Discussion Constitution of the United States

March 8, 2022
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Discussion Constitution of the United States

Discussion Constitution of the United States

The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America.[2] This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first three articles embody the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress (Article I); the executive, consisting of the president and subordinate officers (Article II); and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts (Article III). Article IV, Article V and Article VI embody concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments, the states in relationship to the federal government, and the shared process of constitutional amendment. Article VII establishes the procedure subsequently used by the 13 States to ratify it. It is regarded as the oldest written and codified national constitution in force.[3]

 

Since the Constitution came into force in 1789, it has been amended 27 times, including one amendment that repealed a previous one,[4] in order to meet the needs of a nation that has profoundly changed since the 18th century.[5] In general, the first ten amendments, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, offer specific protections of individual liberty and justice and place restrictions on the powers of government.[6][7] The majority of the 17 later amendments expand individual civil rights protections. Others address issues related to federal authority or modify government processes and procedures. Amendments to the United States Constitution, unlike ones made to many constitutions worldwide, are appended to the document. All four pages[8] of the original U.S. Constitution are written on parchment.[9]

According to the United States Senate: “The Constitution’s first three words—We the People—affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens. For over two centuries the Constitution has remained in force because its framers wisely separated and balanced governmental powers to safeguard the interests of majority rule and minority rights, of liberty and equality, and of the federal and state governments.”[5] The first permanent constitution,[a] it is interpreted, supplemented, and implemented by a large body of federal constitutional law, and has influenced the constitutions of other nations.

Civic religion
Main article: American civil religion
There is a viewpoint that some Americans have come to see the documents of the Constitution, along with the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, as being a cornerstone of a type of civil religion. This is suggested by the prominent display of the Constitution, along with the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, in massive, bronze-framed, bulletproof, moisture-controlled glass containers vacuum-sealed in a rotunda by day and in multi-ton bomb-proof vaults by night at the National Archives Building.[125]

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The idea of displaying the documents struck one academic critic looking from the point of view of the 1776 or 1789 America as “idolatrous, and also curiously at odds with the values of the Revolution”.[125] By 1816, Jefferson wrote that “[s]ome men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the Ark of the Covenant, too sacred to be touched”. But he saw imperfections and imagined that there could potentially be others, believing as he did that “institutions must advance also”.[126]

Some commentators depict the multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian United States as held together by a political orthodoxy, in contrast with a nation state of people having more “natural” ties.

Worldwide influence

The United States Constitution has been a notable model for governance around the world. Its international influence is found in similarities of phrasing and borrowed passages in other constitutions, as well as in the principles of the rule of law, separation of powers and recognition of individual rights.

The American experience of fundamental law with amendments and judicial review has motivated constitutionalists at times when they were considering the possibilities for their nation’s future.[129] It informed Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War,[u] his contemporary and ally Benito Juárez of Mexico,[v] and the second generation of 19th-century constitutional nationalists, José Rizal of the Philippines[w] and Sun Yat-sen of China.[x] The framers of the Australian constitution integrated federal ideas from the U.S. and other constitutions.[135]

Since the latter half of the 20th century, the influence of the United States Constitution may be waning as other countries have revised their constitutions with new influences.

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