Imagine the excitement in 1787!
After much sacrifice; after much bloodshed; after much hope for a new and better life -
Revolutionary! Citizen-rule is forming, "to establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility . . . secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves
and our posterity . . ."
The U.S. Constitution states the powers granted and the powers prohibited to each branch of U.S. government.
The 9th Amendment states: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The 10th Amendment states: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
The Supreme Law of the Land
1. The Constitution of the United States
2. All laws made in pursuance thereof (based on Constitutionality)
3. All Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States
4. All judges in every State shall be bound thereby, notwithstanding any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary.
Under The Constitution: The Government system is broken down into three (3) departments, also known as branches – the Legislative, the Executive and the Judicial.
Each department, or branch is equal to the other and they act as a “check” on the other branch's powers, and have rules to keep their own branch in check and balanced. “checks and balances” ensures that no one branch of government - or all three combine power - and become tyrannical with the awesome powers the People entrust in their care.
The Legislative branch is the Law-making Branch of the U.S. Government
The the law-making power of the United States government is limited to the Congress. The Congress has two chambers (bodies) :
- the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Legislative branch is a bicameral system - two legislative bodies - both chambers are required to make laws.
Neither chamber of Congress acting separately can enact a law.
Congress can not delegate its power to make laws to an executive department or to an administrative officer, nor can any department or officer repeal, extend, or modify an act of Congress. But Congress may vest in executive officers the power to make necessary rules and regulations to enforce a law.
Article I, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution states:
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Article I, Sections 1 – 10 include the following:
1. How Senate is composed
2. Eligibility Requirements for office
3. Tenure of office
4. By whom chosen Art
5. When chosen
6. How classed
9. Presiding officer
10. Senate Powers
The House of Representatives
4. Term of office
5. By whom chosen
9. House powers
The Executive Branch of the United States of America
Article II, Sections 1 of the U.S. Constitution states:
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
Article II, Sections 1 – 4 include the following:
1. Term of office
2. By whom chosen
3. Voting & Electors
4. Oath of Office
6. Powers & Duties
The Judicial Branch of the United States of America
Article III, Section 1
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
Article III, Sections 1 – 3 include the following:
1. The Judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority. . .
A transparent government system is necessary for citizens to keep check on rules, regulations and laws which might infringe on their Rights, Liberties and Freedoms as outlined in the Constitution.
The media - Investigative journalists are essential to bring forth information to the public to highlight transparency of government actions and policies, and to expose misdeeds by their representatives. civil rights U.S. Constitution 101
E-Pluribus Unum - Out of Many, One
The Constitution guarantees them.
The people had all their rights and liberties before they made the Constitution.
The Constitution was formed, among other purposes, to make the people's liberties secure
- secure not only as against foreign attack but against oppression by their own government.
They set specific limits upon their national government and upon the States, and reserved to themselves all powers that they did not grant.
The Ninth Amendment declares:
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
(source: U.S. Constitution Sesquicentennial Commission, establishd by a Joint Resolution of the Congress of the United States, approved August 23, 1935). U.S. Constitution 101 civil rights
A Constitution embodies the fundamental principles of a government.
Our constitution, adopted by the sovereign power [the People], is amendable by that power only.
To the constitution all laws, executive actions, and judicial decisions must conform, as it is the creator of the powers exercised by the departments of government.
When Did The Constitution Take Effect?
The Constitution became binding upon nine States by the ratification of the ninth State, New Hampshire.
June 21, 1788 (Art. VII)
• After New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify, the Confederation Congress established March 4, 1789, as the date to begin operating under the Constitution.
(source: U.S. Constitution Sesquicentennial Commission, August 23, 1935). U.S. Constitution 101 civil rights
The signatures attest the "Unanimous Consent of the States present." The voting was by States, and the vote of each State that of a majority of its deputies.
[see Constitution, Article VII]
In what order did the States ratify the Constitution?
The Constitution would take effect once it had been ratified by nine of the thirteen state legislatures — unanimity was not required
Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, and New York.
After George Washington had been inaugurated on April 30, 1789, Rhode Island (5/29/90) and North Carolina (11/29/89) ratified.
An Anti-Federalist was against the ratification of the U.S. Constitution because they feared a Federal government with greater powers would encroach on an individual's and State's Liberties and Freedoms and become tyrannical.
A Federalist was a person who was for the new U.S. Constitution, and a stronger Federal government body.
Federalists James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay wrote articles, or letters which were published in local newspapers in defense of the proposed Constitution.
These writing were called the Federalist Papers.
Eighty-five (85) articles outlined not only reasons for the necessity of a Federal Constitution, but also explained their thinking, planning and intentions of the rights and prohibitions found in the language of the U.S. Constitution.
Article No. 10, warns of the dangers of factions
No. 51, which explains the structure of the government structure of checks and balances, to protect the rights of the people.
The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either:
1) by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate
2) by a Constitutional Convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures.
The Congress proposes an amendment in the form of a joint resolution.
Did you know?
None of the 27 Amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by State's Constitutional Convention.
The "Bill of Rights" refers to the first 10 Amendments of U.S. Constitution Amendments
The term “Social Contract” was used by many great philosophers who added to the debate about the best and most natural form of union in a society between man, his fellow man, and the government body.
In the fourth century B.C. great philosopher Plato put forth several central doctrines having to do with human values and human virtues, and Aristotle questioned the political status quo of oppressive government structures.
Over the centuries, many great philosophers like Thomas Hobbes, Bernard Mandeville, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote their arguments on the Social Contract - a moral and political theory.
Philosopher John Locke, wrote his
Social Contract theories, and
based the principles
of their new country on
Locke's theories of
such as, the
freedom & liberty
each individual as a birthright
by the Creator of all;
and government restraint.
A starting point for human association as described in John Locke’s Social Contract theory is referenced in The Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence was the first announcement of the reasons for separation from the British Crown - and it expressed the spirit of the new association of the People.
The thirteen united States declared their desire to break their political bands with England and,
“. . . assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them . . .
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;
that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness . . ."
John Locke and the United States of America believe in a Creator (God) as the beginning source of human life.
It is this Creator (not a religion) that has bestowed on each individual as a birthright liberties and obligations.
According to Locke, a person who is born into this world is considered to be born into a
State of Nature.
Locke defines State of Nature as, “Men living together according to reason without a common superior on earth, with authority to judge between them, are properly in the state of nature.”
Locke’s Laws of Nature, “…teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent… For the law of nature would, as all other laws that concern men in this world, be in vain, if there were nobody that in the state of nature had a power to execute that law, and thereby preserve the innocent and restrain offenders.”
It is these words and spirit of the great philosopher John Locke’s An Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent and End of Civil Government that embrace what became America’s ideals and principles for individual freedom and government restraint.
The colonies united on September 5, 1774 - as the First Continental Congress. Assembled in Philadelphia, This important body was attended by delegates from the colonies, but unlike the future U.S. Constitution, the representation of the people was indirect.
Before the Congress adjourned on October 26, 1774, it provided for another meeting of Congress to address any further foreign or domestic issues.
The Second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia May 10, 1775. It passed the Declaration of Independence, and continued in session until the close of the Revolutionary War. The new Congress assembled under the U.S. Constitution.
During this time, hostilities had begun and the Minute Men of New England were besieging the British forces in Boston. The delegates were much the same as in the earlier Congress, and they realized the need of assuming the war power necessary to carry on the conflict . . . Independence, national standing, confederation, and State rights were conjoined speedily (The Story of the Constitution, p.13).
1777 - Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union written
1787 Convention to revise Articles of Confederation, which resulted in the U.S. Constitution:
Excerpt from Center for legislative archives for records of Congress :
Seventy-four delegates were appointed to the convention, of which 55 actually attended sessions. Rhode Island was the only state that refused to send delegates. Dominated by men wedded to paper currency, low taxes, and popular government, Rhode Island's leaders refused to participate in what they saw as a conspiracy to overthrow the established government. Other Americans also had their suspicions.
Patrick Henry, of the flowing red Glasgow cloak and the magnetic oratory, refused to attend, declaring he "smelt a rat." He suspected, correctly, that Madison had in mind the creation of a powerful central government and the subversion of the authority of the state legislatures. Henry along with many other political leaders, believed that the state governments offered the chief protection for personal liberties. He was determined not to lend a hand to any proceeding that seemed to pose a threat to that protection.
U.S. Constitution 101 civil rights
America's First Social Contract
Read America's Social Contract
Government under King's Rule & History of Articles of Confederation & U.S. Constitution U.S. Constitution 101
Learn the Facts & Read the Document that Declared Independence from the King and England
Learn About the Events Which Led the Colonies to Fight for Independent Self-Rule
1500s Spain classified racial lineage