Does the US Constitution work

USA Constitution

The US Constitution, which has existed since September 17, 1787 and was drawn up by delegates, regulates the legal and political order of the United States. The goal was that the weak individual states are united to form a strong, common federation. It prescribes a separation of powers in which the organs of government, legislation and jurisdiction act separately from one another, but also control one another.

The constitutional text originally consisted of seven articles, but has been expanded by 27 articles. The US Constitution describes how the government is to be organized, how the government officials are to be chosen and what rights the central government has to guarantee the citizens. The content is explained below.

US Constitution Explained - A Summary

Building the United States Constitution

The US Constitution provides for a tripartite division: On the one hand, there is the executive branch, which is subordinate to the President, on the other hand, the legislative branch, which comprises the two chambers of Congress (Senate and House of Representatives), and then there is the Supreme Court (judiciary), which the highest instance is (Supreme Federal Court and other federal courts). The three powers act independently of each other, but are not completely separate areas. The system of mutual influencing is known as “checks and balances”, ie controls and counterweights.

Contents of the United States Constitution

The fathers of the constitution thought of both the present and the future. The aim was to align the government structure with future generations as well. Therefore, from the beginning there was the possibility of adding additional articles if this should be necessary. Since the ratification of the United States Constitution, 27 amendments have been passed, with flexibility being one of its greatest strengths. Now to the content of the US Constitution:

Suffrage

Every American over the age of 18 residing in one of the American states has the right to vote. Since 1961, the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution has stipulated that residents living in Washington D.C. live, be allowed to participate in the presidential elections.

Popular sovereignty

Up until the 18th century, “sovereign” was used to describe the “supreme” body that functioned within the state. This usually meant the monarch. The second half of the 18th century heralded a change: “Sovereign” from then on referred to the people's right to self-determination.

Additions to the United States Constitution since 1787

In May 1787, 12 states met for the Constitutional Convention. The founding fathers included George Washington, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin. A newly drafted constitution has now been presented.

Key Features:

  • State power through popular sovereignty
  • Separation of powers
  • State organization

Changes include the right to freedom of expression and assembly, possession of weapons, the prohibition of slavery and the right to vote for women. In general, the right to vote must not be restricted by race or color. The inviolability of people and homes was ensured and double charges were prohibited. It was stipulated that jury courts are to be set up. Cruel and unusual punishments were banned. The division of powers between the member states and the state as a whole is more balanced. The number of MPs was set according to the number of the population of the state. Each member state has two votes in the Senate. In the US Constitution, the federal government guarantees every member that the most important rights also apply to state authority. The primacy of federal law is also regulated. The federal government may levy income tax.

The draft was submitted to the states. The approval of nine states was necessary for the constitution to come into force. The states were Delaware, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and New Hampshire finalized this process so that Congress received ratification. He then appointed a committee to initiate the enactment. New York, Virginia, North Carolina and Rhode Island followed. On September 17, 1787, the United States Constitution was passed. The refined design was formally signed. George Washington took office in April 1789. He was the first President of the United States of America.

There was no catalog of fundamental rights in the adopted constitution. But already on September 25th, 12 additional articles were passed. 10 of them had been ratified by the end of 1791. The first ten amendments (Bill of Rights) contain basic constitutional rights of the population. To date, a total of 17 additional articles have been added, several of which have fundamental rights content.

Contents of the US Constitution - in a nutshell:

  • Article I: Rights and Duties of Congress (House and Senate)
  • Section 10: Rights of the previous states
  • Article II: Rights and duties President
  • Section 4: Removal of President, Vice-President and important public servants
  • Article III: Regulations and Jurisdiction Rights
  • Article IV: State Financial and Legal Relationships among States
  • Section 3: Procedure for the admission of further states
  • Section 4: Establishing the republican form of government
  • Article V: Additions to the constitution can be added
  • Article VI: Old US debts are settled
  • Article VII says: at least nine states must adopt a constitution

How does the US Constitution work?

The constitution made the sovereign individual states a federal state. There was now a strong executive at the federal level, but the states have also been given considerable powers. At the top is a president who has the supreme executive power. He is head of state, head of government and commander in chief of the armed forces. The term of office is four years. In addition to the president, there is a vice-president. The vice-president's primary role is to succeed the president in the event of death, resignation or dismissal.

Legislation at the federal level lies with the Congress, Parliament with a bicameral system: House of Representatives and Senate, with all states being equally represented. The government is divided into executive, legislative and judicial branches. Even if each area works independently of one another, they control each other so that too much power does not accumulate in an industry. The Supreme Court, located in Washington D.C. judges a wide variety of cases relating to the United States Constitution, federal law, and the federal treaties. The constitution defines the essential government organs, their responsibilities and the basic civil rights, not only of residents, but also of visitors to American territory.