A Few Facts About the ConstitutionSeptember 17, marks the anniversary of the final draft of the United States Constitution which was framed and adopted by the Constitutional Convention consisting of delegates from twelve of the thirteen original states. Rhode Island was the only state which did not send a delegate to the convention.
by The Windjammer
by The Windjammer
The convention, headed by George Washington, started its task in May of 1787 and worked on the document until September 17, 1787. It contained seven articles in addition to the preamble. When I was just a tad, every boy and girl had to learn the preamble before moving on to the fifth grade. "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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."
It was required to be ratified by nine of the thirteen states to become effective. The dates of ratification by the states were: (1) Delaware, Dec. 7, 1787; (2) Pennsylvania, Dec. 12, 1787; (3)New Jersey, Dec. 18, 1787; (4) Georgia, Jan. 2, 1788; (5) Connecticut, Jan. 9, 1788; (6) Massachusetts, Feb. 6, 1788; (7) Maryland, Apr. 28, 1788; (8) South Carolina, May 23, 1788; (9) New Hampshire, June 21, 1788; (10) Virginia, June 25, 1788; (11) New York, July 26, 1788: (12) North Carolina, Nov. 21, 1789; (13) Rhode Island, May 29, 1790.
The Constitution went into effect on March 4, 1789 (the first Wednesday in March). It is the law by which we live. It is the oldest federal constitution in existence.
Article I establishes the Legislative Branch as a bicameral Congress and outlines the general powers of those bodies as well as the requirements for the Representatives who comprise the House of Representatives or "Lower House" and the Senators who make up the Senate or the "Upper House." It also imposes limitations on the powers of the member states
Article II establishes the Executive Branch and outlines the electoral process for choosing the chief executive as well as the duties and qualifications of the President
Article III establishes the Judicial Branch and defines the various levels of courts in the federal system. (Section 2 of this article outlining the jurisdiction of courts was later amended by the 11th Amendment)
Article IV guarantees a Republican form of government (not the Republican Party) as well as assuring that new states may be admitted. It also provides for certain interstate relations
Article V provides for amendments to be added to the original document
Article VI provides for the payment of debts of the confederation prior to the adoption of the Constitution. It also states that the Constitution shall be the supreme law of the land and that all states shall be bound by it. It further prescribes that elected or appointed officials shall take a constitutional oath, but no religious test shall be required
Article VII provides for the adoption of the Constitution upon ratification by nine states
The first ten amendments, known in the aggregate as the Bill of Rights, were proposed by the First Congress to address certain rights such as the right to free speech and the right to keep and bear arms and to confirm the powers of the states and the people in matters not covered by the Constitution.
There have been an additional seventeen amendments, one of which negates another.The last amendment, Amendment XXVII, was ratified on May 7, 1992.There have been a number of attempts through the years to make other amendments which failed to acquire the necessary support
I hope this little bit of information will pique your interest enough to cause you to get a copy of the Constitution and to read and digest it..