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How to Cite the Amendments in the U.S. Constitution (MLA, APA, Bluebook)

Ms.Treadwell is a licensed attorney and the author of "How Do Hurricane Katrina's Winds Blow: Racism in 21st-Century New Orleans."

Me with My Bluebook

I can't write a thing without it!

I can't write a thing without it!

I spent the last decade in the legal profession: working with law firms, interning at the Offices of the Inspector General at NASA and The National Science Foundation as a law clerk, and as a writer of legal scholarship. Trust me. I know how difficult it can be to write research papers, legal briefs, legal documents and memorandums of law, all of which require precise citations.

Even before I had to write for a living, I spent eight years in college learning how to write and use differing citation styles. During my undergraduate education, my professors wanted me to use MLA or APA style, depending on the course. Then, when I went to law school, there was “Bluebooking” – the Harvard way.

Phew! It is impossible to memorize all of the rules. So, I recommend that if you are a serious writer (or college student) that you get the books on citation so that you can deliver a clear and precise paper and avoid being accused of plagiarizing someone else's work.

Amendment I of the Constitution of the United States

  • The Complete Text of the First Amendment
    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and...

Why use citations?

According to Cornell Law School:

A reference properly written in "legal citation strives to do at least three things," within limited space:

  1. identify the document and document part to which the writer is referring
  2. provide the reader with sufficient information to find the document or document part in the sources the reader has available (which may or may not be the same sources as those used by the writer), and
  3. furnish important additional information about the referenced material and its connection to the writer's argument to assist readers in deciding whether or not to pursue the reference.

Using citations within research papers, articles, books, etc., ensures the academic integrity of the work. Aside from providing support and evidence for a position, it is critical to avoid "knowingly representing the work of others as one's own." (Cornell: Code of Academic Integrity). If you think about it, colleges should not be granting degrees to students who do not do the work and plagiarize the hard-earned work of others. What then would be the value of holding a degree?

You are reading this article to learn how to cite the First Amendment; and I wrote this to teach you how to cite one of the most important sections of the Supreme Law of the Land: the Constitution of the United States.

MLA Handbook


The Complete MLA Formatting and Style Guide


MLA format refers to the citation format of the Modern Language Association.

According to Purdue University's Online Writing Lab, "MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities." MLA format is also used for literary research papers.

If you are using MLA format, citations are placed in the text and the full references are provided in a Works Cited list at the end of the paper.

This style of citation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is as follows::

Long form (for use in a non-legal document):

"The Constitution of the United States," Amendment 1.

Short form (for use in a legal document):

U.S. Const. am. 1.

In place of the "§" symbol, the abbreviation "sect." can be used. In a paper dealing primarily with the Constitution, there is no need to mention "U.S. Const." However, if you are referring to an electronic form of the document, the citation is as follows:

"Constitutional Topic: The First Amendment." 3 Jan. 2011. 27 Feb. 2011 .

Specifically, the data is as follows: Author, Title, Site, Modification Date, the date the page was accessed, and URL.

APA Handbook



APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences.

The APA prefers an in-text citation as opposed to including footnotes or endnotes. Additionally, APA "allows for in-text citations" and requires a Reference List at the end of the research paper. (Grade Saver).

This style of citation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is as follows:

In-text: (U. S. Constitution.)

Reference list: U. S. Constitution, Amendment 1

The Complete APA Formatting and Style Guide

Bluebook Handbook



Law students, lawyers, scholars, judges, and other legal professionals know all too well there are complicated rules for legal citation. They all rely on The Bluebook's unique system of citation in their writing.

This style of citation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is as follows:

Footnote – Long Citation: U.S. Const. amend. I

Footnote – short citation: Id.

Only use “Id” if the previous citation is immediately followed by the identical source, then use “Id” to repeat the citation in the footnotes.

Bluebooking Tips from Georgetown Law

  • Bluebook Guide
    This Guide explains the organization and layout of the Bluebook, its use in theory and in practice, and how to cite the most common legal materials, including cases, statutes and treatises. The Guide also reviews how to cite electronic materials.

Share your experience

Eventually, if you are writing enough, you will master citing most references without the use of a handbook. Still, it is impossible to memorize all of the rules; and on occasion these rules are updated. Therefore, it is good practice to look up the rule for the source you plan to cite.

Good luck with all of your writing projects and "Happy Referencing!"


Cornell University. "Code of Academic Integrity." 12/10/14.

Cornell University Law School. Legal Information Institute. “§ 1-200. Purposes of Legal Citation.” 2 Nov. 2014.

Grade Saver. "APA vs. MLA: What Style Guide Do I Use?" 12/10/14.

Mount, Steve. “How to Cite this Site.” 27 Feb 2011. 2 April 2012.

Purdue University On-Line Writing Lab. "MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics." 12/10/14.

University of Nebraska Kearney. Calvin T. Ryan Library. “Citing Government Documents: American Psychological Association" According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 6th ed. (2010). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.”

By Liza Lugo, J.D.

(c) 2012, Revised 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Ms. Lugo retains exclusive copyright and publishing rights to all of her articles and photos. Portions of articles or entire content of any of these articles may not be used without the author's express written consent. Persons plagiarizing or using content without authorization may be subject to legal action.

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Liza Treadwell Esq aka Liza Lugo JD (author) from New York, NY on October 21, 2016:

Sherry, I apologize for not answering you sooner. I have been away from HubPages for a while. The 14th Amendment is not within any Article in the Constitution. The Articles of the Constitution consists of describing the powers of federal government. The Amendments are additions to the original document. Currently, there are 27 Amendments. Therefore, when you cite to any of the Constitutional Amendments they stand alone and are not preceded by an Article. Thanks for taking the time to read this hub. Good luck with all of your future endeavors.

Sherry on September 06, 2016:

I'm trying to figure out how to cite part of a section of the 14th Amendment, and my search engine brought me here. Can anyone tell me what "Article" the 14th Amendment is in? (Or are the different articles within the amendment?) It's obvious I'm new at this...

Liza Treadwell Esq aka Liza Lugo JD (author) from New York, NY on November 30, 2012:

No problem, Texgirl :-)

Texgrl on November 20, 2012:

Thanks for the help!