What is included in the US Constitution?
Articles and Amendments of the Constitution
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What is included in the US Constitution?
The US Constitution is divided into seven articles. Further, it has been expanded by the addition of 27 Amendments.
Next Article: What is the Commerce Clause? Back to: CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
What are Articles I, II, and III of the US Constitution?
Articles I, II, III establish the governance structure of the United States.
- Article I establishes two legislative bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate, to make the laws to govern the nation.
- Article II establishes the executive branch, which is led by the President, to enforce laws.
- Article III establishes the judicial branch of government to review the constitutionality of laws and their execution.
What is Article IV of the US Constitution?
Article IV establishes a Republican form of government whereby state citizens are represented in the Federal Government. It obligates the Federal Government to protect states against violence. It also includes the Full Faith and Credit Clause.
What is Article V of the US Constitution?
Article V lays out the authority and process for amending the Constitution.
What is Article VI of the US Constitution?
Article VI obligates the US to pay its debts. It also contains the Supremacy Clause, establishing the superiority of federal law over sae law. Lastly, it requires members of the Article I, II, and III branches to swear an oath of loyaly to the United States.
What is Article VII of the US Constitution?
Article VII identifies the individuals from the 13 states involved in signing or ratifying the Constitution.
What are the Amendments to the US Constitution?
Since its passage, the Constitution has been amended 27 times.
- Amendment 1 - Religion and Expression
- Amendment 2 - Bearing Arms
- Amendment 3 - Quartering Soldiers
- Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure
- Amendment 5 - Rights of Persons
- Amendment 6 - Rights of Accused in Criminal Prosecutions
- Amendment 7 - Civil Trials
- Amendment 8 - Further Guarantees in Criminal Cases
- Amendment 9 - Unenumerated Rights
- Amendment 10 - Reserved Powers
- Amendment 11 - Suits Against States
- Amendment 12 - Election of President
- Amendment 13 - Slavery and Involuntary Servitude
- Amendment 14 - Rights Guaranteed, Privileges and Immunities of Citizenship, Due Process and Equal Protection
- Amendment 15 - Right of Citizens to Vote
- Amendment 16 - Income Tax
- Amendment 17 - Popular Election of Senators
- Amendment 18 - Prohibition of Intoxicating Liquors
- Amendment 19 - Women's Suffrage Rights
- Amendment 20 - Commencement of the Terms of President, Vice President, and Members of Congress
- Amendment 21 - Repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment
- Amendment 22 - Presidential Tenure
- Amendment 23 - Presidential Electors for the District of Columbia
- Amendment 24 - Abolition of the Poll Tax Qualification in Federal Elections
- Amendment 25 - Presidential Vacancy, Disability, or Incapacity
- Amendment 26 - Reduction of Voting Age Qualification
- Amendment 27 - Congressional Pay Limitation
What is required to amend the US Constitution?
Amendment requires either approval by a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures.
What is the purpose of Amendments to the US Constitution?
Most of these amendments serve to protect individual rights, known as fundamental rights, against government infringement.
Perhaps the best-known constitutional rights are stated in the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, which make up the Bill of Rights.
The 14th Amendment, arguably the most important amendment, extended the protections afforded individuals under the Constitution by applying those provisions to state governments.
Notably, the 14th Amendment introduced the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.
- Note: The Constitution protects against government infringement of individual rights. It does not protect against infringement by individuals.
Discussion: Do you think that the brevity of the Constitution is positive or negative? Why do you think the document is concise? Do you believe that the Constitution should be subject to amendment? If so, under what conditions should the Constitution be amended?
- The brevity is considered by most to be a positive attribute. This aspect allows the Constitution to evolve through the interpretation of the general provisions. Of course, there is an argument that the brevity makes the document less thorough and overly vague. Very few people see the Constitution as an infallible document. As such, it is difficult to argue that it should never be amended. A very obvious argument in support of amendment is the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. Given the history of the partisan divide in the legislative branch, many would argue that requiring a two-thirds vote makes amending the Constitution overly difficult. Of course, there is the counter-argument that amendment of the Constitution should have a high (and possibly even higher) bar.
Academic Research on the US Constitution
- Wildenthal, Bryan H., U.S. Constitution (Annotated ed. 2018) (May 31, 2018). Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 3188256. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3188256or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3188256
- Sunstein, Cass R., Why Does the American Constitution Lack Social and Economic Guarantees? (January 2003). U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 36. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=375622 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.375622
- Phillips, James Cleith and White, Sara, The Meaning of the Three Emoluments Clauses in the U.S. Constitution: A Corpus Linguistic Analysis of American English, 1760-1799 (September 14, 2017). South Texas Law Review, Vol. 59, No. 2, 2018; BYU Law Research Paper No. 18-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3036938 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3036938
- Kay, Richard S, Formal and Informal Amendment of the United States Constitution (December 8, 2017). American Journal of Comparative Law, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3116988 [/ht_toggle]