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June 21 !

"The Day the Constitution was Ratified"  
Courtesy: National Constitution Center
Article VII
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"The Constitution ... must be read and reread by freedom loving people everywhere." Alan Dershowitz

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The Constitution of the United States of America
as currently amended

(Last amended July 7, 1992)



Overview
Courtesy U.S. Archives
"The Constitution of the United States contains a preamble and seven articles that describe the way the government is structured and how it operates. The first three articles establish the three branches of government and their powers: Legislative (Congress), Executive (office of the President,) and Judicial (Federal court system). A system of checks and balances prevents any one of these separate powers from becoming dominant. Articles four through seven describe the relationship of the states to the Federal Government, establish the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, and define the amendment and ratification processes."     U.S.Archives

Preamble


Article I
"Article I assigns the responsibility for making laws to the Legislative Branch (Congress). Congress is divided into two parts, or “Houses,” the House of Representatives and the Senate. The bicameral Congress was a compromise between the large states, which wanted representation based on population, and the small ones, which wanted the states to have equal representation."     U.S.Archives

Section 1


Section 2














Article I
Section 3














Article I
Section 4




Article I
Section 5








Article I
Section 6







Article I
Section 7






Article I
Section 8



























Article I
Section 9

















Article I
Section 10









Article II
"Article II details the Executive Branch and the offices of the President and Vice President. It lays down rules for electing the President (through the Electoral College), eligibility (must be a natural-born citizen at least 35 years old), and term length. The 12th and 25th Amendments modified some of these rules."     U.S.Archives

Section 1
















Section 2











Section 3







Section 4

Article III
"Article III establishes the Judicial Branch with the U.S. Supreme Court as the federal court system’s highest court. It specifies that Federal judges be appointed for life unless they commit a serious crime. This article is shorter than Articles I and II. The Federal Convention left much of the work of planning the court system to the First Congress. The 1789 Judiciary Act created the three-tiered court system in place today."     U.S.Archives

Section 1





Section 2
















Section 3



Article IV
"Article IV outlines states’ powers in relationship to each other. States have the authority to create and enforce their own laws but must respect and help enforce the laws of other states. Congress may pass Federal laws regarding how states honor other states’ laws and records."     U.S.Archives

Section 1


Section 2




Section 3





Section 4

Article V
"Article V explains the amendment process, which is different and more difficult than the process for making laws. When two-thirds of the Senate and two-thirds of the House of Representatives vote to change the Constitution, an amendment goes to the state legislatures for a vote. Alternatively, two-thirds of the state legislatures can submit an application to Congress, and then Congress calls a national convention at which states propose amendments. Three-fourths of the state legislatures or state conventions must vote in favor of an amendment to ratify it."     U.S.Archives







Article VI
"Article VI states that Federal law is supreme, or higher than, state and local laws. This means that if a state law conflicts with a Federal law, Federal law takes precedence."     U.S.Archives








Article VII
"Article VII describes the ratification process for the Constitution. It called for special state ratifying conventions. Nine states were required to enact the Constitution." New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution on June 21, 1788. (RYC editor's note) "Rhode Island became the 13th state to ratify the Constitution in 1790."     U.S.Archives





Bill of Rights
Courtesy U.S. Archives
"The Constitution might never have been ratified if the framers hadn't promised to add a Bill of Rights. The first ten amendments to the Constitution gave citizens more confidence in the new government and contain many of today's Americans' most valued freedoms."     U.S.Archives

"The Bill of Rights is the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. It spells out Americans’ rights in relation to their government. It guarantees civil rights and liberties to the individual—like freedom of speech, press, and religion. It sets rules for due process of law and reserves all powers not delegated to the Federal Government to the people or the States. And it specifies that “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”     U.S.Archives


Amendment I
"The First Amendment provides several rights protections: to express ideas through speech and the press, to assemble or gather with a group to protest or for other reasons, and to ask the government to fix problems. It also protects the right to religious beliefs and practices. It prevents the government from creating or favoring a religion.”     U.S.Archives
Date Ratified: 12/15/1791








Amendment II
"The Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms.”     U.S.Archives
Date Ratified: 12/15/1791



Amendment III
"The Third Amendment prevents government from forcing homeowners to allow soldiers to use their homes. Before the Revolutionary War, laws gave British soldiers the right to take over private homes."     U.S.Archives
Date Ratified: 12/15/1791



Amendment IV
"The Fourth Amendment bars the government from unreasonable search and seizure of an individual or their private property."     U.S.Archives
Date Ratified: 12/15/1791




Amendment V
"The Fifth Amendment provides several protections for people accused of crimes. It states that serious criminal charges must be started by a grand jury. A person cannot be tried twice for the same offense (double jeopardy) or have property taken away without just compensation. People have the right against self-incrimination and cannot be imprisoned without due process of law (fair procedures and trials.)"     U.S.Archives
Date Ratified: 12/15/1791








Amendment VI
"The Sixth Amendment provides additional protections to people accused of crimes, such as the right to a speedy and public trial, trial by an impartial jury in criminal cases, and to be informed of criminal charges. Witnesses must face the accused, and the accused is allowed his or her own witnesses and to be represented by a lawyer."     U.S.Archives
Date Ratified: 12/15/1791









Amendment VII
"The Seventh Amendment extends the right to a jury trial in Federal civil cases."     U.S.Archives
Date Ratified: 12/15/1791




Amendment VIII
"The Eighth Amendment bars excessive bail and fines and cruel and unusual punishment."     U.S.Archives
Date Ratified: 12/15/1791





Amendment IX
"The Ninth Amendment states that listing specific rights in the Constitution does not mean that people do not have other rights that have not been spelled out."     U.S.Archives
Date Ratified: 12/15/1791



Amendment X
"The Tenth Amendment says that the Federal Government only has those powers delegated in the Constitution. If it isn’t listed, it belongs to the states or to the people."     U.S.Archives
Date Ratified: 12/15/1791



Amendment XI
Date Passed by Congress: 03/04/1794
Date Ratified: 02/07/1795



Amendment XII
Date Passed by Congress: 12/09/1803
Date Ratified: 06/15/1804



Amendment XIII
Date Passed by Congress: 01/31/1865
Date Ratified: 12/06/1865

Section 1


Section 2

Amendment XIV
Date Passed by Congress: 06/13/1866
Date Ratified: 07/09/1868

Section 1






Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5

Amendment XV
Date Passed by Congress: 02/26/1869
Date Ratified: 02/03/1870

Section 1


Section 2

Amendment XVI
Date Passed by Congress: 07/02/1909
Date Ratified: 02/03/1913



Amendment XVII
Date Passed by Congress: 05/13/1912
Date Ratified: 04/08/1913







Amendment XVIII
Date Passed by Congress: 12/18/1917
Date Ratified: 01/16/1919

Section 1


Section 2


Section 3

Amendment XIX
Date Passed by Congress: 06/04/1919
Date Ratified: 08/18/1920





Amendment XX
Date Passed by Congress: 03/02/1932
Date Ratified: 01/23/1933

Section 1


Section 2


Section 3


Section 4


Section 5


Section 6

Amendment XXI
Date Passed by Congress: 02/20/1933
Date Ratified: 12/05/1933

Section 1


Section 2


Section 3

Amendment XXII
Date Passed by Congress: 03/21/1947
Date Ratified: 02/27/1951

Section 1


Section 2

Amendment XXIII
Date Passed by Congress: 06/16/1960
Date Ratified: 03/29/1961

Section 1




Section 2

Amendment XXIV
Date Passed by Congress: 09/14/1962
Date Ratified: 01/23/1964

Section 1


Section 2

Amendment XXV
Date Passed by Congress: 07/06/1965
Date Ratified: 012/10/1967

Section 1


Section 2


Section 3


Section 4



Amendment XXVI
Date Passed by Congress: 03/23/1971
Date Ratified: 07/01/1971

Section 1


Section 2

Amendment XXVII
Date Passed by Congress: 09/25/1789
Date Ratified: 57/07/1992


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