How To Cite The Constitution In A Research Paper – Quick Tip


Depending on the discipline you are writing your research paper in, you can usually simply cite it according to the rules of the MLA. This article quickly shows you how to cite the constitution correctly and goes on to explain about the MLA style in general:

Citing the Constitution

According to the MLA Handbook (7th edition) the United States Constitution should be cited as follows:

U.S. Constitution. Art. III, sec 2, cl.2 Print (for a particular section) or U.S. Constitution. Amend. II. Print (for a particular amendment).

Don’t italicize the citation or put it within quotation marks. This goes for other acts, laws, and similar official government documents you might include in your research paper.

Basic Rules for the Works Cited Page

Your works cited page should start on a separate page of the research paper. Use the same one-inch margins you have set for the rest of the research paper as well as the same page number header. Put the words “Works Cited” at the top, centered. No underline, no quotation marks, and no italics. Double space the entire page, but don’t skip any lines between each citation entries. The first line of each citation should be flushed left, the second and subsequent should be indented half an inch. Capitalize each word in the titles of books, articles, etc., but don’t capitalize any English articles such as “an”, “to” or “the”. For example, A God in Ruins.

How to Cite Books

Citations for books should follow this format:

Last name, First name. Book Title. Publication City: Publisher, Publication Year. And the medium of the publication.

For example:

Atkinson, Kate. A God in Ruins. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2015. Print.

If a book has more than one author the first author should appear as Last name, First name and the following author’s name appear as First name Last name. If there are three authors or more you should list only the first author followed by “et al.” which is a Latin phrase meaning “and others”.

How to Cite Articles

Citations for articles in journals should follow this format:

Last name, First Name. Article Title. Title of Journal Volume. Issue number (Year): pages where the article appears. And the medium of the publication.

For example:

Duvall, Samuel. “The Fall of the Nation.” National Monthly. 13.7 (2016): 222-254. Print.

If a journal article has more than one author the first author should appear Last name, First name and the following author’s name paper as First name Last name. If there are three authors or more you should list only the first author followed by “et al.”