The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. The Constitution, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government.
The US Constitution was written for the people by the people; our forefathers.
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.
Understanding the US Constitution and its laws will clarify your rights as a free individual and put you on the path to remembering what this country was founded on.
The US Constitution was put in place for a reason; to protect people from corrupt government. It’s very important to know and understand your freedoms.
Once you understand the Constitution, you will clearly see how corrupt the government has become; they are relentless in taking our freedom.
Bill of Rights
The Constitution came into force in 1789.
The first ten amendments of the US Constitution, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, offer specific protections of individual liberty and justice and place restrictions on the powers of government.
Changes to the Constitution are known as Amendments: some good / some bad.
The Presidential inaugural oath is specified to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
All four pages of the original U.S. Constitution are written on parchment.
FIRST US GOVERNMENT
From September 5, 1774, to March 1, 1781, the Continental Congress functioned as the provisional government of the United States.
Delegates to the First (1774) and then the Second (1775–1781) Continental Congress were chosen largely through the action of committees of correspondence in various colonies rather than through the colonial or later state legislatures.
In no formal sense was it a gathering representative of existing colonial governments; it represented the dissatisfied elements of the people, such persons as were sufficiently interested to act, despite the strenuous opposition of the loyalists and the obstruction or disfavor of colonial governors.
Endowed by the people collectively, the Continental Congress alone possessed those attributes of external sovereignty which entitled it to be called a state in the international sense, while the separate states, exercising a limited or internal sovereignty, may rightly be considered a creation of the Continental Congress, which preceded them and brought them into being.
Articles of Confederation – First Constitution of the USA
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was the first constitution of the United States. It was drafted by the Second Continental Congress from mid-1776 through late 1777, and ratification by all 13 states was completed by early 1781.
The Articles of Confederation gave little power to the central government.
The Confederation Congress could make decisions, but lacked enforcement powers. Implementation of most decisions, including modifications to the Articles, required unanimous approval of all 13 state legislatures.
Article I describes the Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government. Section 1, reads, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” The article establishes the manner of election and the qualifications of members of each body.
Representatives must be at least 25 years old, be a citizen of the United States for seven years and live in the state they represent.
Senators must be at least 30 years old, be a citizen for nine years and live in the state they represent.
Article I, Section 8 enumerates the powers delegated to the legislature. Financially, Congress has the power to tax, borrow, pay debt and provide for the common defense and the general welfare; to regulate commerce, bankruptcies and coin money. To regulate internal affairs, it has the power to regulate and govern military forces and militias, suppress insurrections and repel invasions. It is to provide for naturalization, standards of weights and measures, post offices and roads and patents.
Article II describes the office, qualifications, and duties of the President of the United States and the Vice President. The President is head of the executive branch of the federal government, as well as the nation’s head of state and head of government.
Article two is modified by the 12th Amendment, which acknowledges political parties, and the 25th Amendment relating to office succession. The president is to receive only one compensation from the federal government. The inaugural oath is specified to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
The president is the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces, as well as of state militias when they are mobilized. He or she makes treaties with the advice and consent of a two-thirds quorum of the Senate.
The president is to see that the laws are faithfully executed, though he or she may grant reprieves and pardons except regarding Congressional impeachment of himself or other federal officers.
The president reports to Congress on the State of the Union, and by the Recommendation Clause, recommends “necessary and expedient” national measures. The president may convene and adjourn Congress under special circumstances.
Section 4 provides for the removal of the president and other federal officers. The president is removed on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
Article III describes the court system (the judicial branch), including the Supreme Court. The article describes the kinds of cases the court takes as original jurisdiction. Congress can create lower courts and an appeals process, and enacts law defining crimes and punishments. Article Three also protects the right to trial by jury in all criminal cases, and defines the crime of treason.
Clause 1 of Section 2 authorizes the federal courts to hear actual cases and controversies only. Their judicial power does not extend to cases that are hypothetical, or which are proscribed due to standing, mootness, or ripeness issues. Generally, a case or controversy requires the presence of adverse parties who have some interest genuinely at stake in the case.
Section 3 bars Congress from changing or modifying Federal law on treason by simple majority statute. This section also defines treason, as an overt act of making war or materially helping those at war with the United States.
Article IV outlines the relations among the states and between each state and the federal government. In addition, it provides for such matters as admitting new states and border changes between the states. It requires states to give “full faith and credit” to the public acts, records, and court proceedings of the other states.
It also establishes extradition between the states, as well as laying down a legal basis for freedom of movement and travel amongst the states. Today, this provision is sometimes taken for granted, but in the days of the Articles of Confederation, crossing state lines was often arduous and costly.
Freedom of movement and travel amongst the states. NO TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS OR BANS!
The Territorial Clause gives Congress the power to make rules for disposing of federal property and governing non-state territories of the United States.
Finally, the fourth section of Article Four requires the United States to guarantee to each state a republican form of government, and to protect them from invasion and violence.
Remember the planned ANTIFA and BLM riots when nothing was done in 2020? Me too.
Article V outlines the process for amending the Constitution. Eight state constitutions in effect in 1787 included an amendment mechanism. Amendment making power rested with the legislature in three of the states and in the other five it was given to specially elected conventions.
The Articles of Confederation provided that amendments were to be proposed by Congress and ratified by the unanimous vote of all 13 state legislatures.
Article VI establishes the Constitution, and all federal laws and treaties of the United States made according to it, to be the supreme law of the land, and that “the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the laws or constitutions of any state notwithstanding.”
It validates national debt created under the Articles of Confederation and requires that all federal and state legislators, officers, and judges take oaths or affirmations to support the Constitution. This means that the states’ constitutions and laws should not conflict with the laws of the federal constitution and that in case of a conflict, state judges are legally bound to honor the federal laws and constitution over those of any state.
Article Six also states “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
Article VII describes the process for establishing the proposed new frame of government. Anticipating that the influence of many state politicians would be Antifederalist, delegates to the Philadelphia Convention provided for ratification of the Constitution by popularly elected ratifying conventions in each state.
The Constitution has twenty-seven amendments
The US Constitution’s original text and all prior amendments remain untouched. The precedent for this practice was set in 1789, when Congress considered and proposed the first several Constitutional amendments.
Amendments 1–10 are collectively known as the Bill of Rights, and Amendments 13–15 are known as the Reconstruction Amendments.
Safeguards of liberty (Amendments 1, 2, and 3)
The First Amendment (1791) prohibits Congress from obstructing the exercise of certain individual freedoms: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and right to petition. Its Free Exercise Clause guarantees a person’s right to hold whatever religious beliefs they want, and to freely exercise that belief, and its Establishment Clause prevents the federal government from creating an official national church or favoring one set of religious beliefs over another. The amendment guarantees an individual’s right to express and to be exposed to a wide range of opinions and views. It was intended to ensure a free exchange of ideas, even unpopular ones. It also guarantees an individual’s right to physically gather or associate with others in groups for economic, political or religious purposes. Additionally, it guarantees an individual’s right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The Second Amendment (1791) protects the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. Although the Supreme Court has ruled that this right applies to individuals, not merely to collective militias, it has also held that the government may regulate or place some limits on the manufacture, ownership and sale of firearms or other weapons.
Requested by several states during the Constitutional ratification debates, the second amendment reflected the lingering resentment over the widespread efforts of the British to confiscate the colonists’ firearms at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. Patrick Henry had rhetorically asked, shall we be stronger, “when we are totally disarmed, and when a British Guard shall be stationed in every house?”
READ THAT LAST PART AGAIN – The second amendment reflected the lingering resentment over the widespread efforts of the British to confiscate the colonists’ firearms at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. Patrick Henry had rhetorically asked, shall we be stronger, “when we are totally disarmed, and when a British Guard shall be stationed in every house?”
The Third Amendment (1791) prohibits the federal government from forcing individuals to provide lodging to soldiers in their homes during peacetime without their consent. Requested by several states during the Constitutional ratification debates, the amendment reflected the lingering resentment over the Quartering Acts passed by the British Parliament during the Revolutionary War, which had allowed British soldiers to take over private homes for their own use.
Safeguards of justice (Amendments 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8)
The Fourth Amendment (1791) protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures of either self or property by government officials. A search can mean everything from a frisking by a police officer or to a demand for a blood test to a search of an individual’s home or car. A seizure occurs when the government takes control of an individual or something in his or her possession. Items that are seized often are used as evidence when the individual is charged with a crime. It also imposes certain limitations on police investigating a crime and prevents the use of illegally obtained evidence at trial.
The Fifth Amendment (1791) establishes the requirement that a trial for a major crime may commence only after an indictment has been handed down by a grand jury; protects individuals from double jeopardy, being tried and put in danger of being punished more than once for the same criminal act; prohibits punishment without due process of law, thus protecting individuals from being imprisoned without fair procedures; and provides that an accused person may not be compelled to reveal to the police, prosecutor, judge, or jury any information that might incriminate or be used against him or her in a court of law. Additionally, the Fifth Amendment also prohibits government from taking private property for public use without “just compensation”, the basis of eminent domain in the United States.
The Sixth Amendment (1791) provides several protections and rights to an individual accused of a crime. The accused has the right to a fair and speedy trial by a local and impartial jury. Likewise, a person has the right to a public trial. This right protects defendants from secret proceedings that might encourage abuse of the justice system, and serves to keep the public informed. This amendment also guarantees a right to legal counsel if accused of a crime, guarantees that the accused may require witnesses to attend the trial and testify in the presence of the accused, and guarantees the accused a right to know the charges against them. In 1966, the Supreme Court ruled that, with the Fifth Amendment, this amendment requires what has become known as the Miranda warning.
The Seventh Amendment (1791) extends the right to a jury trial to federal civil cases, and inhibits courts from overturning a jury’s findings of fact. Although the Seventh Amendment itself says that it is limited to “suits at common law”, meaning cases that triggered the right to a jury under English law, the amendment has been found to apply in lawsuits that are similar to the old common law cases. For example, the right to a jury trial applies to cases brought under federal statutes that prohibit race or gender discrimination in housing or employment. Importantly, this amendment guarantees the right to a jury trial only in federal court, not in state court.
The Eighth Amendment (1791) protects people from having bail or fines set at an amount so high that it would be impossible for all but the richest defendants to pay and also protects people from being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. Although this phrase originally was intended to outlaw certain gruesome methods of punishment, it has been broadened over the years to protect against punishments that are grossly disproportionate to or too harsh for the particular crime. This provision has also been used to challenge prison conditions such as extremely unsanitary cells, overcrowding, insufficient medical care and deliberate failure by officials to protect inmates from one another.
Unenumerated rights and reserved powers (Amendments 9 and 10)
The Ninth Amendment (1791) declares that individuals have other fundamental rights, in addition to those stated in the Constitution. During the Constitutional ratification debates Anti-Federalists argued that a Bill of Rights should be added. The Federalists opposed it on grounds that a list would necessarily be incomplete but would be taken as explicit and exhaustive, thus enlarging the power of the federal government by implication. The Supreme Court has found that unenumerated rights include such important rights as the right to travel, the right to vote, the right to privacy, and the right to make important decisions about one’s health care or body.
The Tenth Amendment (1791) was included in the Bill of Rights to further define the balance of power between the federal government and the states. The amendment states that the federal government has only those powers specifically granted by the Constitution. Any power not listed is, says the Tenth Amendment, left to the states or the people. While there is no specific list of what these “reserved powers” may be, the Supreme Court has ruled that laws affecting family relations, commerce within a state’s own borders, and local law enforcement activities, are among those specifically reserved to the states or the people.
The federal government has only those powers specifically granted by the Constitution.
Governmental authority (Amendments 11, 16, 18, and 21)
The Eleventh Amendment (1795) specifically prohibits federal courts from hearing cases in which a state is sued by an individual from another state or another country, thus extending to the states sovereign immunity protection from certain types of legal liability. Article Three, Section 2, Clause 1 has been affected by this amendment, which also overturned the Supreme Court’s decision in Chisholm v. Georgia (1793).
The Sixteenth Amendment (1913) removed existing Constitutional constraints that limited the power of Congress to lay and collect taxes on income. Specifically, the apportionment constraints delineated in Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4 have been removed by this amendment, which also overturned an 1895 Supreme Court decision, in Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co., that declared an unapportioned federal income tax on rents, dividends, and interest unconstitutional. This amendment has become the basis for all subsequent federal income tax legislation and has greatly expanded the scope of federal taxing and spending in the years since.
The sixteenth Amendment goes against the original Constitution for collecting Taxes – Collecting taxes is illegal per the original Constitution. US Government got a taste of money when imposing the first tax collection to offset debts from the Civil War. Government kept taxing and the rest is history.
The Eighteenth Amendment (1919) prohibited the making, transporting, and selling of alcoholic beverages nationwide. It also authorized Congress to enact legislation enforcing this prohibition. Adopted at the urging of a national temperance movement, proponents believed that the use of alcohol was reckless and destructive and that prohibition would reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, decrease the need for welfare and prisons, and improve the health of all Americans. During prohibition, it is estimated that alcohol consumption and alcohol related deaths declined dramatically. But prohibition had other, more negative consequences. The amendment drove the lucrative alcohol business underground, giving rise to a large and pervasive black market. In addition, prohibition encouraged disrespect for the law and strengthened organized crime. Prohibition came to an end in 1933, when this amendment was repealed.
The Twenty-first Amendment (1933) repealed the Eighteenth Amendment and returned the regulation of alcohol to the states. Each state sets its own rules for the sale and importation of alcohol, including the drinking age. Because a federal law provides federal funds to states that prohibit the sale of alcohol to minors under the age of twenty-one, all fifty states have set their drinking age there. Rules about how alcohol is sold vary greatly from state to state.
Safeguards of civil rights (Amendments 13, 14, 15, 19, 23, 24, and 26)
The Thirteenth Amendment (1865) abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime, and authorized Congress to enforce abolition. Though millions of slaves had been declared free by the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, their post Civil War status was unclear, as was the status of other millions. Congress intended the Thirteenth Amendment to be a proclamation of freedom for all slaves throughout the nation and to take the question of emancipation away from politics. This amendment rendered inoperative or moot several of the original parts of the constitution.
The Fourteenth Amendment (1868) granted United States citizenship to former slaves and to all persons “subject to U.S. jurisdiction”. It also contained three new limits on state power: a state shall not violate a citizen’s privileges or immunities; shall not deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; and must guarantee all persons equal protection of the laws. These limitations dramatically expanded the protections of the Constitution. This amendment, according to the Supreme Court’s Doctrine of Incorporation, makes most provisions of the Bill of Rights applicable to state and local governments as well. It superseded the mode of apportionment of representatives delineated in Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3, and also overturned the Supreme Court’s decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857).
The Fifteenth Amendment (1870) prohibits the use of race, color, or previous condition of servitude in determining which citizens may vote. The last of three post Civil War Reconstruction Amendments, it sought to abolish one of the key vestiges of slavery and to advance the civil rights and liberties of former slaves.
The Nineteenth Amendment (1920) prohibits the government from denying women the right to vote on the same terms as men. Prior to the amendment’s adoption, only a few states permitted women to vote and to hold office.
The Twenty-third Amendment (1961) extends the right to vote in presidential elections to citizens residing in the District of Columbia by granting the District electors in the Electoral College, as if it were a state. When first established as the nation’s capital in 1800, the District of Columbia’s five thousand residents had neither a local government, nor the right to vote in federal elections. By 1960 the population of the District had grown to over 760,000.
The Twenty-fourth Amendment (1964) prohibits a poll tax for voting. Although passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments helped remove many of the discriminatory laws left over from slavery, they did not eliminate all forms of discrimination. Along with literacy tests and durational residency requirements, poll taxes were used to keep low-income (primarily African American) citizens from participating in elections. The Supreme Court has since struck down these discriminatory measures, opening democratic participation to all.
The Twenty-sixth Amendment (1971) prohibits the government from denying the right of United States citizens, eighteen years of age or older, to vote on account of age. The drive to lower the voting age was driven in large part by the broader student activism movement protesting the Vietnam War. It gained strength following the Supreme Court’s decision in Oregon v. Mitchell (1970)
Government processes and procedures (Amendments 12, 17, 20, 22, 25, and 27)
The Twelfth Amendment (1804) modifies the way the Electoral College chooses the President and Vice President. It stipulates that each elector must cast a distinct vote for president and Vice President, instead of two votes for president. It also suggests that the President and Vice President should not be from the same state. Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 is superseded by this amendment, which also extends the eligibility requirements to become president to the Vice President.
The Seventeenth Amendment (1913) modifies the way senators are elected. It stipulates that senators are to be elected by direct popular vote. The amendment supersedes Article 1, Section 2, Clauses 1 and 2, under which the two senators from each state were elected by the state legislature. It also allows state legislatures to permit their governors to make temporary appointments until a special election can be held.
The Twentieth Amendment (1933) changes the date on which a new president, Vice President and Congress take office, thus shortening the time between Election Day and the beginning of Presidential, Vice Presidential and Congressional terms. Originally, the Constitution provided that the annual meeting was to be on the first Monday in December unless otherwise provided by law. This meant that, when a new Congress was elected in November, it did not come into office until the following March, with a “lame duck” Congress convening in the interim. By moving the beginning of the president’s new term from March 4 to January 20 (and in the case of Congress, to January 3), proponents hoped to put an end to lame duck sessions, while allowing for a speedier transition for the new administration and legislators.
The Twenty-second Amendment (1951) limits an elected president to two terms in office, a total of eight years. Under some circumstances it is possible for an individual to serve more than eight years. Although nothing in the original frame of government limited how many presidential terms one could serve, the nation’s first president, George Washington, declined to run for a third term, suggesting that two terms of four years were enough for any president. This precedent remained an unwritten rule of the presidency until broken by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was elected to a third term as president 1940 and in 1944 to a fourth.
We need an Amendment that limits politicians to 8 years! NO LIFE TERMS!
The Twenty-fifth Amendment (1967) clarifies what happens upon the death, removal, or resignation of the President or Vice President and how the Presidency is temporarily filled if the President becomes disabled and cannot fulfill the responsibilities of the office. It supersedes the ambiguous succession rule established in Article II, Section 1, Clause 6. A concrete plan of succession has been needed on multiple occasions since 1789. However, for nearly 20% of U.S. history, there has been no vice president in office who can assume the presidency.
The Twenty-seventh Amendment (1992) prevents members of Congress from granting themselves pay raises during the current session. Rather, any raises that are adopted must take effect during the next session of Congress. Its proponents believed that Federal legislators would be more likely to be cautious about increasing congressional pay if they have no personal stake in the vote. Article One, section 6, Clause 1 has been affected by this amendment, which remained pending for over two centuries as it contained no time limit for ratification.
I hope you found this read on the US Constitution informative. I know the reading can be a bit dry but it’s important to know your rights.
There were laws put in place for a reason, mainly to protect people from corrupt government; it’s important you know them.
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