Basic Constitutional Civics

Constitution 1

Fundamentals of our US Constitution

Intended Audience: We the People

Constitution Definition:

The Constitution describes how our federal republican government is to work.

The Bill of Rights define citizens protections from the government.

Amendments are structural repairs.

The Headquarters & Leadership:

Hamilton in Federalist #78.

“Whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive, that, in a government in which they are separated from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them. The Executive not only dispenses the honors, but holds the sword of the community. The legislature not only commands the purse, but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated. The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.”

Three Branches summary:

The Congress commands the purse and prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated. The will.

 The Executive dispenses the honors but holds the sword of the community. The force.

The Judiciary is be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment.

The Constitution of the United States

Preamble

Article I – The Legislative Branch.

Article II – The Executive Branch.

Article III – The Judicial Branch.

Article IV – The States.

Article V – Amending.

Article VI – Debts, Supremacy, Oaths.

Article VII – Ratification Documents.

Articles of the Constitution

Article 1 gives Congress its powers and limits. Congress is the branch of the government who can make laws for the country. Article 1 also creates the two sections of Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Article 2 of the Constitution makes the executive branch of the government. The Executive branch has the responsibility and authority for the administration on a daily basis. In the United States, the executive branch is made up of the President and executive officers of the agencies.

Article 3 of the Constitution creates a judicial branch in the United States. The Judicial branch is the court system that interprets the law. In the United States, the judicial branch includes the Supreme Court and the lower courts which are made by Congress.

Article 4 of the Constitution talks about the states. Article 4 talks about what responsibilities and duties the states have along with what responsibilities the federal government has to each States.

Article 5 says that the only way the Constitution can be changed is by adding an amendment.

Article 6 says that any debts or engagements that the country had before adopting the Constitution are still valid. Article 6 also says that the Constitution is the highest law and that all officers and judges have to uphold the Constitution.

Article 7 of the U.S. Constitution is the final article of the Constitution. This article explains how many states need to ratify the Constitution.

Signatories: Thirty-nine, attest: William Jackson, Secretary

Ratification or approval

By ¾ of state conventions as in Article VII: DE(Dec 4, 1787), PA(Dec 12, 1787), NJ(Dec 18, 1787), GA(Dec 31, 1787), CT(Jan 9, 1788), MA(Feb 6, 1788), MD(Apr 26, 1788), SC(May 23, 1788), NH(Jun 21, 1788).

These states also approved the Constitution giving 100% ratification as called for in the Articles of Confederation: VA(Jun 25, 1788), NY(Jul 26, 1788), NC(Nov 21, 1789), RI(May 29, 1790).

Amendments to the Constitution:

Of nearly 12,000 attempted by Congress since 1788, 33 were sent to the states for approval and these 27 were the only ones ratified.

 

  Amendment Ratified Description  
  1st 1791 Rights to Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, Petition  
  2nd 1791 Right to Bear Arms  
  3rd 1791 Quartering of Soldiers  
  4th 1791 Search and Seizure  
  5th 1791 Grand Jury, Double Jeopardy, Self-Incrimination, Due Process  
  6th 1791 Rights of Accused in Criminal Prosecutions: Rights to Jury Trial, to Confront Opposing Witnesses and to Counsel  
  7th 1791 Jury Trial  
  8th 1791 Protections against Excessive Bail, Cruel and Unusual Punishment  
  9th 1791 Non-Enumerated Rights  
  10th 1791 Rights Reserved to States  
  11th 1795 Suits Against a State  
  12th 1804 Election of President and Vice-President  
  13th 1865 Abolition of Slavery and Involuntary Servitude  
  14th 1868 Protects rights against state infringements, defines citizenship, prohibits states from interfering with privileges and immunities, requires due process and equal protection, punishes states for denying vote, and disqualifies Confederate officials and debts  
  15th 1870 Voting Rights  
  16th 1913 Federal Income Tax  
  17th 1913 Popular Election of Senators  
  18th 1919 Prohibition  
  19th 1920 Women’s Right to Vote  
  20th 1933 Commencement of Presidential Term and Succession  
  21st 1933 Repeal of 18th Amendment (Prohibition)  
      22nd       1951        Two-Term Limitation on President  
  23rd   1961   District of Columbia Presidential Vote
  24th   1964   Abolition of Poll Tax Requirement in Federal Elections
  25th   1967   Presidential Vacancy, Disability and Inability
  26th   1971   Right to Vote at Age 18
  27th   1992   Congressional Compensation

Editor: Mike Kapic March 20, 2020

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