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Answered By: Suzanne Schriefer, Education & General Education Librarian
Last Updated: Feb 01, 2017     Views: 23394

When citing legal resources, APA defers to the popular legal citation style outlined in the The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (20th ed., 2017).

The United States Constitution, the foundational document of our democracy, does not need to be cited in the text of a paper if mentioned generally.  For example:

The U. S. Constitution describes the responsibilities of the three branches of government.


If you are citing a specific part or article of the U.S. Constitution, you must cite it in the text of the paper using an in-text parenthetical reference using the abbreviations used in "Bluebook Style."  For example:

In 1920, Suffragettes succeeding in winning the right for women to vote (U. S. Const. amend. XIX).

The companion References list citation would be:

U. S. Const. amend. XIX.


If citing an article, use the following example as a pattern:

In-text citation:

(U. S. Const. art. IV, § 3).

References list citation:

U. S. Const. art. IV, § 3.


For more information, consult this article in the APA Style Blog. It provides examples and explanations for citing a variety of resources in APA style.  They published an article on citing the U.S. Constitution:



Lee, C. (2010, June 3). How to cite the U.S. Constitution in APA style [Blog post]. Retrieved from APA Style website

Click on this link to view the entire blog post that discusses how to cite the U.S. Constitution in the APA Style.