Day 13: U.S. Constitution
Article. V: Amending the Constitution
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
Article. VI: Debts & Law
All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation. (ie. we’re not reneging on our debts contracted prior to this constitution)
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names.
(Signers names have been removed. This is the end of the original Constitution. The remainder of emails will cover the amendments.)
1) Why is it so difficult to change the Constitution?
2) What makes the United States’ Republic unique?
3) What is an oath of office?
4) Why is a religious test mentioned in article 6?
1) Because this is the foundation document on which all laws rest. The Framers of the Constitution built into it a method for amending it, but made it difficult so it wouldn’t be done for light reasons. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution were broadly accepted and are called “The Bill of Rights.”
2) The United States Constitution is specifically given supremacy over state or legislative supremacy as may exist in state republics. This allows for one steady written standard on which all laws may rest. In some other countries, written law can be overturned by acts of the legislature without such a complex process.
3) When someone is sworn into federal office they take an oath to protect and uphold the Constitution. At the state level, their oath may include both the U.S. Constitution as well as their state Constitution.
4) The Framers held a negative view of England’s historical requirement that people who held office be members of the Church of England. There was no room for freedom of conscience. This provision was to ensure that all people regardless of faith could fully participate in the political process.
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