United States Constitution

PREAMBLE : We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution



Article IV: New States and Other Property

Text of Constitution:
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress. The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
The 'Travis Translation' of Constitution:
Congress can let new states into the Union, but no states can be formed inside another State. States cannot be made of two or more States, or parts of States, unless both the State legislatures of those States and Congress agree to it. Congress has the power to make rules and laws for lands and other property of the United States. Nothing in the Constitution can be used to influence any claims of the United States or any State.
According to these next provisions, the Constitution permits the crea tion of new states, provided the land for these new states is generally taken from areas not already states. This has not been an issue of much contention in American history. But when Virginia seceded from the Union before the Civil War, the counties in the area now known as West Virginia voted against secession. They declared themselves a new state. Though that declaration may have raised some constitutional questions, the Supreme Court in Virginia v. West Virginia (1871) settled the issue by interpreting Virginia’s actions during this period as giving consent to the separation, as well as acknowledging Congress’ approval of the new state. The second provision of this clause gives Congress the authority to directly administer land held by the United States that isn’t part of any state. Today, these lands include Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, among others. Depending on how Congress acts, these areas are subject to different degrees of self-rule. Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States, and though citizens in Puerto Rico do not vote in federal elections or pay federal income taxes, the territory is treated like part of the United States in many other respects. According to the Constitution, it is up to Congress to decide the laws and workings of these areas.