Regardless of whether you are majoring in Law or Political Sciences, citing the Constitution in your assignment may become one of the obligatory tasks to complete an assignment correctly. Luckily, it's relatively easy to do in the MLA style format if you see the templates and examples. When you learn how to cite in MLA format correctly, you have to see the examples and templates first. Let us start with the basic rules on how to cite the Constitution in MLA first and outline the things that must be learned:
- Include general information regarding the source of the content that you cite. It is required for the Works Cited page.
- Speaking of in-text citations of the constitution, provide the article or an amendment with the section numbers (if available).
See this example to understand the rules in practice:
Page Title. Website Name, Publisher, Day Month Year, URL.
MLA Works Cited Page
The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription. National Archives, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 10 January 2023, www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript.
("Constitution of the United States," art. 7, sec. 2)
It must be noted that it is recommended to cite the print version format of the constitution as it will increase the credibility of your writing. Once you locate the edition in print, note the edition and remember to provide the title of the book in italics. Also, list the editors or any other contributors to the edition right after the title. Here is how to cite the US Constitution in MLA in practice:
Book Title. Edited by Editor's First Name Last Name, edition, Publisher, Year.
MLA Works Cited Page
Constitution of the United States (Book of American Wisdom). Annotated by Founding Fathers, Applewood Books, 1995.
(U.S. Constitution, amend. 11, sec. 1)
How to cite the Constitution for in-text citations in MLA?
Unless there is something specific that must be approached through the lens of analysis or linguistic studies, every mention of the Constitution in your academic writing paper must be mentioned as "The Constitution", yet without italics or quotation marks. It means that a typical US Constitution MLA citation example will be:
As stated in the Constitution, ... ("Constitution of the United States," art 2, sec. 3).
When you have the parenthetical citing, specify the version that you cite. It will help you to match the first words for your Works Cited addition. Remember to use the following abbreviations as you cite:
- Art. (Article)
- Amend. (Amendment)
- Sec. (Section)
Citing the Constitution MLA, the use of roman numerals must be converted to arabic (it means that XI should become 11) although it is not an obligatory requirement for certain cases, depending on your grading rubric requirements.
How do you cite the First Amendment MLA?
It's recommended to check whether you will mention the First Amendment in your writing. If you do, you do not have to cite it. Then add the First Amendment to your references list by using "U.S. Const. amend I." In the parenthetical citation, it will be (US Const. amend. 1, 4 sec.)
Do I need to place the Constitution in the bibliography?
Yes, it is obligatory, according to the MLA style manual. Just like with the APA style format, it is also required to provide the entry that corresponds with the in-text citation. Provide information about the specific parts or clauses of the Constitution, based on what has been used.
Can I paraphrase the Constitution?
While it is possible, you will have to provide a citation for the original part if you decide to paraphrase parts of the Constitution in your own words. You may use it to support your point of view as you argue about something or pose an opinion. In either case, offering an original part as a reference in your citation quote is necessary.