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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

US Constitution: Basics

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time...
This is not a history lesson. It is a civics lesson from my perspective. Many people I meet who span the entire age spectrum have not ever read the US Constitution, or at least not since they were in grade school. I personally keep a copy in my car and my briefcase just in case someone in either the government or a fellow citizen needs to know what the document we say we revere actually says. So I will start out with the basics and then move into each article/amendment, probably a section or two at a time. But here is an overview of the whole thing boiled down into a single paragraph.

The US Constitution is broken into 7 articles, with articles 1-3 describing the powers granted to the various branches of government. Granted will come in as an important point as we discuss how we implement the Constitution today. Articles 4-7 lay down the rules for how the government is to be viewed by the various states as well as the rules for changing the document itself. There are also 27 amendments, the first 10 of which are the Bill of Rights (think an addendum to your homework that you turn in a day late). Amendments 11-27 handle issues that the country faced over time including slavery, suffrage of various groups, term limits, et al (we'll get to it all soon enough). I look forward to breaking down this elephant of a document, the oldest constitution currently enforced in any nation, into bite size pieces that we can all understand and discuss. Perhaps a constitutional scholar with some direct article 2 experience will weigh in... nah. Those article 2 guys seem to be summarily ignoring the rest of the document these days - regardless of party. Speaking of parties... let's get this one started.

Updated with links to the other posts:
Constitution Basics
Preamble
Article 1, Sections 1-3
Article 1, Sections 4-6
Article 1, Section 7

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