Basic Constitutional Civics
Fundamentals of our US Constitution
Intended Audience: We the People
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
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.
|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|
|8th||1791||Protections against Excessive Bail, Cruel and Unusual Punishment|
|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|
|16th||1913||Federal Income Tax|
|17th||1913||Popular Election of Senators|
|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|
Editor: Mike Kapic March 20, 2020