the United States in MLA style, include information about where you accessed it in the Works Cited entry. In the in-text citation, use article/amendment and section numbers instead of page numbers.

The example below shows how to cite an online version of the constitution.

Format Page Title. Website Name, Publisher, Day Month Year, URL. or URL.
Works Cited entry The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription. National Archives, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 4 May 2020, www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript.
In-text citation (“Constitution of the United States,” art. 1, sec. 4)

Citing a print version of the constitution

The Constitution has also been published in book form in various editions. To cite one of these, write the title of the book in italics, and list any editors, annotators, or other main contributors to the edition after the title.

Format Book Title. Edited by Editor first name Last name, edition, Publisher, Year.
Works Cited entry The U.S. Constitution: Explained—Clause by Clause—for Every American Today. Annotated by Ray Raphael, Vintage, 2017.
In-text citation (U.S. Constitution, amend. 13, sec. 1)

Referring to the Constitution in your text

When mentioning the Constitution in your paper, you can generally just call it the Constitution without italicization or quotation marks.

In the parenthetical citation, you should specify the version cited (to match the first words of the Works Cited entry).

  • As stated in “The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription,” … (art. 1, sec. 4).
  • As stated in the Constitution, … (“Constitution of the United States,” art. 1, sec. 4).

Use the abbreviations “art.” (Article), “amend.” (Amendment), and “sec.” (Section) as appropriate in your citations; convert any roman numerals used in the text to arabic numerals (e.g. “XIV” becomes “14”).

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Frequently asked questions about MLA citations

How do I cite a source with no author or page numbers in MLA?

If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title. Use a shortened version of the title in your in-text citation.

If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).

If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:

  • Rajaram argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
  • The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”
Are titles capitalized in MLA?

Yes. MLA style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and some conjunctions) are capitalized.

This applies to titles of sources as well as the title of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization.

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

1 comment

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
January 26, 2021 at 2:56 PM

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