Are You a Constitution Expert?

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By jwblackwell

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9 Questions

What was the purpose of the Constitutional Convention in 1787?

Which political theorists influenced the drafting of the Constitution?

What is the Bill of Rights?

What does Article III of the Constitution describe?

What is the process for amending the Constitution?

What do Amendments 13, 14, and 15 have in common?

What is the purpose of the Twenty-second Amendment?

What is the main power of the Supreme Court?

What is the basic theory of American Judicial review?

Summary

The Constitution of the United States is the oldest and longest-standing written and codified national constitution in force in the world today. It was drafted at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 to replace the Articles of Confederation, which had proven highly ineffective. The Constitution has seven articles that describe the national frame and constraints of government, including the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. It also embodies concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments and the shared process of constitutional amendment. The Constitution has been amended 27 times, with the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights. Originally handwritten on five pages of parchment, it is interpreted, supplemented, and implemented by a large body of federal constitutional law and has influenced the constitutions of other nations. The Continental Congress functioned as the provisional government of the United States from September 5, 1774 to March 1, 1781. The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was the first constitution of the United States but gave little power to the central government. The Confederated Congress had some decision-making abilities, but it lacked enforcement powers. The implementation of most decisions, including amendments to the Articles, required legislative approval by all 13 of the newly-formed states. The United States was facing default on its outstanding debts by 1786, and the Congress of the Confederation had "virtually ceased trying to govern." On February 21, 1787, the Confederation Congress called a convention of state delegates in Philadelphia to propose revisions to the Articles. The Constitution was submitted to the Congress of the Confederation on September 17, 1787, and was unanimously voted to forward the proposal to the thirteen states for their ratification. The Federalists supported the Constitution, while the Anti-Federalists opposed it. The proposal was debated, criticized, and expounded upon clause by clause before it was ratified by nine of the 13 states.Summary of the United States Constitution

  • The Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, and ratified by nine states on June 21, 1788.

  • The Constitution was influenced by several political theorists of the late eighteenth century, including William Blackstone, John Locke, and Montesquieu.

  • The Constitution was a federal one, and was influenced by the study of other federations, both ancient and extant.

  • The United States Bill of Rights consists of 10 amendments added to the Constitution in 1791, as supporters of the Constitution had promised critics during the debates of 1788.

  • The Constitution consists of a preamble, seven articles, and a signed closing endorsement.

  • The Preamble lays out the purposes of the new government, and the opening words, "We the People," represented a new thought.

  • Article I describes the Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government.

  • Article II describes the office, qualifications, and duties of the President of the United States and the Vice President.

  • Article III describes the court system (the judicial branch), including the Supreme Court.

  • Article IV outlines the relations among the states and between each state and the federal government.

  • Article V outlines the process for amending the Constitution.

  • The Constitution is a living document that has been amended 27 times.Summary of the United States Constitution

  • The Constitution was designed to establish a balance between pliancy and rigidity.

  • The amendment process is overseen by the archivist of the United States and requires the approval of three-fourths of the states.

  • Article VI establishes that the Constitution and all federal laws have supremacy over state laws and that no religious test will ever be required for public office.

  • Article VII describes the process for establishing the proposed new frame of government, which required the ratification of nine states.

  • The closing endorsement serves as essential documentation of the Constitution's validity and records who signed the Constitution.

  • The Constitution has twenty-seven amendments, and the precedent for this practice was set in 1789.

  • The First Amendment protects individual freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.

  • The Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to keep and bear arms.

  • The Third Amendment prohibits the federal government from forcing individuals to provide lodging to soldiers in their homes during peacetime without their consent.

  • The Fourth Amendment protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures of either self or property by government officials.

  • The Fifth Amendment establishes the requirement that a trial for a major crime may commence only after an indictment has been handed down by a grand jury.

  • The Ninth Amendment declares that individuals have other fundamental rights, in addition to those stated in the Constitution.Overview of the United States Constitution Amendments

Safeguards of civil rights (Amendments 13, 14, 15, 19, 23, 24, and 26)

  • The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude.
  • The Fourteenth Amendment granted United States citizenship to former slaves and to all persons "subject to U.S. jurisdiction".
  • The Fifteenth Amendment prohibits the use of race, color, or previous condition of servitude in determining which citizens may vote.
  • The Nineteenth Amendment prohibits the government from denying women the right to vote on the same terms as men.
  • The Twenty-third Amendment extends the right to vote in presidential elections to citizens residing in the District of Columbia.
  • The Twenty-fourth Amendment prohibits a poll tax for voting.
  • The Twenty-sixth Amendment prohibits the government from denying the right of United States citizens, eighteen years of age or older, to vote on account of age.

Government processes and procedures (Amendments 12, 17, 20, 22, 25, and 27)

  • The Twelfth Amendment modifies the way the Electoral College chooses the President and Vice President.
  • The Seventeenth Amendment modifies the way senators are elected.
  • The Twentieth Amendment changes the date on which a new president, Vice President and Congress take office.
  • The Twenty-second Amendment limits an elected president to two terms in office.
  • The Twenty-fifth Amendment clarifies what happens upon the death, removal, or resignation of the President or Vice President.
  • The Twenty-seventh Amendment prevents members of Congress from granting themselves pay raises during the current session.

Other Amendments

  • The Ninth Amendment protects rights that are not specifically listed in the Constitution.
  • The Tenth Amendment states that the federal government has only those powers specifically granted by the Constitution.
  • The Eleventh Amendment specifically prohibits federal courts from hearing cases in which a state is sued by an individual from another state or another country.
  • The Sixteenth Amendment removed existing Constitutional constraints that limited the power of Congress to lay and collect taxes on income.
  • The Eighteenth Amendment prohibited the making, transporting, and selling of alcoholic beverages nationwide.
  • The Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment and returned the regulation of alcohol to the states.
  • Six amendments approved by Congress and proposed to the states for consideration have not been ratified by the required number of states to become part of the Constitution.

Judicial Review

  • Judicial review is the power of the Court to examine federal legislation, federal executive, and all state branches of government, to decide their constitutionality, and to strike them down if found unconstitutional.
  • Judicial review includes the power of the Court to explain the meaning of the Constitution as it applies to particular cases.
  • Courts established by the Constitution can regulate government under the Constitution, the supreme law of the land.
  • The basic theory of American Judicial review is summarized by constitutional legal scholars and historians.
  • The Supreme Court was initially made up of jurists who had been intimately connected with the framing of the Constitution and the establishment of its government as law.

Description

Think you know everything about the United States Constitution and its amendments? Test your knowledge with our quiz! From the Seven Articles to the Bill of Rights and beyond, this quiz covers all aspects of the Constitution, including the history and influences behind it, the processes and procedures outlined within it, and the amendments that have been added over time. You'll also get to flex your knowledge on the concept of judicial review and the role of the Supreme Court. Take the quiz now and find out if you're a

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