The Constitution of the United States of America contains the supreme laws of the United States of America. The organization of the U.S. Government is outlined in the Constitution.
1. Three main branches of the government
The Constitution of the United States of America outlines the organization of its government. The legislative branch has a bicameral Congress, the executive branch is led by the President, and the judicial branch is headed by the Supreme Court. In addition to explaining how these branches are delineated, the specific powers and responsibilities of each of these three branches is explained in the Constitution.
2. Rights of individual states
The U.S. Constitution also reserves rights for each of the fifty states, respectively. This separation of rights to the states is part of the organization of the United State’s federal system of government.
3. Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution in 1791. These first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution were in response to the debates that the Constitution spurred on in 1788. The United States took a cue from the English when they wrote the bill of rights, and when examining the two constitutions these similarities are evident. Among the ten amendments in the bill of rights is the right to have a trial by jury, the right to free speech, the right to bear and keep arms, the banning of cruel and unusual punishments, and the prohibiting of excessive bail.
4. Original document
Naturally the original U.S. Constitution is a national treasure and is therefore closely guarded and well cared for. You can see the original document as it is on display at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington D.C.
5. Work of the Philadelphia Convention
The U.S. Constitution is the result of the work that took place during the Philadelphia Convention. The Constitution was drafted mainly by James Madison (thus he has earned the title of “The Father of the Constitution”). The original topics of concern that caused for the convention to meet to draft a constitution in the first place were that the state and government leaders were looking to establish a powerful bicameral legislature with a House and a Senate, an executive chosen by the legislature, a judiciary with life-terms of service and vague powers, and they were looking to put together a national legislature which would be able to veto state laws.
6. Articles of the Constitution
There are seven articles of the U.S. Constitution. These seven articles include: Legislative power, Executive power, Judicial power, states’ powers and limits, process of amendments, federal power, ratification
The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution is different from the body or the articles of the constitution in that it does not grant or prohibit any particular authority to the federal government. It simply establishes that the federal government has no authority outside of what will follow in the articles of the constitution. When it was written, the Federalists believed that the preamble was so clear in its delegation of rights, that no Bill of Rights was needed.
8. Subsequent amendments (11-27)
The first ten amendments are definitely the most popular, but there are actually twenty seven amendments in total. The last seventeen amendments are primarily focused on expanding the rights of the people, although some deal with the structure of government and political liberties. There are technically only twenty six amendments in effect as the eighteenth amendment is the prohibition amendment and the twenty-first amendment repeals it.
9. Unratified amendments currently under debate
There are several current proposals for amendments. These proposals are currently up for debate. These include the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, the Balanced Budget Amendment, and the Flag Desecration Amendment.
10. An ever changing document
The fact that there are still amendments under debate shows that the United States Constitution is a document that has changed as the needs in government and for the people have changed. Democracy continues to play a role in how “We the People” run our country.
Learn more with these U.S. Constitution websites.