7“Preamble”“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.”
8To Form a more perfect Union To unite the states more effectively so they can operate as a single nation, for the good of all
9To establish JusticeTo create a system of fair laws and courts and make certain that all citizens are treated equally.
10To insure domestic Tranquility To maintain peace and order, keeping citizens and property safe from harm.
11To provide for the common defense To be ready militarily to protect the country and it’s citizens from outside attack.
12To promote the general Welfare To help people live healthy, happy, and prosperous lives
13To secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity To guarantee the freedom and basic rights of all Americans, including future generations (“posterity”).
15Article IArticle I establishes the Legislative Branch (U.S. Congress).It creates the “Senate” and the “House of Representatives”.Congress has the task of “making laws”.Only Congress can declare war or coin money.
16Article IIArticle II establishes the Executive Branch (U.S. President & Vice President).It establishes procedures for electing the president and vice presidentPresident has the task of “carrying out laws”.
17Article IIIArticle III establishes the Judicial Branch (U.S. Supreme Court with 9 justices).It establishes the powers of the Court and the cases they will hear.Supreme Court has the task of “interpreting our laws”.
18Article IVArticle IV establishes the relations of the states and the rights of citizens.It establishes “good will” among states.Promises U.S. protection of the states.
19Article VArticle V discusses the amendments of the Constitution (currently 27)“Amending” (or changing) allows the Constitution to change with the times.“Bill of Rights” are the first 10 amendments
20Article VI Article VI discusses the “supremacy” of the Constitution. The Constitution is the highest authority in the land.If state law contradicts the Constitution, the Constitution wins.
21Article VIIArticle VII discusses the “ratification” (or approval) of the Constitution.It requires 9 out of 13 states to ratify before the Constitution can go into effect.
23Amending the Constitution 1791, the first “amendments” were added to the Constitution.These are the “Bill of Rights”.Thousands have been suggested, but only 27 have been made!
24Amending the Constitution All amendments must begin by being “proposed”To propose an amendment, it requires either a (1) vote of 2/3 of both houses of Congress OR (2) national convention called for by 2/3 of state legislatures.Most amendments begin with (1)…
25Amending the Constitution All amendments must end by being “ratified”To ratify an amendment, it requires either a (1) ¾ of state legislatures approval OR (2) ¾ of state Ratifying Conventions.Only Amendment 21 ratified by (2)…
26Interpreting the Constitution The “Necessary and Proper Clause” states Congress has the power to make all Laws which shall be “necessary and proper”Article I, Section 8, Clause 8
27Interpreting the Constitution Known as the “Elastic Clause”, this gives Congress flexibility to make what laws it seems are necessary and proper.This is an “implied power” and not specifically mentioned.
28Interpreting the Constitution Supreme Court decisions also have a major impact.They have final authority on “interpreting” the Constitution.These have differed over time depending on the make up of the Court.
29Interpreting the Constitution Congress and the presidents have also interpreted the ConstitutionCases of impeachment and presidential succession.
30Interpreting the Constitution Although not in the Constitution, the creation of political parties has also changed the way we look at this document.