New Page 4
United States Constitution of 1787:
A Brief History (Continued)
By: Stanley L. Klos
Sec^t. 7 All bills for raifing revenue fhall originate in the houfe of
reprefentatives ; but the fenate may propose or concur with amendments,
as on other bills.
Every bill which fhall have paffed the houfe of reprefentatives and the
fenate, fhall, before it become a law, be prefented to the prefident of the
United States ; if he approve he fhall fign it, but if not he fhall return it,
with his objec^tions to that houfe in which it fhall have originated, who fhall
enter the objec^tions at large on their journal, and proceed to re-confider
(reconfider) it. If after fuch reconfideration,
two thirds (reconfideration two-thirds) of that
houfe fhall agree to pafs the bill, it fhall be fent, together with the objec^tions,
to the other houfe, by which it fhall likewise be reconfidered, and if approved
by two thirds (two-thirds) of that houfe, it
fhall become a law. But in all fuch cafes the votes of both houfes fhall be
determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the perfons voting for and againft
the bill fhall be entered on the journal of each houfe respectively. If any bill
fhall not be returned by the Prefident within ten days (Sundays excepted) after
it fhall have been presented to him, the same fhall be a law, in like manner as
if he had figned it, unlefs the Congrefs by their adjournment prevent its
return, in which cafe it fhall not be a law.
every order, refolution (comma) or vote,
to which the concurrence of the Senate and Houfe of Reprefentatives may be
neceffary (except on a queftion of adjournment) fhall be presented to the
Prefident of the United States ; and before the fame fhall take effect, fhall be
approved by him, or, being difapproved by
him, fhall be repaffed by two thirds (two-thirds)
of the Senate and Houfe of Reprefentatives, according according
(only one according)
to the rules and limitations prefcribed in the cafe of a bill.
Sec^t. 8. The Congrefs fhall have power
To lay and collec^t taxes, duties, impofts and excifes, to pay the debts and
provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States ; but
all duties, impofts and excifes fhall be uniform throughout the United States ;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States ;
To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the feveral ftates, and
with the Indian tribes ;
To establifh an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the
fubjec^t of bankruptcies throughout the United States ;
To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the
ftandard of weights and meafures ;
To provide for the punifhment of counterfeiting the fecurities and current
coin of the United States ;
To establish poft offices and poft roads ;
To promote the progrefs of fcience and ufeful arts, by fecuring for limited
times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their refpec^tive writings
and difcoveries ;
To constitute tribunals inferior to the fupreme court ;
To define and punifh piracies and felonies committed on the high feas, and
offences against the law of nations ;
To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprifal, and make rules
concerning captures on land and water ;
To raife and fupport armies, but no appropriation of money to that ufe fhall
be for a longer term than two years ;
To provide and maintain a navy ;
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union,
fupprefs infurrec^tions and repel invafions ;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for
governing fuch part of them as may be employed in the fervice of the United
States, referving to the (S)ftates refpectively,
the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia
according to the difcipline prefcribed by Congrefs ;
To exercife exclufive legiflation in all cafes whatsoever, over fuch diftric^t
(not exceeding ten miles fquare) as may, by ceffion of particular
(S)ftates, and the acceptance of Congrefs, become
the feat of the government of the United States, and to exercife like authority
over all places purchafed by the confent of the legiflature of the ftate in
which the same fhall be, for the erec^tion of forts, magazines, arfenals,
dock-yards, and other needful buildings ;-- And
To make all laws which fhall be neceffary and proper for carrying into
execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vefted by this conftitution
in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
Sec^t. 9. The migration or importation of fuch perfons as any of the
ftates now existing fhall think proper to admit, fhall not be prohibited by the
Congrefs prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or
duty may be imposed on fuch importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus fhall not be fufpended, unlefs
when in cafes of rebellion or invafion the public safety may require it.
No bill of attainder or ex post fac^to law fhall be passed.
No capitation, or other direc^t, tax fhall be laid, unlefs in proportion to
the cenfus or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
No tax or duty fhall be laid on articles exported from any ftate. No
preference fhall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports
of one ftate over thofe of another ; nor fhall vessels bound to, or from, one
ftate, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another.
No money fhall be drawn from the treafury, but in confequence of
appropriations made by law ; and a regular ftatement and account of the receipts
and expenditures of all public money fhall be published from time to time.
No title of nobility fhall be granted by the United States :---- And no
perfon holding any office of profit or truft under them, fhall, without the
confent of the Congrefs, accept of any prefent, emolument, office, or title, of
any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign ftate.
Sec^t. 10. No ftate fhall enter into any treaty, alliance, or
confederation ; grant letters of marque and reprisal ; coin money ; emit bills
of credit ; make any thing but gold and filver coin a tender in payment of debts
; pafs any bill of attainder, ex poft fac^to law, or law impairing the
obligation of contrac^ts, or grant any title of nobility.
No ftate fhall, without the confent of the Congrefs, lay
any impofts or duties on imports or expo ts, (exports,)
except what may be abfolutely neceffary for executing it's inspec^tion laws ;
and the neat (net) produce of all duties and
impofts, laid by any ftate on imports or exports, fhall be for the ufe of the
Treasury of the United States ; and all fuch laws fhall be subjec^t to the
revifion and controul of the Congrefs. No ftate fhall, without the confent of
Congrefs, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or fhips of war in time of
peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another ftate, or with a foreign
power, or engage in war, unlefs ac^tually invaded, or in fuch imminent danger as
will not admit of delay.
Sec^t. 1. The executive power fhall be vefted in a prefident of the
United States of America. He fhall hold his office during the term of four
years, and, together with the vice-prefident, chofen for the fame term, be
elected, as follows: (.)
Each ftate fhall appoint, in fuch manner as the legiflature thereof may direc^t,
a number of elec^tors, equal to the whole number of fenators and reprefentatives
to which the ftate may be entitled in the Congrefs : but no fenator or
reprefentative, or perfon holding an office of truft or profit under the United
States, fhall be appointed an elec^tor.
The elec^tors fhall meet in their respec^tive ftates, and vote by ballot for
two perfons, of whom one at least fhall not be an inhabitant of the fame ftate
with themselves. And they fhall make a lift of all the perfons voted for, and of
the number of votes for each ; which list they fhall sign and certify, and
tranfmit fealed to the feal of the
government of the United States, directed to the prefident of the fenate. The
prefident of the fenate fhall, in the presence of the fenate and houfe of
reprefentatives, open all the certificates, and the votes fhall then be counted.
The perfon having the greatest number of votes fhall be the prefident, if fuch
number be a majority of the whole number of elec^tors appointed ; and if there
be more than one who have fuch majority, and have an equal number of votes, then
the houfe of reprefentatives fhall immediately chufe by ballot one of them for
prefident ; and if no perfon have a majority, then from the five highest on the
list the said houfe fhall in like manner chuse the prefident. But in chusing the
prefident, the votes fhall be taken by ftates, the representation from each
ftate having one vote ; a quorum for this purpofe fhall consist of a member or
members from two thirds of the ftates, and a
m.jority (majority) of all the ftates
fhall be neceffary to a choice. In every cafe, after the choice of the prefident,
the perfon having the greatest number of votes of the elec^tors fhall be the
vice- prefident. But if there fould remain two or more who have equal votes, the
fenate fhall chuse from them by ballot the vice-prefident.
The Congrefs may determine the time of chusing the elec^tors, and the day on
which they fhall give their votes ; which day fhall be the fame throughout the
No Perfon except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States,
at the time of the adoption of this consfitution, fhall be eligible to the
office of (p)Prefident ; neither fhall any perfon
be eligible to that office who fhall not have attained to the age of thirty-five
years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.
In cafe of the removal of the prefident from office, or of his death,
refignation, or inability to difcharge the powers and duties of the faid office,
the same fhall devolve on the vice-prefident, and the Congrefs may by law
provide for the cafe of removal, death, refignation or inability, both of the
prefident and vice-prefident, declaring what officer fhall then ac^t as
prefident, and fuch officer fhall ac^t accordingly, until the difability be
removed, or a prefident fhall be elected.
The prefident fhall, at ftated times, receive for his fervices, a
compenfation, which fhall neither be encreafed
nor diminifhed during the period for which he fhall have been elected, and he
fhall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States,
or any of them.
Before he enter on the execution of his office, he fhall take the following
oath or affirmation: -- (:)
"I do solemnly fwear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of
prefident of the United States, and will to the beft of my ability, preferve,
protec^t and defend the conftitution of the United States."
Sec^t. 2. The prefident fhall be commander in chief of the army and
navy of the United States, and of the militia of the feveral
(S)ftates, when called into the ac^tual service
of the United States ; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal
officer in each of the executive departments, upon any fubject relating to the
duties of their refpec^tive offices, and he fhall have power to grant reprieves
and pardons for offences againft the United States, except in cafes of
He fhall have power, by and with the advice and confent of the fenate, to
make treaties, provided two-thirds of the fenators prefent concur ; and he fhall
nominate, and by and with the advice and confent of the fenate, fhall appoint
ambaffadors, other public ministers and confuls, judges of the fupreme court,
and all other officers of the United States, whofe appointments are not herein
otherwise provided for, and which fhall be established by law. But the Congrefs
may by law veft the appointment of fuch inferior officers, as they think proper,
in the prefident alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
The prefident fhall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen
during the recefs of the fenate, by granting commiffions which fhall expire at
the end of their next feffion.
Sec^t. 3. He fhall from time to time give to the Congrefs information
of the ftate of the union, and recommend to their consideration fuch meafures as
he fhall judge neceffary and expedient ; he may, on extraordinary occafions,
convene both houfes, or either of them, and in case of difagreement between
them, with resfpec^t to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to fuch
time as he fhall think proper ; he fhall receive ambaffadors and other public
minifters ; he fhall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and fhall
commiffion all the officers of the United States.
Sec^t. 4. The (p)
Prefident, (vp)Vice-Prefident and all civil
officers of the United States, fhall be removed from office on impeachment for,
and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
Sec^t. 1. The judicial power of the United States fhall be vested in
one fupreme court, and in fuch inferior courts as the Congrefs may from time to
time ordain and eftablish. The judges, both of the fupreme and inferior courts,
fhall hold their offices during good behaviour, and fhall, at ftated times,
receive for their fervices a compenfation, which fhall not be diminifhed during
their continuance in office.
Sec^t. 2. The judicial power fhall extend to all cafes, in law and
equity, arifing under this conftitution, the laws of the United States, and
treaties made, or which fhall be made, under their authority ; to all cafes
affec^ting ambaffadors, other public minifters and consuls ; to all cafes of
admiralty and maritime jurifdiction ; to controversies to which the United
States fhall be a party ; to controverfies between two or more States, between
a ftate and citizens of another ftate, between citizens of different States,
between citizens of the fame ftate claiming lands under grants of different
States, and between a ftate, or the citizens thereof, and foreign States,
citizens or fubjec^ts.
In all cases affecting ambaffadors, other public minifters and consuls, and
thofe in which a ftate fhall be party, the fupreme court fhall have original
jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the fupreme court fhall
have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fac^t, with fuch exceptions, and
under fuch regulations as the Congrefs fhall make.
The trial of all crimes, except in cafes of impeachment, fhall be by jury ;
and fuch trial fhall be held in the ftate where the faid crimes fhall have been
committed ; but when not committed within any ftate, the trial fhall be at fuch
place or places as the Congrefs may by law have direc^ted.
Sec^t. 3. Treafon againft the United States, fhall confift only in
levying war againft them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and
comfort. No perfon fhall be convic^ted of treafon unlefs on the teftimony of two
witneffes to the fame overt ac^t, or on confeffion in open court.
The Congrefs fhall have power to declare the punifhment of
treafon, but no attainder of treafon fhall work corruption of blood, or
forfeiture except during the life of the perfon attainted.
Sec^t. 1. Full faith and credit fhall be given in each ftate to the
public ac^ts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other ftate. And the
Congrefs may by general laws prefcribe the manner in which fuch ac^ts, records
and proceedings fhall be proved, and the effect^t thereof.
Sec^t. 2. The citizens of each ftate fhall be entitled to all
privileges and immunities of citizens in the feveral ftates.
A perfon charged in any ftate with treafon, felony, or other crime, who fhall
flee from juftice, and be found in another ftate, fhall on demand of the
executive authority of the ftate from which he fled, be delivered up, to be
removed to the ftate having jurifdic^tion of the crime.
No perfon held to fervice or labour in one ftate, under the laws thereof,
efcaping into another, fhall, in confequence of
any law or regulation therein, be difcharged from fuch fervice or labour, but
fhall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom fuch fervice or
labour may be due.
Sec^t. 3. New ftates may be admitted by the Congrefs into this union
; but no new ftate fhall be formed or erec^ted within the jurifdic^tion of any
other ftate ; nor any ftate be formed by the junc^tion of two or more states, or
parts of ftates, without the confent of the legiflatures of the ftates
concerned, as well as of the Congrefs.
The Congrefs fhall have power to difpofe of and make all needful rules and
regulations respec^ting the territory or other property belonging to the United
States ; and nothing in this conftitution fhall be so conftrued as to prejudice
any claims of the United States, or of any particular ftate.
Sec^t. 4. The United States fhall guarantee to every ftate in this
union a Republican form of government, and fhall protec^t each of them againft
invafion ; and on application of the legiflature, or of the executive (when the
legiflature cannot be convened), againft domeftic violence.
The (C) congrefs, whenever
two-thirds of both houfes fhall deem it neceffary, fhall propofe amendments to
this conftitution, or, on the application of the legiflatures of two thirds
(two- thirds) of the feveral states, fhall call a
convention for propofing amendments, which, in either cafe, fhall be valid to
all intents and purpofes, as part of this conftitution, when ratified by the
legiflatures of three fourths (three-fourths) of
the feveral ftates, or by conventions in three fourths
(three-fourths) thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may
be propofed by the Congrefs ; Provided, that no amendment which may be made
prior to the year one thoufand eight hundred and eight fhall in any manner affec^t
the firft and fourth claufes in the ninth sec^tion of the firft article ; and
that no ftate, without its confent, fhall be deprived of its equal fuffrage in
All debts contrac^ted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of
this conftitution, fhall be as valid againft the United States under this
conftitution, as under the confederation.
This conftitution, and the laws of the United States which fhall be made in
purfuance thereof ; and all treaties made, or which fhall be made, under the
authority of the United States, fhall be the fupreme law of the land ; and the
judges in every ftate fhall be bound thereby, any thing in the conftitution or
laws of any ftate to the contrary notwithftanding.
The fenators and reprefentatives beforementioned, and the
members of the feveral ftate legiflatures, and all executive and judicial
officers, both of the United States and of the feveral States, fhall be bound,
by oath or affirmation, to support this conftitution ; but no religious teft
fhall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public truft under
the United States.
The ratification of the conventions of nine ftates fhall
(States, fhall) be fufficient for the
eftablishment of this conftitution between the (S)ftates
so ratifying the fame.
Done in Convention, by the unanimous confent of the (S)ftates
prefent the feventeenth day of September,
in the year of our Lord one thoufand feven hundred and eighty-feven and of the
Independence of the United States of America the twelfth. In witnefs whereof we
have hereunto fubfcribed our (N)names.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, Prefident,
And (D)deputy from VIRGINIA.
William Samuel Johnfon,
Gunning Bedford, (J)junior
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer,
James Madifon, (J)junior,
Richard Dobbs Spaight,
Charles Cotef(s)worth Pinckney,
Atteft, WILLIAM JACKSON,
CONVENTION, Monday, (no
comma) September 17th,
P R E S E N T
The States of New-Hampfhire, Maffachufetts, Connec^ticut, Mr. Hamilton
from New- York, New-Jerfey, Pennfylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia,
North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia :
R E S O L V E D,
That the preceding
Conftitution be laid before the United States in Congrefs affembled, and that
it is the opinion of this Convention, that it fould afterwards be fubmitted to
a Convention of Delegates, chofen in each State by the People thereof, under
the recommendation of its Legiflature, for their affent and ratification ; and
that each Convention affenting to, and and (only one
and) ratifying the fame, fhould give (N)notice
thereof to the United States in Congrefs affembled.
Refolved, That it is the opinion of this
Convention, that as foon as the Conventions of nine States fhall have ratified
this Conftitution, the United States in Congrefs affembled fhould fix a day on
which Elec^tors fhould be appointed by the States which fhall have ratified
the fame, and a day on which the Elec^tors fhould affemble to vote for the
Prefident, and the time and place for commencing proceedings under this
Conftitution. That after fuch publication the Elec^tors fhould be appointed,
and the Senators and Reprefentatives elec^ted : That the Elec^tors fould meet
on the day fixed for the Elec^tion of the Prefident, and fould tranfmit these
votes, certified, figned, fealed, and direc^ted, as the Conftitution requires,
to the Secretary of the United States in Congrefs affembled ; that the
Senators and Reprefentatives fould convene at the time and place affigned ;
that the Senators fould appoint a Prefident of the Senate, for the fole
purpofe of receiving, opening and counting the votes for Prefident ; and,
after he fhall be chofen, the Congrefs, together with the Prefident, fould,
without delay, proceed to execute this Conftitution.
unanimous Order of the Convention,
William Jackson, Secretary.
CONVENTION, September 17th, 1787.
S I R,
We have now the honor to fubmit to the
confideration of the United States in Congrefs affembled, that Conftitution
which has appeared to us the moft advifable.
The friends of our country have long feen and defired, that the power of
making war, peace, and treaties, that of leving
money and regulating commerce, and the correfpondent executive and
judicial authorities, fhould be fully and effec^tually vefted in the general
government of the Union : but the impropriety of delegating fuch extenfive truft
to one body of men is evident --- Hence refults the neceffity of a different
It is obvioufly imprac^tical in the foederal
(federal) government of thefe ftates, to
fecure all rights of independent fovereignty to each, and yet provide for the
intereft and fafety of all --- Individuals entering into fociety, muft give up a
fhare of liberty, (no
comma) to preferve the reft. The magnitude
of the facrifice muft depend as well on fituation and circumftances, as on the
objec^t to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precifion the
line between thofe rights which muft be furrendered, and thofe which may be
referved ; and on the prefent occafion this difficulty was encreafed by a
difference among the feveral ftates, (States
no comma) as
to their fituation, extent, habits, and particular interefts.
In all our deliberations on this fubject we kept fteadily in our view, that
which appears to us the greateft intereft of every true American, the
confolidation of our (U)union, in which is
involved our profperity, felicity, fafety, perhaps our national exiftence. This
important confideration, feriously and deeply impreffed on our minds, led each
State in the Convention to be lefs rigid on points of inferior magnitude, than
might have been otherwife expected ; and thus the Conftitution, which we now
prefent, is the refult of a fpirit of amity, and of that mutual deference and
conceffion which the peculiarity of our political fituation rendered
That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every State is not
perhaps to be expec^ted ; but each will doubtlefs consider, that had her
intereft been alone confulted, the confequences might have been particularly
difagreeable or injurious to others ; that it is liable to as few exceptions as
could reafonably have been expec^ted, we hope and believe ; that it may promote
the lafting welfare of that country, (no
comma) to dear to us all, and fecure her
freedom and happinefs, is our moft ardent wifh.
With great refpec^t,
We have the honor to be,
S I R,
Obedient and humble Servant,
GEORGE WASHINGTON, Prefident
By unanimous Order of the Convention.
The PRESIDENT of CONGRESS
: PRINTED BY
[i] Judson, Frederick Newton, The law of interstate
commerce and its federal regulation, Proceedings
of commissioners to remedy defects of the federal government, Annapolis in the
State of Maryland
11th 1786. At a meeting of
Commissioners, from the States of New York
, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia, Chicago: the Flood & Co. 1905, page 4
[ii] Pellew, George, John Jay
, Houghton, Mifflin and Company Boston:1890, p. 221
[iii] JCC, 1774-1789, ed. Worthington C. Ford et al. (Washington,
D.C., 1904-37), 19:137., Journals of the United States, in Congress Assembled, Resolution to “render
the federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government and the
preservation of the Union”, February 21, 1787.
[v] In 1786, a group of men in Massachusetts, including
General Rufus Putnam, Benjamin Tupper, Samuel Holden Parsons and Manasseh
, founded the Ohio Company of Associates, a real estate
company. The Ohio Company of Associates agreed to purchase 1,500,000 acres of
land, $500,000 immediately and another
$500,000 payment once survey the Northwest Ordinance was enacted and surveys
completed. The USCA, in the end enacted the Ordinance and also permitted the
company to pay for part of the land using military warrants.
[vi] Ibid, March 28, 1787
[vii] Ibid, July 13, 1787
[viii] St. Clair Arthur and Smith Henry, The St. Clair Papers: The Life and Public Services of Arthur St. Clair
, Robert Clark and Company 1881, page 128
[ix] Librarian of Congress, The Works of Charles Sumner,
Lee and Shepard: 1877 Entered according to Act of Congress, In the year 1877,
BY FRAXCIS V. BALCIf, EXECUTOR, page 416
[x] JCC, 1774-1789, ed. Worthington C. Ford et al, July 13,
1787,An Ordinance for the government of the Territory of the United States
northwest of the River Ohio
[xii] The New Jersey Plan was the
developed by the small States and named after N.J. Delegate William Paterson
who presented it on the convention floor.
[xiii] Farrand, Max, The records of the Federal convention of
1787, Volume 1 By United States. Constitutional Convention, Yale
University Press, 1911 page 444
[xiv] Washington, George, Plan of the New Federal Government, Printed by Robert Smith,
: 1787, Original Document, Stan Klos Collection.
[xv] JCC, 1774-1789, ed. Worthington C. Ford et al
, November 15, 1777, the Articles of Confederation
Smith, Paul H., et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress,
1774-1789. 25 volumes, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress,
1976-2000). Melancton Smith
's Notes of
[xxiii] Ibid, James Madison
, September 30, 1787.
[xxiv] Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled,
September 28, 1787
[xxv] Dillon, Philip Robert, American Anniversaries: Every Day in the Year, Presenting Seven Hundred
and Fifty Events in United States History, from the Discovery
of America to the Present
Day, The Philip R. Dillon: New York
[xxvi] JCC, 1774-1789, ed. Worthington C. Ford et al, July 2
[xxvii] The Bill of
was the first
ten amendments to the United States Constitution. They were introduced by
Representative James Madison
to the U.S.
House in 1789 as a series of 17 articles. Twelve amendments were approved by
Congress but only ten came into effect on December 15, 1791, when they were
ratified by three-fourths of the States.
[xxviii] Hardie, James,
The Description of the City of New York
, A Brief
Account and Most Remarkable Events, Which Have Occurred in Its History, S. Marks Publisher, New York: 1827, page 113
[xxix] JCC, 1774-1789, ed. Worthington C. Ford et al. (Washington,
D.C., 1904-37), 19:137., Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled,
September 13, 1789
[xxx] JCC, 1774-1789, ed. Worthington C. Ford et al. (Washington,
D.C., 1904-37), 19:137., Journals of the United States in Congress Assembled,
March 2, 1789
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