“The Constitution Is The Solution” Simple Explanation of the Articles of the United States Constitution
The United States Constitution was written in a clear manner as a contract between the states and the federal government, with the intention to limit the authorities of the federal government as much as possible.
This page is your summary of the Constitution, article by article, amendment by amendment. Though not a substitute for the Constitution, it may assist you in your journey of learning about the text of the U.S. Constitution, and understanding the original intent of the document.
The Preamble is an introduction, without any force in law, essentially establishing the "Why" of the Constitution, and giving us clues regarding the nature of the document, and the important concept of state sovereignty. The Founding Fathers were attempting to make more perfect the union, and to ensure government would be limited, and just, while protecting the union from attack from the outside. The federal government was expected to be a benefit to the people, rather than a detriment. The government was expected to protect the citizen’s rights, and property, by promoting liberty, and by existing in a limited fashion that enabled the states to self-govern, and to address their own affairs, while protecting the rights and property of the people.
Article 1 establishes the first of the three branches of the government, the Legislature. Each section establishes and defines the parameters of the U.S. Congress, the authorities of the U.S. Congress, and offers prohibitions to the states in Section 10.
Article 2 establishes the second of the three branches of government, the Executive.
Article 3 establishes the last of the three branches of government, the Judiciary.
Article 4 concerns the states.
Article 5 details the method of amending, or changing, the Constitution.
Article 6 concerns the United States itself. First, it guarantees that the United States under the Constitution would assume all debts and contracts entered into by the United States under the Articles of Confederation. It sets the Constitution and all laws and treaties of the United States to be the supreme law of the country. Finally, it requires all officers of the United States and of the states to swear an oath of allegiance to the United States and the Constitution when taking office.
Article 7 details the method for ratification, or acceptance, of the Constitution: of the original 13 states in the United States, at least nine had to accept the Constitution before it would officially go into effect.
The first ten amendments to the Constitution were all adopted at the same time and are collectively known as the Bill of Rights.
The 1st Amendment addresses the people's right to practice religion, to speak freely, to assemble, to address the government, and freedom of the press.
The 2nd Amendment protects the right to own guns.
The 3rd Amendment guarantees that the army cannot force homeowners to give them room and board.
The 4th Amendment protects the people from the government improperly taking property, papers, or people, without a valid warrant.
The 5th Amendment protects people from being held for committing a crime unless they are properly indicted, protects them from double jeopardy, that you need not be forced to testify against yourself, and from property being taken without just compensation (as well as due process guarantees).
The 6th Amendment guarantees a speedy trial, an impartial jury, that the accused can confront witnesses against them, and that the accused must be allowed to have a lawyer.
The 7th Amendment guarantees a jury trial in federal civil court cases. This type of case is normally no longer heard in federal court.
The 8th Amendment guarantees that punishments will be fair.
The 9th Amendment explains rights aside from those listed may exist, and not being listed does not allow them to be violated.
The 10th Amendment indicates authorities not granted to the federal government in the Constitution belongs to the states or to the people.
The 11th Amendment more clearly defines the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court concerning a suit brought against a state by a citizen of another state.
The 12th Amendment redefines how the President and Vice-President are chosen by the Electoral College.
The 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.
The 14th Amendment ensured all citizens of all states enjoyed rights at both the federal, and state, level. It also ensured that the federal government would not pay the debts of rebellious states.
The 15th Amendment ensures that race cannot be used as a criteria for voting.
The 16th Amendment authorizes the United States to collect income tax without regard to the population of the states.
The 17th Amendment shifted the choosing of Senators from the state legislatures to the people of the states.
The 18th Amendment abolished the sale or manufacture of alcohol in the United States. This amendment was later repealed by the 21st.
The 19th Amendment ensures that gender cannot be used as a criteria for voting.
The 20th Amendment set new start dates for the terms of the Congress and the President, and clarifies how the deaths of Presidents before swearing-in would be handled.
The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment.
The 22nd Amendment set a limit on the number of times a President could be elected - two four-year terms. It has one exception for a Vice-President who assumes the Presidency after the death or removal of the President, establishing the maximum term of any President to 10 years.
The 23rd Amendment grants the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) the right to three electors in Presidential elections.
The 24th Amendment ensured that no tax could be charged to vote for any federal office.
The 25th Amendment clarifies even further the line of succession to the Presidency, and establishes rules for a President who becomes unable to perform his duties while in office.
The 26th Amendment ensures that any person 18 or over may vote.
The 27th Amendment requires that any law that increased the pay of legislators may not take effect until after an election.
A Special Thanks to:
Faith Armory, 27498 Enterprise Cir W #2, Temecula, CA 92562
951-699-7500, www.faitharmory.com - For providing us with a classroom to meet in.
Clay Thibodeau for Congress - Boot Bono in the 45th District, www.clay4congress.com, for Donating Pocket Constitutions.
Political Pistachio.com for Donating Pocket Constitutions.