Want to change this page's colors? Choose a new skin! The impetus for this page was my daughter — in fourth grade, she was doing a research project on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. A chip off the old block
Advertisement The Constitution is often hailed as a marvel of brevity and of clarity. It was, however, written in the 18th century, and many of the ideas, concepts, words, phrases, and euphemisms seem odd to us today, if not down right foreign.
Some of the more obscure words are defined in The Glossary. But what of the Constitution itself? What does it mean?
What does each article, each section, say? This page is like a synopsis or summary of the Constitution, article by article, amendment by amendment. This should not be taken as a substitute for the Constitution, but more like a study guide. The Preamble to the Constitution has no force in law; instead, it establishes the "Why" of the Constitution.
Why is this document in existence? It reflects the desires of the Framers to improve on the government they currently had to be "more perfect" than the Articles of Confederationto ensure that that government would be just, and would protect its citizens from internal strife and from attack from the outside.
It would be of benefit to the people, rather than to its detriment. And, perhaps as importantly, it intended to do the same for the future generations of Americans.
A more extensive exploration of the Preamble is also available. Article 1 establishes the first of the three branches of the government, the Legislature. Section 1 establishes the name of the Legislature to be The Congress, a bicameral, or two-part, body.
Section 2 defines the House of Representatives, known as the lower house of Congress. It establishes a few minimum requirements, like a year-old age limit, and establishes that the people themselves will elect the members for two years each.
The members of the House are divided among the states proportionally, or according to size, giving more populous states more representatives in the House. The leader of the House is the Speaker of the House, chosen by the members. Section 3 defines the upper house of Congress, the Senate.
Again, it establishes some minimum requirements, such as a year-old age limit. Senators were originally appointed by the legislatures of the individual states, though this later changed.
They serve for six years each. Each state has equal suffrage in the Senate, meaning that each state has the exact same number of Senators, two each, regardless of the population. This Section introduces the Vice-President, who is the leader of the Senate called the President of the Senate ; the Vice-President does not vote unless there is a tie.
Section 4 says that each state may establish its own methods for electing members of the Congress, and mandates, or requires, that Congress must meet at least once per year.
Section 5 says that Congress must have a minimum number of members present in order to meet, and that it may set fines for members who do not show up. It says that members may be expelled, that each house must keep a journal to record proceedings and votes, and that neither house can adjourn without the permission of the other.
Section 6 establishes that members of Congress will be paid, that they cannot be detained while traveling to and from Congress, that they cannot hold any other office in the government while in the Congress. Section 7 details how bills become law. First, any bill for raising money such as by taxes or fees must start out in the House.
All bills must pass both houses of Congress in the exact same form. Bills that pass both houses are sent to the President. He can either sign the bill, in which case it becomes law, or he can veto it. This is known as overriding a veto.
There are a couple more options for the President. First, if he neither vetoes a bill nor signs it, it becomes a law without his signature after 10 days.
The second option is called a pocket veto. It occurs if Congress sends the bill to the President and they then adjourn. If the President does not sign the bill within 10 days, it does not become law.THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 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 for the United States of America.
The Basics. Basically, the Constitution is the highest law in the United States.
All other laws come from the Constitution in some way. The Constitution also provides the . THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 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 for the United States of America.
T or F - The Constitution was signed on September 17, False - T or F - To win an election, a Presidential candidate must get at least Electoral votes.
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The Constitution of the United States of America. On this site, constitutional experts interact with each other to explore the Constitution’s history and what it means today.