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Difference between revisions of "United States Constitution"

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====11th Amendment====
====11th Amendment====
Overview: You can't sue a state you don't live in.  Happened because [[founding fathers]] on the [[Supreme Court]] got the [[Constitution]] wrong in ''[[Chisholm v. Georgia]]''.
Overview: You can't sue a state you don't live in.   
Added: Feb. 7, 1795
Added: Feb. 7, 1795

Revision as of 03:26, 26 May 2010

The United States Constitution is the second or third founding document for the United States of America, after the Declaration of Independence, and after the Articles of Confederation just didn't work out. (There are some to this day who feel that the Articles were much better, thank you, and that we wouldn't have this overwhelming federal government if we'd just stuck with it a little longer. This ignores the fact that the original government had no money and a rebellion it couldn't afford to put down.)

The Constitution is an intricately designed document, meant to preserve the liberty of the country by making sure that no one part of the government could go off and do stupid things without the consent of the rest of it. It also worked to make sure that no silly factions or parties would spring up. We're so glad that it's worked out so well.

It should be noted that, despite some beliefs to the contrary, the Constitution does not say that this is a Christian country, nor does it call on God in any real way. The only substantive reference to religion is a ban on religious qualifications for office.

The writers of the Constitution were also smart enough to realize that it might not work for all time, and so put in place a means to change it if circumstances should require. This was done immediately, and thus Americans also have the Bill of Rights. While it tried very hard to do so, and managed to severely curtail many individuals' constitutional rights, the Bush administration was unable to completely shred the rest of it. We'll see how much the Obama administration will do to reverse this trend. (This forward-thinking by the founders would seem to argue against originalism as well, but many seem to think otherwise.)


The US Constitution has seven articles and twenty-seven amendments.

Article 1

Creates the legislative branch of the federal government. Creates a bicameral congress with a Senate and a House of Representatives. Notable powers: Pass laws, declare war, prosecute and try impeachments.

Article 2

Creates the executive branch. Establishes the office of the President of the United States and the qualifications for holding that office. Notable powers: Commander in Chief of the military, make treaties with other nations (pursuant to approval by the Senate), and appoint federal judges (who have to be approved by the Senate).

Article 3

Creates Judicial Branch. Establishes the Supreme Court, defines when it has appellate or original jurisdiction, and leaves the creation of lower courts to Congress. Notable powers: Interpret the Constitution, and Justices serve for life.

Article 4

Relationships between states. Establishes that states should give "full faith and credit" to each others laws.

Article 5

Establishes procedures for amending the constitution.

Article 6

The US under the constitution inherits the debts it had under the Articles of Confederation. Also, the constitution is the supreme law of the land and no one in the government can be required to take a religious test to hold office.

Article 7

Describes how this constitution was to be ratified.


The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights.

1st Amendment

Overview: Freedom of the press, religion, assembly, petition, and speech.

Added: Dec. 15, 1791

2nd Amendment

Overview: Right to bear arms.

Added: Dec. 15, 1791

3rd Amendment

Overview: Soldiers can't stay in someone's home without their permission.

Added: Dec. 15, 1791

4th Amendment

Overview: Get a warrant.

Added: Dec. 15, 1791

5th Amendment

Overview: The government can't make people incriminate themselves; it can't take life, liberty, or property without due process of law; it can't try someone over and over again hoping for a different result.

Added: Dec. 15, 1791

6th Amendment

Overview: Rights to: speedy trial, public trial, counsel (lawyers, ugh), and to know what exactly it is you're accused of.

Added: Dec. 15, 1791

7th Amendment

Overview: If you are sued by someone for more than $20 then you have the right to a trial by jury.

Added: Dec. 15, 1791

8th Amendment

Overview: No excessive bail, no cruel or unusual punishment.

Added: Dec. 15, 1791

9th Amendment

Overview: You, the reader of this constitution, are not allowed to say that the rights listed here are the only rights people have.

Added: Dec. 15, 1791

10th Amendment

Overview: If the power wasn't given to the federal government, then either the states have that power, or the people do.

Added: Dec. 15, 1791

11th Amendment

Overview: You can't sue a state you don't live in.

Added: Feb. 7, 1795

12 Amendment

Overview: Boring crap about the Electoral College.

Added: June 15, 1804

13th Amendment

The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments are called the Civil War Amendments because they dealt with the aftermath of the Civil War. Generally speaking, they reaffirmed the rights of U.S. citizens (but stopped short of giving women the right to vote) and tackled some overarching questions that had been debated over the years since the Constitution's adoption.

Overview: Abolishes slavery. (Ever heard of the Emancipation Proclamation? Guess what, it didn't free a single slave.)

Added: Dec. 6th, 1865

14th Amendment

Overview: Defines US Citizenship and says states can't trample on your rights. (Of course, the states then went on to trample on people's rights with Jim Crow laws. This amendment is heavily used to defend and define newly recognized rights.)

Added: July 9, 1868

15th Amendment

Overview: Gave blacks the right to vote. (But not women, who, except for Ann Coulter and Phyllis Schlafly, were livid over the exclusion.)

Added: Feb. 3, 1870

16th Amendment

Overview: Created the income tax. (Infamous for being the cause of the IRS.)

Added: Feb 3, 1913

17th Amendment

Overview: Shifted the election of Senators from state legislators to direct elections.

Added: Apr. 8, 1913

18th Amendment

Overview: Prohibited the sale of alcohol. Infamous for giving Al Capone something to do.

Added: Jan. 16, 1919

19th Amendment

Overview: Gave women the right to vote. (Finally!)

Added: Aug. 18, 1920

20th Amendment

Overview: Moved the inauguration of the President and Vice President up to Jan. 20. (It used to be in March.)

Added: Jan. 23, 1933

21st Amendment

Overview: Repeals the 18th amendment, ending prohibition. (Finally!) Unfortunately, Al Capone is in jail for tax evasion.

Added: Dec. 5, 1933

22nd Amendment

Overview: Two term limit for US Presidents.

Added: Feb. 27, 1951

23rd Amendment

Overview: Gave Washington, D.C. three electors. (Finally!)[1]

Added: Mar. 29, 1961

24th Amendment

Overview: Eliminates the poll tax. (The only tax so heinous that it had to be banned via a constitutional amendment.)

Added: Jan. 23, 1964

25th Amendment

Overview: Boring stuff about the line of succession for the Prez.

Added: Feb. 10, 1967

26th Amendment

Overview: After years of sending 18 year olds to die overseas, adults finally see fit to give them the right to vote. 18 year olds promptly squander the opportunity.

Added: July 1, 1971.

27th Amendment

Overview: If Congress gives itself a pay-raise, it can't go into effect until there's been an election. That way, some won't necessarily be sure they will get it when they vote for it.

Added: May 7, 1992 (It was submitted with the Bill of Rights but languished for over 200 years until ratified by that laggard Michigan.)

See also


  1. Ok, now the Finally!s are just a joke.