The Constitution

Creating the Republic.

The Constitution written in summer of 1787 emerged from the debate about the weak Articles of Confederation and created the legislative, executive, and judicial branches defined in the first three articles, a separation of powers among the branches, and the qualifications and terms for offices. It also included sections regarding the relations among the states, the amendment process, national supremacy, and the procedure for initial ratification It was a product of many compromises. To get an idea of the outline and structure of the document, read and consider these quotes below from each Article of the document.

Article I “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 . . . Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings . . .”

Article II “. . . The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy . . . He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union . . . he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed . . .

Article III “. . . 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 IV “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State . . . A Person charged in any . . . Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall . . . be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime . . .”

Article V “. . . whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution . . . which . . . 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 . . .”

Article VI “. . . This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof . . . shall be the supreme Law of the Land . . .”

Article VII “The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution . . .”Constitution

Analyze and Interpret:

1. Describe the Framers’ perspective and reasoning for creating these different sections of the Constitution.

2. Explain how this source establishes political principles, institutions and processes.

The full, interactive document can be found at the Constitution Center’s page.


Photo/Image: U.S. Air Force illustration, James Borland