The Preamble to the United States Constitution briefly introduces the fundamental purpose and guiding principles. It states in general terms, and courts have referred to it as reliable evidence of, the Founding Fathers' intentions regarding the Constitution's meaning and what they hoped the Constitution would achieve.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Government Simplified Constitution of the United States
- Creates the two parts of Congress Senate and House of Representatives. They are responsible for making laws.
- Defines the House of Representatives, known as the lower house of Congress.
- Must be 25 years old, will serve for two years each. Must be a citizen 7 years.
- Each state gets Representatives based on state population.
- Has a leader called the Speaker of the House.
- Defines the Senate, knows as the upper house of the Congress.
- Must be 30 years old, will serve for six years each. Must be a citizen 9 years.
- Each state gets two Senators.
- Vice-President breaks tie votes.
- Says that each state may establish its own methods for electing members of the Congress.
- Requires, that Congress must meet at least once per year.
- Says that Congress must have a minimum number of members present in order to meet.
- Fines for members who do not show up. It says that members may be expelled.
- Each house must keep a journal to record proceedings and votes.
- Neither house can adjourn without the permission of the other.
- Establishes that members of Congress will be paid.
- They cannot be detained while traveling to and from Congress.
- That they cannot hold any other office in the government while in the Congress.
- Say how bills become law.
- All bills must pass both houses of Congress in the exact same form.
- Bills that pass both houses are sent to the President.
- He can either sign the bill, in which case it becomes law, or he can veto it.
- If he vetoes a bill, it is sent back to Congress, and if both houses pass it by a two-thirds majority, the bill becomes law over the President's veto. This is known as overriding a veto.
- Gives Congress the power to establish and maintain an army and navy.
- To establish post offices, to create courts, to regulate commerce between the states, to declare war, and to raise money.
- Cannot suspend right to remain silent laws.
- Cannot pass laws that make things illegal starting yesterday or last week, etc.
- No law can give preference to one state over another
- Cannot spend money without permission.
- States can’t make their own money, or declare war, or tax goods from other states.
Article 2 – Creates the job of President, called the Executive. Responsible for enforcing the laws.
- Establishes the office of the President and the Vice-President.
- Both serve for four years.
- Presidents are elected by the Electoral.
- Must be 35 years old. Must be born in the USA.
- Their pay cannot change, up or down, as long as he in office.
- President leads the armed forces.
- He has a Cabinet to aid him, and can pardon criminals.
- He makes treaties with other nations (2/3 of the Senate has to approve of the treaty).
- Picks many of the judges and other members of the government.
- President must give a yearly speech to the nation.
- Give suggestions to Congress.
- Meet with Ambassadors and other heads of state from other nations.
- Ensure the laws of the United States are carried out.
- Explains how to kick the president from office, called impeachment.
Article 3 – Establishes Judges, called the Judiciary. They decide if a law is allowable, or if it goes against the Constitution.
- Establishes the Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States.
- Judge serve for life, or until they want to retire.
- Says what cases the Supreme Court must decide.
- It also guarantees trial by jury in criminal court.
- Defines, without any question, what the crime of treason is.
Article 4 – States Rights.
- All states will honor the laws of all other states.
- Citizens of one state are treated equally and fairly like all citizens of another.
- It also says that if a person accused of a crime in one state flees to another will be returned to the state that person fled from.
- How new states come into the Nation.
- Control of federal lands.
- Ensures a “Power by the People” government.
- Guarantees that the federal government will protect the states against.
Article 5 – How to change the Constitution.
- 2/3 of the Representatives must vote on the change.
- 2/3 of the Senators must vote on the change.
- 3/4 of the States must vote for the change (34 or 50)
Article 6 – Concerns the United States.
- Guarantees that the Constitution and all laws and treaties of the United States to be the supreme law of the country.
- Requires all officers of the United States and of the states to swear an oath of allegiance to the United States and the Constitution when taking office.
Article 7 – Explained how the Constitution was agreed to.
- Of the original 13 states in the United States, nine had to accept the Constitution before it would officially go into effect.