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Encyclopedia > U.S. Constitution
Page I of the Constitution of the United States of America
Page II of the United States Constitution
Page III of the United States Constitution
Page IV of the United States Constitution
The Syng inkstand, with which the Constitution was signed

The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America and is the oldest codified written national constitution still in force. It was completed on September 17, 1787, with its adoption by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was later ratified by special conventions called for that purpose in each of the then-existing thirteen American states. It created a more unified government in place of what was then a group of semi-independent states operating under the Articles of Confederation. It took effect in 1789 and has served as a model for the constitutions of numerous other nations. Download high resolution version (600x724, 126 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Download high resolution version (600x724, 126 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Download high resolution version (600x724, 124 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Download high resolution version (600x724, 124 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Download high resolution version (600x731, 132 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Download high resolution version (600x731, 132 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Download high resolution version (600x731, 110 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Download high resolution version (600x731, 110 KB) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Download high resolution version (2338x1798, 2926 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: United States Constitution Declaration of Independence (United States) Independence Hall Categories: U.S. history images ... Download high resolution version (2338x1798, 2926 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: United States Constitution Declaration of Independence (United States) Independence Hall Categories: U.S. history images ... The inkstand used to sign the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. ... Law (a loanword from Old Norse lag), in politics and jurisprudence, is a set of rules or norms of conduct which mandate, proscribe or permit specified relationships among people and organizations, provide methods for ensuring the impartial treatment of such people, and provide punishments for those who do not follow... A codex (Latin for book; plural codices) is a handwritten book from late Antiquity or the Early Middle Ages. ... September 17 is the 260th day of the year (261st in leap years). ... 1787 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... This article discusses the history of the United States Constitution. ... Independence Hall Philadelphia (sometimes referred to as Philly or the City of Brotherly Love) is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States and the most populous city in the state of Pennsylvania, occupying all of Philadelphia County. ... State nickname: The QUENESE PERSON STATE Other U.S. States Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Governor Ed Rendell Official languages None Area 119,283 km² (33rd)  - Land 116,074 km²  - Water 3,208 km² (2. ... A U.S. state is any one of the 50 states (four of which officially favor the term commonwealth) which, together with the District of Columbia, form the United States of America. ... The Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, commonly known as the Articles of Confederation, formed the first governing document of the United States of America. ... 1789 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ...


The original copy of the Constitution is on permanent display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records. ... Aerial photo (looking NW) of the Washington Monument and the White House in Washington, DC. Washington, D.C., officially the District of Columbia (also known as D.C.; Washington; the Nations Capital; the District; and, historically, the Federal City) is the capital city and administrative district of the United...

Contents

History

Main article: History of the United States Constitution This article discusses the history of the United States Constitution. ...


After the Revolutionary War, the 13 colonies first formed a very weak central government under the Articles of Confederation. This government lacked, for example, any power to impose taxes, as it had no method of enforcing payment. It had no authority to override tax laws and tariffs between states. The Articles required unanimous consent from all the states before any changes could take effect. States took the central government so lightly that their representatives were often absent. For lack of a quorum, the national legislature was frequently blocked from making even ineffectual changes. The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was a war fought primarily between Great Britain and revolutionaries within thirteen of her North American colonies. ... The Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, commonly known as the Articles of Confederation, formed the first governing document of the United States of America. ... A tax is an involuntary fee paid by individuals or businesses to a state, or to functional equivalents of a state, including tribes, secessionist movements or revolutionary movements. ... A tariff is a tax placed on imported and/or exported goods, sometimes called a customs duty. ...


In September 1786, commissioners from five states met in the Annapolis Convention to discuss adjustments to the Articles of Confederation that would improve commerce. They invited state representatives to convene in Philadelphia to discuss improvements to the federal government. After debate, the Confederation Congress endorsed the plan to revise the Articles of Confederation on February 21, 1787. Twelve states (Rhode Island being the only exception) accepted this invitation and sent delegates to convene in May 1787. The resolution calling the Convention specified its purpose was to propose amendments to the Articles, but the Convention ignored its limitations. It voted to keep deliberations secret and decided to draft a new fundamental government design which eventually stipulated that only 9 of the 13 states would have to ratify for the new government to go into effect. These actions were criticized as exceeding the convention's mandate and existing law. However, Congress, noting dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation government, agreed to submit the proposal to the states despite the exceeded terms of reference. On September 17, 1787, the Constitution was completed in Philadelphia, and the new government it prescribed came into existence on March 4, 1789, after fierce fights over ratification in many of the states. 1786 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... The Annapolis Convention was a meeting at Annapolis, Maryland of 12 delegates from five states (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia) that called for a Constitutional Convention. ... Independence Hall Philadelphia (sometimes referred to as Philly or the City of Brotherly Love) is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States and the most populous city in the state of Pennsylvania, occupying all of Philadelphia County. ... The Continental Congress was the federal legislature of the Thirteen Colonies and later of the United States from 1774 to 1789, a period that included the American Revolutionary War and the Articles of Confederation. ... February 21 is the 52nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1787 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... State nickname: The Ocean State Other U.S. States Capital Providence Largest city Providence Governor Donald Carcieri Official languages None Area 4,005 km² (50th)  - Land 2,709 km²  - Water 1,296 km² (32. ... 1787 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... September 17 is the 260th day of the year (261st in leap years). ... 1787 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... March 4 is the 63rd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (64th in leap years). ... 1789 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Ratification is the process of adopting an international treaty, or a constitution or other nationally binding document (such as an amendment to a constitution) by the agreement of multiple subnational entities. ...


For a list of those who signed the Constitution, see List of signatories of the United States Constitution. The United States Constitution was signed by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787. ...


The Constitution

The U.S. Constitution styles itself the "supreme law of the land." Courts have interpreted this phrase to mean that when laws (including state constitutions) that have been passed by state legislatures, or by the (national) U.S. Congress, are found to conflict with the federal constitution, these laws are null and have no effect. Decisions by the Supreme Court over the course of two centuries have repeatedly confirmed and strengthened the doctrine of Constitutional supremacy, or the supremacy clause. State legislatures are the lawmaking bodies of the 50 states in the United States of America. ... Seal of the Congress. ... The Supremacy Clause appears in Article VI of the United States Constitution. ...


Although the U.S. Constitution was motivated in no small part by elite mercantilists and financiers' desire to minimize the political impact of non-owning classes and smallholding classes on elites' property and prerogatives, the Constitution guarantees the legitimacy of the American state by invoking the American electorate. The people exercise authority through state actors both elected and appointed; some of these positions are provided for in the Constitution. State actors can change the fundamental law, if they wish, by amending the Constitution or, in the extreme, by drafting a new one.


Different kinds of public officials have varying levels of limitations on their power. Generally, middle and other working class officials have extremely limited powers in American government. Their powers are merely discretionary. However, elite actors in government and certain departments like the military have few checks on their power, aside from divergent interests. Ideally, however, their official actions ought to conform to the Constitution, and to the laws made in accordance with the Constitution; but there is little by way of mechanisms for enforcement. Elected officials can only continue in office if they are re-elected at periodic intervals, which they typically are because of the structural limitations on political organization and participation. Appointed officials serve, in general, at the pleasure of the person or authority who appointed them, and may be removed at any time. The exception to this practice is the lifetime appointment by the President of Justices of the Supreme Court and other federal judges; the justification for this exception is that once appointed for life, these judges are presumed capable of acting free of political obligations or influence.


Principles of government

Although the Constitution has changed in many respects since it was first adopted, its basic principles remain the same now as in 1789. The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with copyright terms of life of the author plus 50 years. ... The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with copyright terms of life of the author plus 50 years. ... Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States is a famous oil-on-canvas painting by Howard Chandler Christy, depicting the Constitutional Convention signing the U.S. Constitution at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. ... Howard Chandler Christy (January 10, 1873—March 3, 1952) was an American artist. ... Adoption is the legal act of permanently placing a child with a parent or parents other than the birth parents. ...


There are three main branches of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—and they are separate and distinct from one another. The powers given to each are in theory balanced and checked by the powers of the other two. Each branch ideally serves as a check on potential excesses of the others. A legislature is a governmental deliberative body with the power to adopt laws. ... The judiciary, also referred to as the judicature, consists of justices, judges and magistrates among other types of adjudicators. ... Separation of powers is the idea that the powers of a sovereign government should be split between two or more strongly independent entities, preventing any one person or group from gaining too much power. ... In politics, the principle of checks and balances underlies many democratic governments. ...


The United States is federal in nature. Powers enumerated in the Constitution are given to the Federal Government, and all other, unenumerated, powers remain with the states or the people. (See the Tenth Amendment.) Federalism can refer to: The form of government, or constitutional structure, found in a federation. ... Amendment X (the Tenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, states: The Tenth Amendment is generally recognized to be a truism. ...


The Constitution, together with laws passed according to its provisions and treaties entered into by the president and approved by the Senate, stands above all other laws, executive acts, and regulations. Beginning with the case of Marbury v. Madison, the United States judiciary has engaged in judicial review. This means that the federal courts will examine duly enacted laws, and, if they are found to be unconstitutional, will overturn them. They also examine the acts of public officials—up to and including those of the president. (See United States v. Nixon.) This article is about law in society. ... A senate is a deliberative body, often the upper house or chamber of a legislature. ... Holding Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 is unconstitutional to the extent it purports to enlarge the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court beyond that permitted by the Constitution. ... Judicial review is the power of a court to review a law or an official act of a government employee or agent; for example, although the basis is different in different countries, as unconstitutional or violating of basic principles of justice. ... Constitutionality is the status of a law, procedure, or act being in accordance with the laws or guidelines contained in a constitution. ... United States v. ...


Since the enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment, all persons have been equally entitled to the law's protection. All states are equal and in principle none can officially receive special treatment from the federal government. Within the limits of the Constitution, each state must recognize and respect the laws of the others. State governments, like the federal government, must be republican in form, with final legitimacy resting with the people. Amendment XIV (the Fourteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and includes the due process and equal protection clauses (Section 1). ... The Equal Protection Clause is a part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, providing that no state shall. ... This article is on the political theory of republicanism. ...


By means defined in the Fifth Article of the Constitution, Congress may propose amendments to the Constitution. Moreover, any two thirds of the states may themselves initiate a convention for proposing amendments. When ratified as specified, all amendments are considered part of the Constitution.


Preamble

Main article: Preamble to the United States Constitution The Preamble to the United States Constitution consists of a single sentence (a preamble) that introduces the document and its purpose. ...


The Preamble to the United States Constitution consists of a single sentence that introduces the document and its purpose. The Preamble itself neither grants any powers nor inhibits any actions. It only explains the rationale behind the Constitution. The preamble, especially the first three words ("We the people"), is one of the most often-quoted and referenced sections of the Constitution. The preamble (Med. ...


The Preamble lists five purposes for the Constitution:

  • Providing for better cooperation among the states
  • Ensuring justice and peace
  • Providing for defense against invasion
  • Promote the general well being of the population
  • Securing liberties now and in the future

Articles of the Constitution

The remainder of the constitution consists of seven articles.


Article One

Article One establishes the legislative branch of government, U.S. Congress, which includes the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Article establishes the manner of election and qualifications of members of each House. In addition, it outlines legislative procedure and indicates the powers of the legislative branch. Finally, it establishes limits on federal and state legislative power. Article One of the United States Constitution establishes the legislative branch of government, Congress, which includes the House of Representatives and the Senate. ... Seal of the Congress. ... The House of Representatives is the larger of two houses that make up the U.S. Congress, the other being the United States Senate. ... Seal of the Senate The Senate is one of the two houses of the Congress of the United States, the other being the House of Representatives. ...


Article Two

Article Two describes the presidency (the executive branch): procedures for the selection of the president, qualifications for office, the oath to be affirmed, the powers and duties of the office, and procedures for selection. It also provides for the office of Vice President of the United States, and specifies that the Vice President succeeds to the presidency if the President is incapacitated or resigns. The article nominally makes the Vice President the presiding officer of the Senate, but in practice the Vice President only serves as such under limited circumstances. Article Two also provides for the impeachment and removal from office of civil officers (the President, Vice President, judges, and others). (See presidential system). Article Two of the United States Constitution creates the executive branch of the government, comprising the President and other executive officers. ... For the pop band, see Presidents of the United States of America. ... Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, the executive is the branch of a government charged with implementing, or executing, the law. ... The Vice President of the United States is the second-highest executive official of the United States government, the person who is a heartbeat from the presidency. As first in the presidential line of succession, the Vice President becomes the new President of the United States upon the death, resignation... Depiction of the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson, then President of the United States, in 1868. ... A presidential system, or a congressional system, is a system of government of a republic where the executive branch is elected separately from the legislative. ...


Article Three

Article Three describes the court system (the judicial branch), including the Supreme Court. The article requires that there be one court called the Supreme Court; Congress, at its discretion, can create lower courts, whose judgments and orders are reviewable by the Supreme Court. Article Three also requires trial by jury in all criminal cases, defines the crime of treason, and charges Congress with providing for a punishment for it, while imposing limits on that punishment. Article Three of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal (national) government. ... ... Seal of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest federal court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States to interpret and decide questions of federal law, including the... The jury trial (not to be confused with grand jury proceedings or trial by jury) is a bench trial wherein the Judge uses a jury to advise him on the facts while he determines the law. ... In law, treason is the crime of disloyalty to ones nation. ...


Article Four

Article Four describes the relationship between the states and the Federal government, and amongst the states. For instance, it requires states to give "full faith and credit" to the public acts, records and court proceedings of the other states. Congress is permitted to regulate the manner in which proof of such acts, records or proceedings may be admitted. The "privileges and immunities" clause prohibits from discriminating against those from other states in favor of their own citizens (e.g., having tougher penalties for out-of-staters convicted of crimes within a state). 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, especially by citizens who live near state borders; but in the days of the Articles of Confederation, crossing state lines was often a much more arduous (and costly) process. Article Four of the United States Constitution relates to the states. ... Extradition is a formal process by which a criminal suspect held by one government is handed over to another government for trial or, if the suspect has already been tried and found guilty, to serve his or her sentence. ... The Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, commonly known as the Articles of Confederation, formed the first governing document of the United States of America. ...


Article Five

Article Five describes the process necessary to amend the Constitution. It provides for two methods of proposing amendments: either two-thirds of the state legislatures can request a convention for the purpose of considering amendments, or Congress can propose an amendment by a two-thirds majority vote of each house. Proposed amendments, whether submitted by a convention or by Congress, must be ratified by three-fourths of the states to take effect; the Article gives Congress the option of requiring ratification by state legislatures or by conventions called in each state. Article Five currently places only one limitation on the amending power—that no amendment can deprive a state of its equal representation in the Senate without the state's consent. Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution may be amended. ... State legislatures are the lawmaking bodies of the 50 states in the United States of America. ...


Article Six

Article Six establishes the Constitution, and the laws and treaties of the United States made in accordance with it, to be the supreme law of the land. It also validates national debt created under the Articles of Confederation and requires that all legislators, federal officers, and judges take oaths to support the Constitution. Article Six establishes the United States Constitution and the laws and treaties of the United States made in accordance with it as the supreme law of the land, and fulfills other purposes. ... The Supremacy Clause appears in Article VI of the United States Constitution. ... Debt is that which is owed. ... An oath (from Saxon eoth) is either a promise or a statement of fact calling upon something or someone that the oath maker considers sacred, usually a god, as a witness to the binding nature of the promise or the truth of the statement of fact. ...


Article Seven

Article Seven sets forth the requirements for ratification of the Constitution. The Constitution was originally proposed as an amendment of the Articles of Confederation, which required ratification by all 13 of the original states for amendments to take effect. Article Seven of the Constitution, however, only required ratification by 9 states for that document to take effect. Scholars have traditionally resolved this contradiction by arguing that when the ninth state ratified the Constitution and the document took effect, those 9 states implicitly seceded from the union governed by the Articles and created a new, separate federal union. Under this theory, those states that did not ratify the Constitution would have remained part of a separate country. However, eventually all the states did ratify the Constitution. Article Seven of the United States Constitution describes the crap by which the entire document is to be ratified and take effect. ...


Provisions for amendment

The authors of the Constitution were clearly aware that changes would be needed from time to time if the Constitution was to endure and cope with the effects of the anticipated growth of the nation. However, they were also conscious that such change should not be easy, lest it permit ill-conceived and hastily passed amendments. Balancing this, they also wanted to ensure that an overly-rigid requirement of unanimity would not block action desired by the vast majority of the people. Their solution was to devise a dual process by which the Constitution could be changed. A constitutional amendment is an alteration to the constitution of a nation or a state. ...


The first option must begin in Congress which, by a two-thirds vote (of a quorum) in each house, may initiate an amendment. Alternatively, the legislatures of two-thirds of the states may ask Congress to call a national convention to discuss and draft amendments. To date, all amendments have been proposed by Congress; although state legislatures have on occasion requested the calling of a convention, no such request has yet received the required concurrence of two-thirds of the states.


In either case, amendments must have the approval of the legislatures or conventions of three-fourths of the existing states before they become part of the Constitution. All amendments save one have been submitted to the state legislatures for ratification; only the 21st Amendment was ratified by conventions. Amendment XXI (the Twenty-first Amendment) of the United States Constitution ended Prohibition. ...


Unlike most constitutions, amendments to the U.S. constitution are appended to the existing body of the text, rather than being revisions of or insertions into the main articles. There is no provision for expunging from the text obsolete or rescinded provisions. A constitutional amendment is an alteration to the constitution of a nation or a state. ...


Some people feel that demographic changes in the U.S.—specifically the great disparity in population between states—have made the Constitution too difficult to amend, with states representing as little as 4% of the population theoretically able to block an amendment desired by over 90% of Americans; others feel that it's unlikely that such an extreme result would happen. However, any proposals to change this would necessarily involve amending the Constitution itself, creating something of a Catch-22. Demographics comprises selected characteristics of a population (age and income distribution and trends, mobility, educational attainment, home ownership and employment status, for instance) for purposes of social studies. ... Catch 22 has become a term, inspired by Joseph Hellers novel Catch-22, describing a general situation in which A must have been preceded by B, and B have must been preceded by A. Symbolically, (~B => ~A) & (~A => ~B) where either A or B must come into being first. ...


Aside from the direct process of changing the Constitution, the practical effect of its provisions may be changed by judicial decision. The United States is a common law country, and courts are obliged to follow the precedents established in prior cases. However, when a Supreme Court decision clarifies the application of a part of the Constitution to existing law, the effect is to establish the meaning of that part for all practical purposes. Not long after adoption of the Constitution, in the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court established the doctrine of judicial review, which is the power of the Court to examine legislation and other acts of Congress and to decide their constitutionality. The doctrine also embraces the power of the Court to explain the meaning of various sections of the Constitution as they apply to particular cases brought before the Court. Since such cases will reflect changing legal, political, economic, and social conditions, this provides a mechanism, in practice, for adjusting the Constitution outside of amendments. Over the years, a series of Court decisions, on issues ranging from governmental regulation of radio and television to the rights of the accused in criminal cases, has had the effect of modifying what had been previously understood to be the meaning of many Constitutional clauses, with no change in the actual text of the Constitution itself. This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... Precedent is the principle in law of using the past in order to assist in current interpretation and decision-making. ... Holding Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 is unconstitutional to the extent it purports to enlarge the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court beyond that permitted by the Constitution. ... Judicial review is the power of a court to review a law or an official act of a government employee or agent; for example, although the basis is different in different countries, as unconstitutional or violating of basic principles of justice. ...


Congressional legislation, passed to implement provisions of the Constitution or to adapt those implementations to changing conditions, also broadens and, in subtle ways, changes the meaning of the Constitution. Up to a point, the rules and regulations of the many agencies of the federal government have a similar effect. In case of objection, the test in both cases is whether, in the opinion of the courts, such legislation and rules conform with the meaning of the Constitution.


Amendments

The Constitution has a total of 27 amendments. However, since the first ten of the amendments, collectively known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified simultaneously, it has in effect only been amended 18 times. The Bill of Rights is the name given to the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution. ...


The Bill of Rights (1–10)

Main article: United States Bill of Rights The Bill of Rights is the name given to the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution. ...

United States Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Those amendments were all adopted within a few years of the ratification of the Constitution, and all relate to limiting the power of the federal government. They were added in response to criticisms of the Constitution by the state ratification conventions and by prominent individuals such as Thomas Jefferson (who was a not a delegate to the Constitutional Convention). These critics argued that without further restraints, the strong central government would become tyrannical. The amendments were proposed by Congress as part of a block of twelve in September 1789. By December 1791 a sufficient number of states had ratified ten of the twelve proposals, and the Bill of Rights became part of the Constitution. Download high resolution version (630x670, 87 KB)Contrast added for readability. ... Download high resolution version (630x670, 87 KB)Contrast added for readability. ... Order: Third President Vice President: Aaron Burr; George Clinton Term of office: March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809 Preceded by: John Adams Succeeded by: James Madison Date of birth: April 13, 1743 Place of birth: Shadwell, Virginia Date of death: July 4, 1826 Place of death: Charlottesville, Virginia First Lady... 1789 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... 1791 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ...


It is commonly understood that the Bill of Rights was not originally intended to apply to the states, though except where amendments refer specifically to the Federal Government or a branch thereof (as in the first amendment, under which some states in the early years of the nation officially established a religion), there is no such delineation in the text itself. Nevertheless, a general interpretation of inapplicability to the states remained until 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment was passed, which stated, in part, that: The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. ... 1868 was a leap year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Amendment XIV (the Fourteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and includes the due process and equal protection clauses (Section 1). ...

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Supreme Court has interpreted this clause to extend some, but not all, parts of the Bill of Rights to the states. Nevertheless, the balance of state and federal power has remained a battle in the Supreme Court; for example, a recent case dealt with whether a state could be sued by an employee under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (see Federalist Society and Federalism). The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is the short title of United States Public Law 101-336, signed into law on July 26, 1990 by George H. W. Bush. ... The Federalist Society began at Yale Law School in 1982 as a student organization that challenged what it saw as the orthodox liberal ideology found in most law schools. ... Federalism can refer to: The form of government, or constitutional structure, found in a federation. ...


The amendments that became the Bill of Rights were actually the last ten of the twelve amendments proposed in 1789. The second of the twelve proposed amendments, regarding the compensation of members of Congress, remained unratified until 1992, when the legislatures of enough states finally approved it and, as a result, it became the Twenty-seventh Amendment despite more than two centuries of pendency. The first of the twelve—still technically pending before the state legislatures for ratification—pertains to the apportionment of the United States House of Representatives after each decennial census. The most recent state whose lawmakers are known to have ratified this proposal is Kentucky in 1792 during that commonwealth's first month of statehood. 1992 is a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Amendment XXVII (the Twenty-seventh Amendment) of the United States Constitution states: Interpretation and history This amendment to the United States Constitution provides that any change in the salary of members of Congress shall take effect only after the next general election. ... The Congressional Apportionment Amendment to the United States Constitution was the first of twelve amendments proposed by the 1st Congress in 1789 to the state legislatures for ratification. ... The House of Representatives is the larger of two houses that make up the U.S. Congress, the other being the United States Senate. ... A census is the process of obtaining information about every member of a population (not necessarily a human population). ... State nickname: Bluegrass State Other U.S. States Capital Frankfort Largest city Louisville Governor Ernie Fletcher Official languages English Area 104,749 km² (37th)  - Land 102,989 km²  - Water 1,760 km² (1. ... 1792 was a leap year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


The first amendment addresses the rights of freedom of speech and the press; the right of peaceful assembly; and the right of petition. It also addresses freedom of religion, both in terms of prohibiting the establishment of religion and protecting the right to free exercise of religion. The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. ... A public demonstration Freedom of speech is the liberty to freely say what one pleases, as well as the related liberty to hear what others have stated. ... Freedom of the press (or press freedom) is the guarantee by a government of free public speech often through a state constitution for its citizens, and associations of individuals extended to members of news gathering organizations, and their published reporting. ... Freedom of religion is the individuals right or freedom to hold whatever religious beliefs he or she wishes, or none at all. ... Establishment of religion refers to investing political power in a particular religious faith or body. ... The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment has often been interpreted to include two freedoms: the freedom to believe, and the freedom to act. ...


The second states, in its entirety, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Current case law (including U.S. Supreme Court decisions) tends to assert that the "right of the people to keep and bear Arms" is an individual right but not an absolute right, and that the states and federal government may omit certain classes of people from the general-public sense of the "militia" for cause (criminal record, young or old age, mental incapacity, etc.), and may limit the types of weapons to which the right applies. The courts have interpreted and re-interpreted the second amendment since it was ratified; the Supreme Court first visiting it in United States v. Cruikshank, in 1875. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, prevents the federal government from infringing on the right of people to keep and bear firearms. ... Seal of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest federal court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States to interpret and decide questions of federal law, including the... United States v. ... 1875 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ...


The third prohibits the government from using private homes as quarters for soldiers without the consent of the owners. The fourth guards against unreasonable searches, arrests, and seizures of property. The Third Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the United States Bill of Rights. ... The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. ... Use of the term The concept of property or ownership has no single or universally accepted definition. ...


The next four amendments deal with the system of justice. The fifth forbids trial for a major crime except after indictment by a grand jury; prohibits repeated trials for the same offense after an acquittal (except in certain very limited circumstances); forbids punishment without due process of law; and provides that an accused person may not be compelled to testify against himself. The sixth guarantees a speedy public trial for criminal offenses. It requires trial by a jury (of peers), guarantees the right to legal counsel for the accused, and guarantees that the accused may require witnesses to attend the trial and testify in the presence of the accused. The seventh assures trial by jury in civil cases involving anything valued at more than 20 U.S. dollars. The eighth forbids excessive bail or fines, and cruel or unusual punishment. Justice is a concept involving the fair, moral, and impartial treatment of all persons, especially in law. ... The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, is related to legal procedure. ... A trial is, in the most general sense, a test, usually a test to see whether something does or does not meet a given standard. ... In the common law legal system, an indictment is a formal charge of having committed a serious criminal offense. ... A grand jury is a type of common law jury; responsible for investigating alleged crimes, examining evidence, and issuing indictments. ... The term Double Jeopardy can be used to mean: double jeopardy, a legal term. ... Due process of law is a legal concept that ensures the government will respect all of a persons legal rights instead of just some or most of those legal rights, when the government deprives a person of life, liberty, or property. ... The Sixth Amendment (Ratified December 15, 1791) to the United States Constitution guarantees rights related to criminal prosecutions in federal courts. ... This article is confusing for some readers, and needs to be edited for clarity. ... A lawyer or attorney at law is a person licensed by the state to advise clients in legal matters and represent them in courts of law (and in other forms of dispute resolution). ... This article is about witnesses in law courts. ... The Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, guarantees juries in certain civil trials. ... Civil law has at least three meanings. ... The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States. ... The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is part of the U.S. Bill of Rights, protects against excessive bail or fines, as well as against cruel and unusual punishment. ... Traditionally, bail is some form of property which is deposited or pledged to a court in order to persuade it to release a suspect from jail, on the understanding that the suspect will return for trial or forfeit the bail (skipping bail is also illegal). ... A fine is money paid as a financial punishment for the commission of minor crimes or as the settlement of a claim. ... In society, punishment is the practice of imposing something unpleasant on a wrongdoer. ...


The last two of the first ten amendments contain very broad statements of constitutional authority. The ninth declares that the listing of individual rights is not meant to be comprehensive; that the people have other rights not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. The tenth provides that powers the Constitution does not assign to the federal government or does not prohibit the states from having are reserved for the states or the people to exercise. Amendment IX (the Ninth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, states: The Ninth Amendment, particularly when taken in conjunction with The Tenth Amendment, emphasizes that the Bill of Rights is not a grant of rights from the government to the people, but... Amendment X (the Tenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, states: The Tenth Amendment is generally recognized to be a truism. ...


Subsequent amendments (11–27)

Amendments to the Constitution subsequent to the Bill of Rights cover a wide range of subjects. The majority of the seventeen later amendments stem from continued efforts to expand individual civil or political liberties, while a few are concerned with modifying the basic governmental structure drafted in Philadelphia in 1787.


There also have been many failed attempts to amend the Constitution. There are some that are still ongoing today. See proposed amendments to the United States constitution Many (sometimes scores) of amendments are proposed in Congress every year, although most never even get out of committee. ...

Amendment XI (the Eleventh Amendment) of the United States Constitution was passed by the US Congress on March 4, 1794 and was ratified on February 7, 1795. ... 1795 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... The Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution altered Article II relating to presidential elections. ... 1804 was a leap year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Amendment XIII (the Thirteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution states: Section 1 Section 2 Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. ... 1865 is a common year starting on Sunday. ... Amendment XIV (the Fourteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and includes the due process and equal protection clauses (Section 1). ... 1868 was a leap year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Due process of law is a legal concept that ensures the government will respect all of a persons legal rights instead of just some or most of those legal rights, when the government deprives a person of life, liberty, or property. ... The Equal Protection Clause is a part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, providing that no state shall make or enforce any law which shall. ... The three-fifths compromise (1787) was a joining of the Virginia and New Jersey plans (regarding the government that would be created by the United States Constitution) in which each slave counted as three-fifths of a person regarding the apportionment of the members of the United States House of... Contemporary drawing depicting the first vote by African-Americans Amendment XV (the Fifteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War, Reconstruction amendments. ... 1870 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Amendment XVI (the Sixteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, authorizing income taxes in their present form, was ratified on February 3, 1913. ... 1913 is a common year starting on Wednesday. ... Amendment XVII (the Seventeenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution passed on April 8, 1913 and first in effect for the election of 1914, amends Article 1 Section 3 of the Constitution to provide for the direct election of Senators by the people of a state rather than their election... 1913 is a common year starting on Wednesday. ... Amendment XVIII (the Eighteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, along with the passage of the Volstead Act (which defined intoxicating liquors), established Prohibition. ... 1919 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution Amendment XIX (the Nineteenth Amendment) to the United States Constitution was passed by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress on June 4, 1919, and was ratified by the last state necessary on August 18, 1920. ... 1920 is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar) Events January January 7 - Forces of Russian White admiral Kolchak surrender in Krasnoyarsk. ... Amendment XX (the Twentieth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, also called The Lame Duck Amendment, establishes some details of presidential succession and of the beginning and ending of the terms of elected federal officials. ... 1933 was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... The presidential line of succession defines who may become or act as President of the United States upon the incapacity, death, resignation, or removal from office (by impeachment and subsequent conviction) of a sitting President or a President-elect. ... Amendment XXI (the Twenty-first Amendment) of the United States Constitution ended Prohibition. ... 1933 was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Twenty-second Amendment of the United States Constitution establishes a two-term limit for the Presidency. ... 1951 was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ... Amendment XXIII (the Twenty-third Amendment) of the United States Constitution permits the District of Columbia to choose Electors for President and Vice President. ... 1961 (As MAD Magazine pointed out on its first cover for the year) was the first upside-down year—i. ... ... Poll taxes had been enacted in eleven Southern states after Reconstruction as a measure to prevent poor black people from voting. ... 1964 was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Amendment XXV (the Twenty-fifth Amendment) of the United States Constitution clarifies an ambiguous provision of the Constitution regarding succession to the Presidency, and established procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President as well as responding to Presidential disabilities. ... 1967 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Amendment XXVI (the Twenty-sixth Amendment) of the United States Constitution states: Section 1. ... 1971 is a common year starting on Friday (click for link to calendar). ... Amendment XXVII (the Twenty-seventh Amendment) of the United States Constitution states: Interpretation and history This amendment to the United States Constitution provides that any change in the salary of members of Congress shall take effect only after the next general election. ... 1992 is a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Unratified Amendments

Over 10,000 Constitutional amendments have been proposed in Congress since 1789; in a typical Congressional year in the last several decades, between 100 and 200 are proposed. Most of these proposals never get out of Congressional committee, much less get passed by the Congress. Backers of some amendments have attempted the alternative method mentioned in Article Five, but no proposal of this sort has ever gotten far enough to be considered by all the state legislatures.


The Eighteenth Amendment is the only amendment to be directly and specifically repealed by another (the Twenty-first). The episode highlighted the importance of proposing and ratifying only the most important, and least evanescent, of amendments.


Of the thirty-three amendments that have been proposed by Congress, six have failed ratification by the required three-quarters of the state legislatures—and four of those six are still technically pending before state lawmakers. Starting with the 18th amendment, each proposed amendment (except for the 19th Amendment and for the still-pending Child Labor Amendment of 1924) has specified a deadline for passage. The following are the failed amendments:

  • The Congressional Apportionment Amendment proposed by the 1st Congress on September 25, 1789 defined a formula for how many members there would be in the United States House of Representatives after each decennial census. Ratified by eleven states, the last being Kentucky in June of 1792 (Kentucky's initial month of statehood), this amendment contains no expiration date for ratification. In principle it may yet be ratified, though as written, it became moot when the population of the United States reached ten million.
  • The so-called missing thirteenth amendment, or "Titles of Nobility Amendment" (TONA), proposed by the 11th Congress on May 1, 1810, which would have eliminated the citizenship of any American accepting "any title of nobility or honour" from any foreign power. A few people maintain that this amendment was actually ratified by the legislatures of enough states, and that a conspiracy has suppressed it. Known to have been ratified by lawmakers in at least twelve states, the last in 1812, this amendment contains no expiration date for ratification. It may yet be ratified.
  • A pro-slavery proposal, known as the Corwin amendment, proposed by the 36th Congress on March 2, 1861 which would purportedly have prevented the passage of any future constitutional amendment allowing Congress to regulate "the domestic institutions" within any state. It was ratified by only Ohio and Maryland lawmakers before the outbreak of the Civil War. Illinois lawmakers—sitting as a state constitutional convention at the time—likewise approved it, but that action is of questionable validity. The proposed amendment contains no expiration date for ratification and may yet be ratified. However, adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments after the Civil War have probably made this proposal effectively moot. (Presumably, however, any such subsequent amendment on this subject would likely include the withdrawal of this still-pending proposal.)
  • A child labor amendment proposed by the 68th Congress on June 2, 1924 which stipulates: "The Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age." Since this amendment was not ratified, this power theoretically remains with the states: however, subsequent federal child labor laws have uniformly been upheld as a valid exercise of Congress' powers under the commerce clause. This amendment contains no expiration date for ratification. It may yet be ratified.

The Congressional Apportionment Amendment to the United States Constitution was the first of twelve amendments proposed by the 1st Congress in 1789 to the state legislatures for ratification. ... Dates of Sessions 1789-1791 The first session of this Congress took place in New York City from March 4, 1789 to September 29, 1789. ... September 25 is the 268th day of the year (269th in leap years). ... 1789 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... The House of Representatives is the larger of two houses that make up the U.S. Congress, the other being the United States Senate. ... A census is the process of obtaining information about every member of a population (not necessarily a human population). ... State nickname: Bluegrass State Other U.S. States Capital Frankfort Largest city Louisville Governor Ernie Fletcher Official languages English Area 104,749 km² (37th)  - Land 102,989 km²  - Water 1,760 km² (1. ... June is the sixth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of four with the length of 30 days. ... 1792 was a leap year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... The Titles of Nobility Amendment was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution, introduced in 1810 by Senator Philip Reed, which did not take effect because it was not ratified by enough state legislatures. ... (Redirected from 11th Congress) Eleventh United States Congress Links and spelling have to be verified. ... May 1 is the 121st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (122nd in leap years). ... 1810 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... 1812 was a leap year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... The Corwin Amendment was and remains a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution offered by Ohio Congressman Thomas Corwin during the closing days of the 2nd Session of the 36th Congress in the form of House Joint Resolution No. ... Thirty Sixth Congress of the United States - 1859-61 Congressional Profile Total Membership, House of Representatives: 238 Representatives, 5 Delegates Total Membership, Senate: 64 (prior to admission of Oregon), 66 (after admission) Leadership Speaker of the House: William Pennington, Republican-New Jersey President of the Senate: John C. Breckinridge Senate... March 2 is the 61st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (62nd in leap years). ... 1861 is a common year starting on Tuesday. ... State nickname: The Buckeye State Other U.S. States Capital Columbus Largest city Columbus Governor Bob Taft Official languages None Area 116,096 km² (34th)  - Land 106,154 km²  - Water 10,044 km² (8. ... State nickname: Old Line State; Free State Other U.S. States Capital Annapolis Largest city Baltimore Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Official languages English Area 32,160 km² (42nd)  - Land 25,338 km²  - Water 6,968 km² (21%) Population (2000)  - Population 5,296,486 (19th)  - Density 165 /km² (5th) Admission into... The American Civil War was fought in the United States from 1861 until 1865 between the United States – forces coming mostly from the 23 northern states of the Union – and the newly-formed Confederate States of America, which consisted of 11 southern states that had declared their secession. ... State nickname: Land of Lincoln, The Prairie State Other U.S. States Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Governor Rod Blagojevich Official languages English Area 149,998 km² (25th)  - Land 143,968 km²  - Water 6,030 km² (4. ... The Child Labor Amendment was a proposed—and technically still-pending—amendment to the United States Constitution offered by the 68th Congress in June of 1924. ... Dates of Sessions 1923-1925 Major Political Events Officers Senate President pro tempore - Albert B. Cummins House of Representatives Speaker of the House - Frederick H. Gillett Members of the Sixty-seventh United States Congress Senate Alva B. Adams, Democrat, Colorado Henry F. Ashurst, Democrat, Arizona Lewis H. Ball, Republican, Delaware... 2 June is the 153rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (154th in leap years), with 212 days remaining. ... 1924 was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Categories: Stub | United States law | U.S. history of labor relations ... Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, known as the Commerce Clause, empowers the United States Congress To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes. ...

Expired Amendments

Properly placed in a separate category from the other four constitutional amendments that Congress proposed to the states, but which not enough states have approved, are the following two offerings which—due to deadlines—are no longer subject to ratification.

  • The Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA, which reads in pertinent part "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." Proposed by the 92nd Congress on March 22, 1972, it was ratified by the legislatures of 35 states, and expired on either March 22, 1979 or on June 30, 1982, depending upon one's point of view of a controversial ratification deadline three-year extension by the 95th Congress in 1978. Of the 35 states ratifying it, five later rescinded their ratifications prior to the extended ratification period which commenced March 23, 1979. There continues to be diversity of opinion as to whether such reversals are valid; no court has ruled on the question, including the Supreme Court. But a precedent against the validity of rescission was first established during the ratification process of the 14th Amendment when Ohio and New Jersey rescinded their earlier approvals, but yet were counted as ratifying states when the 14th Amendment was ultimately proclaimed part of the Constitution in 1868.
  • The District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment was proposed by the 95th Congress on August 22, 1978. Had it been ratified, it would have granted to Washington, DC two Senators and at least one member of the House of Representatives as though the District of Columbia were a state. Ratified by the legislatures of only 16 states—less than half of the required 38—the proposed amendment expired on August 22, 1985.

See also: List of unsuccessful attempts to amend the U.S. Constitution This article needs cleanup. ... The Ninety-Second United States Congresss convened on 21 January 1971, and adjourned on 18 October 1972. ... March 22 is the 81st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (82nd in Leap years). ... 1972 was a leap year that started on a Saturday. ... March 22 is the 81st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (82nd in Leap years). ... 1979 is a common year starting on Monday. ... June 30 is the 181st day of the year (182nd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 184 days remaining, as the last day in June. ... 1982 is a number and represents a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar Events January January 6 - William Bonin is convicted of being the freeway killer. January 8 - AT&T agrees to divest itself of twenty-two subdivisions January 11 - Mark Thatcher, son of the British Prime... Ninety-fifth United States Congress Links and spelling have to be verified. ... 1978 was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1978 calendar). ... March 23 is the 82nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (83rd in Leap years). ... 1979 is a common year starting on Monday. ... State nickname: The Garden State Other U.S. States Capital Trenton Largest city Newark Governor Richard Codey (acting) Official languages None defined Area 22,608 km² (47th)  - Land 19,231 km²  - Water 3,378 km² (14. ... The District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution. ... August 22 is the 234th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (235th in leap years), with 131 days remaining. ... 1978 was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1978 calendar). ... Aerial photo (looking NW) of the Washington Monument and the White House in Washington, DC. Washington, D.C., officially the District of Columbia (also known as D.C.; Washington; the Nations Capital; the District; and, historically, the Federal City) is the capital city and administrative district of the United... August 22 is the 234th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (235th in leap years), with 131 days remaining. ... 1985 is a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Each year, 100 to 200 proposals for amendments to the United States Constitution are introduced into Congress. ...


Proposals for amendments

There are currently only a few proposals for amendments which have entered mainstream political debate. These include the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, the Balanced Budget Amendment, and the flag-burning amendment. For more information see proposed amendments to the United States constitution. The Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that legislates a federal definition of marriage as a union of a man and a woman and prevents subsequent legislative and court action from extending marriage-like rights to same-sex and other unmarried couples. ... The Balanced Budget Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution which would require a balance in the projected revenues and expenditures of the United States Government. ... The Flag Burning Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would have outlawed burning the Flag of the United States. ... Many (sometimes scores) of amendments are proposed in Congress every year, although most never even get out of committee. ...


International influences on the development of the Constitution

In 1957 the American Bar Association acknowledged the debt American law and constitutionalism had to Magna Carta by erecting a monument at Runnymede.

Some of the ideas embodied in the Constitution were new, but many were drawn from Classical Antiquity and the British governmental tradition of mixed government which was in practice among 12 of the 13 states and were advocated by the writings of Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. The United States Constitution was partly based on ideas from the uncodified constitution of the United Kingdom, such as Article 39 from the British Magna Carta of 1215 which states that: Detail of the Magna Carta monument at Runnymede. ... Detail of the Magna Carta monument at Runnymede. ... 1957 was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The American Bar Association (ABA) is a voluntary bar association of lawyers which is not specific to any jurisdiction in the United States. ... Magna Carta placed certain checks on the absolute power of the English Monarchs. ... This article is about the historic water meadow where Magna Carta was signed; for the district council named after that place, see Runnymede (district). ... This article describes the ancient classical period: for the classical period in music (second half of the 18th century): see Classical music era. ... Mixed government, also known as a mixed constitution, is a form of government that integrated facets of democracy, autocracy, and monarchy. ... Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu - Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins/monobook/IE50Fixes. ... The United Kingdom has an uncodified constitution, which means it is not all contained in a single document. ... Magna Carta placed certain checks on the absolute power of the English Monarchs. ... Events June 15 - King John of England forced to put his seal to the Magna Carta, outlining the rights of landowning men (nobles and knights) and restricting the kings power. ...

No free man shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or deprived of his property, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor shall we go against him or send against him, unless by legal judgement of his peers, or by the law of the land.

The English Bill of Rights (1689) also acted as a source of ideas for the United States Constitution. For example, like the English Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution requires jury trials, contains a right to bear arms, and prohibits excessive bail and of "cruel and unusual punishments". The Bill of Rights 1689 is an English Act of Parliament with the long title An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown and known colloquially in the UK as the Bill of Rights. ...


Liberties guaranteed by Magna Carta and the 1689 English Bill of Rights were directly incorporated into state statutes and the Virginia Declaration of Rights, and many were then further incorporated into the Constitution and the United States Bill of Rights. Events Louis XIV of France passed the Code Noir, allowing the full use of slaves in the French colonies. ... The Virginia Declaration of Rights is a declaration by the Virginia Convention of Delegates of rights of individuals and a call for independence from Britain. ... The Bill of Rights is the name given to the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution. ...


International influences from the Constitution

The Constitution of The United States has also served as a model for the constitutions of numerous other nations, including the second oldest codified constitution, the May Constitution of Poland, which was written in 1791. The course and ideas of the French Revolution were also heavily influenced by the United States Constitution. May 3rd Constitution (painting by Jan Matejko, 1891). ... 1791 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... The period of the French Revolution in the history of France covers the years between 1789 and 1799, in which democrats and republicans overthrew the absolute monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church was forced to undergo radical restructuring. ...


See also

Wikisource has the full text of the Constitution.

File links The following pages link to this file: Abraham Lincoln Aristotle Ayn Rand Adolf Hitler Al Gore A Modest Proposal Articles of Confederation Arthur Schopenhauer Albert Einstein Amhrán na bhFiann Arthur Conan Doyle Ada programming language Antarctic Treaty System Andrew Jackson Andrew Johnson Adam Smith Bill Clinton Bible... Wikisource is a sister project to Wikipedia that aims to create a free wiki library of primary source texts, and translations of source texts in any language. ... A list of the American constitutional amendments, both ratified and unratified, are as follows: Ratified The first ten compose the American Bill of Rights The First Amendment - I (1791) The Second Amendment _ II (1791) Ensures the right to fom a militia. ... A number of amendments to the United States Constitution include a Congressional power of enforcement. ... This article needs cleanup. ... The Founding Fathers of the United States, also known to some Americans as the Fathers of Our Country, the Forefathers, Framers or the Founders are the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution or otherwise participated in the American Revolution as leaders of the Patriots. ... Origins Ancient Greece Main article: Athenian democracy The word democracy was invented in Athens, Greece, to describe the revolutionary system of government used. ... Magna Carta placed certain checks on the absolute power of the English Monarchs. ... Martin v. ... May 3rd Constitution (painting by Jan Matejko, 1891). ... Originalism in constitutional interpretation is the view that the meaning of a written constitution is (or should be) consistent with the meaning as it was originally understood by those who drafted and/or ratified the constitution. ... Swedens Constitution of 1772 took effect through a bloodless coup détat carried out by King Gustavus III, establishing a brief absolute monarchy in Sweden. ... This article is about the American writer Terry Jordan. ... Charles Kesler is the author of Keeping the Tablets: Readings in American Conservatism. ... Thomas Paine Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 – June 8, 1809) was an intellectual scholar and idealist, widely recognized as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. ... Order: 4th President Vice President: George Clinton; Elbridge Gerry Term of office: March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817 Preceded by: Thomas Jefferson Succeeded by: James Monroe Date of birth: March 16, 1751 Place of birth: Port Conway, Virginia Date of death: June 28, 1836 Place of death: Montpelier, Virginia First... John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States Oil painting by Gilbert Stuart, 1794 John Jay (December 12, 1745 – May 17, 1829) was an American politician, statesman, revolutionary, diplomat and jurist. ... A portrait of Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull, 1792. ... Portrait of Chief Justice John Marshall John Marshall (September 24, 1755–July 6, 1835), Chief Justice of the United States and principal founder of American constitutional law and the Supreme Court of the United States power of judicial review. ... Richard Hofstadter (1916-1970) was a noted American historian and professor at Columbia University. ...

References

  • Levy, Leonard W., ed. (2000). Encyclopedia of the American Constitution (2nd Edition). New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0028648803.
  • Hall, Kermit L. (1984). A Comprehensive Bibliography of American Constitutional and Legal History, 1896-1979. Millwood, N. Y.: Kraus International. ISBN 0527374083.
  • Kammen, Michael (1986). A Machine that Would Go of Itself: The Constitution in American Culture. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0394529057.
  • Kelly, Alfred Hinsey; Harbison,Winfred Audif; Belz,Herman (1991). The American Constitution : its origins and development (7th edition). New York : Norton & Co. ISBN 0393961192.
  • Edling, Max M. (2003). A Revolution in Favor of Government: Origins of the U.S. Constitution and the Making of the American State. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195148703.
  • Fallon, Richard H. (2004). The Dynamic Constitution : An Introduction to American Constitutional Law. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521840945.

External links

  • National Archives:
  • Official U.S. government sources:
  • Non-government web sites:
  • Activist/adovacy web sites:
    • Thirty-Thousand.org (http://www.thirty-thousand.org/): Site advocating an increase in the size of the House of Representatives.
    • U.S. Constitution.biz (http://www.usconstitution.biz): Web site of "Free Mart Publications", offering conservative pamphlets on the Constitution
    • The 21st Century Constitution (http://www.krusch.com/books/21st.pdf) A proposal for a revision of the Constitution updated "for the 21st century, with numerous political innovations".
    • Krusch, Barry (2003). Would The Real First Amendment Please Stand Up? (http://www.krusch.com/real/real2.html) Online book arguing that the Supreme Court's interpretation of the First Amendment has created a “virtual First Amendment" that is radically different from the true amendment.


United States Constitution
Main body
Preamble | Article 1 | Article 2 | Article 3 | Article 4 | Article 5 | Article 6 | Article 7
Amendments
Bill of Rights: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
Other amendments: 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27

History of the Constitution
Federalist Papers | Proposed amendments | Signatories | Unsuccessful amendments
Interpretation of the Constitution
Congressional power of enforcement | Dormant Commerce Clause | Incorporation of the Bill of Rights

Preemption | Separation of church and state | Separation of powers The Preamble to the United States Constitution consists of a single sentence (a preamble) that introduces the document and its purpose. ... Article One of the United States Constitution establishes the legislative branch of government, Congress, which includes the House of Representatives and the Senate. ... Article Two of the United States Constitution creates the executive branch of the government, comprising the President and other executive officers. ... Article Three of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal (national) government. ... Article Four of the United States Constitution relates to the states. ... Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution may be amended. ... Article Six establishes the United States Constitution and the laws and treaties of the United States made in accordance with it as the supreme law of the land, and fulfills other purposes. ... Article Seven of the United States Constitution describes the crap by which the entire document is to be ratified and take effect. ... This page lists all ratified and unratified amendments to the United States Constitution, as well as some proposals for amendments. ... The Bill of Rights is the name given to the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution. ... The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. ... The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, prevents the federal government from infringing on the right of people to keep and bear firearms. ... The Third Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the United States Bill of Rights. ... The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. ... The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, is related to legal procedure. ... The Sixth Amendment (Ratified December 15, 1791) to the United States Constitution guarantees rights related to criminal prosecutions in federal courts. ... The Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, guarantees juries in certain civil trials. ... The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is part of the U.S. Bill of Rights, protects against excessive bail or fines, as well as against cruel and unusual punishment. ... Amendment IX (the Ninth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, states: The Ninth Amendment, particularly when taken in conjunction with The Tenth Amendment, emphasizes that the Bill of Rights is not a grant of rights from the government to the people, but... Amendment X (the Tenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, states: The Tenth Amendment is generally recognized to be a truism. ... Amendment XI (the Eleventh Amendment) of the United States Constitution was passed by the US Congress on March 4, 1794 and was ratified on February 7, 1795. ... The Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution altered Article II relating to presidential elections. ... Amendment XIII (the Thirteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution states: Section 1 Section 2 Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. ... Amendment XIV (the Fourteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and includes the due process and equal protection clauses (Section 1). ... Contemporary drawing depicting the first vote by African-Americans Amendment XV (the Fifteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War, Reconstruction amendments. ... Amendment XVI (the Sixteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, authorizing income taxes in their present form, was ratified on February 3, 1913. ... Amendment XVII (the Seventeenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution passed on April 8, 1913 and first in effect for the election of 1914, amends Article 1 Section 3 of the Constitution to provide for the direct election of Senators by the people of a state rather than their election... Amendment XVIII (the Eighteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, along with the passage of the Volstead Act (which defined intoxicating liquors), established Prohibition. ... Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution Amendment XIX (the Nineteenth Amendment) to the United States Constitution was passed by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress on June 4, 1919, and was ratified by the last state necessary on August 18, 1920. ... Amendment XX (the Twentieth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, also called The Lame Duck Amendment, establishes some details of presidential succession and of the beginning and ending of the terms of elected federal officials. ... Amendment XXI (the Twenty-first Amendment) of the United States Constitution ended Prohibition. ... The Twenty-second Amendment of the United States Constitution establishes a two-term limit for the Presidency. ... Amendment XXIII (the Twenty-third Amendment) of the United States Constitution permits the District of Columbia to choose Electors for President and Vice President. ... Poll taxes had been enacted in eleven Southern states after Reconstruction as a measure to prevent poor black people from voting. ... Amendment XXV (the Twenty-fifth Amendment) of the United States Constitution clarifies an ambiguous provision of the Constitution regarding succession to the Presidency, and established procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President as well as responding to Presidential disabilities. ... Amendment XXVI (the Twenty-sixth Amendment) of the United States Constitution states: Section 1. ... Amendment XXVII (the Twenty-seventh Amendment) of the United States Constitution states: Interpretation and history This amendment to the United States Constitution provides that any change in the salary of members of Congress shall take effect only after the next general election. ... This article discusses the history of the United States Constitution. ... Title page of an early Federalist compilation. ... Many (sometimes scores) of amendments are proposed in Congress every year, although most never even get out of committee. ... The United States Constitution was signed by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787. ... Each year, 100 to 200 proposals for amendments to the United States Constitution are introduced into Congress. ... A number of amendments to the United States Constitution include a Congressional power of enforcement. ... The Dormant Commerce Clause doctrine in United States case law limits the right of states to legislate in connection with interstate commerce. ... Incorporation of the Bill of Rights is the legal doctrine by which the U.S. Bill of Rights, either in full or in part, is applied to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. ... In the United States federal statutes can limit the states powers by invalidating conflicting state and local laws. ... The phrase separation of church and state does not appear in any founding American document. ... Separation of powers is a doctrine whereby the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government are distinct to prevent abuse of power. ...

Specific clauses in the Constitution
Commerce Clause | Due Process Clause | Equal Protection Clause

Establishment Clause | Full Faith and Credit Clause | Supremacy Clause Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, known as the Commerce Clause, empowers the United States Congress To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes. ... Due process of law is a legal concept that ensures the government will respect all of a persons legal rights instead of just some or most of those legal rights, when the government deprives a person of life, liberty, or property. ... The Equal Protection Clause is a part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, providing that no state shall. ... The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution plainly prohibits the establishment of a national religion by Congress or the preference of one religion over another. ... Full faith and credit is mutual understanding between courts of the 50 states of the United States to recognize, honor and enforce each others actions. ... The Supremacy Clause appears in Article VI of the United States Constitution. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
United States House of Representatives - Amendments to the Constitution (2589 words)
The fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States was proposed to the legislatures of the several States by the Thirty-ninth Congress, on the 13th of June, 1866.
The twenty-first amendment to the Constitution was proposed to the several states by the Seventy-Second Congress, on the 20th day of February, 1933, and was declared, in a proclamation by the Secretary of State, dated on the 5th day of December, 1933, to have been ratified by 36 of the 48 States.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission to the states by the Congress.
The Avalon Project : The American Constitution - A Documentary Record (801 words)
Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Maryland; April 28, 1788.
Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Virginia; June 26, 1788.
Resolution of the Congress, of September 13, 1788, Fixing Date for Election of a President, and the Organization of the Government Under the Constitution, in the City of New York.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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