US Constitution: General Knowledge


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What does the Constitution guarantee?

The business of setting up the new government was completed. Anti-Federalists' fears of personal oppression by Congress were allayed by amendments passed under the floor leadership of James Madison during the first session of Congress. These first ten Amendments became known as the Bill of Rights. Since the beginning of federal operations under the Constitution in through the beginning of , approximately 11, proposals to amend the Constitution have been introduced in the United States Congress.

Twenty-seven of these amendments have been ratified and are now part of the Constitution. The first ten amendments were adopted and ratified simultaneously and are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. Prior to the Twenty-seventh Amendment, which languished for years, 7 months, 12 days before being ratified submitted for ratification in as part of the Bill of Rights , but not ratified until , the Twenty-second Amendment held the record for longest time taken to successfully complete the ratification process — 3 years, 11 months, 6 days. The Twenty-sixth Amendment holds the record for shortest time taken — 3 months, 8 days.

Four of these are still technically open and pending, one is closed and has failed by its own terms, and one is closed and has failed by the terms of the resolution proposing it. Much of opposition to the proposed Constitution within several states arose, not because the machinery of the new frame of government was considered unworkable or because strengthening the union between the 13 states viewed as undesirable.

List of 80 Important Articles of the Constitution at a Glance

The debates in the state ratifying conventions centered around the absence of anything equivalent to the bill of rights found in several state constitutions. He also opposed the constitution when it was brought before the state for ratification. He acquiesced and the convention voted narrowly to give its assent only after it was decided that a list of twenty proposed amendments be sent along with the state's resolution of ratification.

Delegates to Massachusetts' convention had many of the same concerns, and along with its notification of approval made a request for nine alterations, the first among them being "that it be explicitly declared that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the Constitution are reserved to the states to be exercised by them.

Can you pass a U.S. Constitution test?

The sharp Anti-Federalist critique of the Constitution did not abate after it became operational, and by the time the First Congress convened in March , there existed widespread sentiment in both the House and Senate in favor of making alterations. That September, Congress adopted twelve amendments and sent to the states for ratification. Ten of these were ratified by the required number of states in December and became part of the Constitution.


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These amendments enumerate freedoms not explicitly indicated in the main body of the Constitution, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, a free press, and free assembly; the right to keep and bear arms; freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, security in personal effects, and freedom from warrants issued without probable cause; indictment by a grand jury for a capital or "infamous crime"; guarantee of a speedy, public trial with an impartial jury ; and prohibition of double jeopardy.

In addition, the Bill of Rights reserves for the people any rights not specifically mentioned in the Constitution and reserves all powers not specifically granted to the federal government to the people or the States. Amendments to the Constitution subsequent to the Bill of Rights cover a wide range of subjects. Several have added significant content to the original document. One of the most far-reaching is the Fourteenth , ratified in , which establishes a clear and simple definition of citizenship and guarantees equal treatment under the law.

Also significant are the Fifteenth , Nineteenth , Twenty-fourth , and Twenty-sixth , which were enacted to extend the right to vote to persons previously considered ineligible and also to protect their exercise of that right. One Amendment, the Eighteenth , which criminalized the production, transport and sale of alcohol nationwide, was later repealed by another, the Twenty-first. Nine ratified amendments 11, [] 12, [] 13, [] 14, [] 16, [] 17, [] 20, [] 22, [] and 25 [] have explicitly superseded or modified the text of the original Constitution.

In the early twentieth century Lochner era , the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional various state laws that limited labor contracts. The Constitution was criticized as putting the government at the beck and call of big business. More recent criticism has often been academic and limited to particular features. University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson wonders whether it makes sense for the Connecticut Compromise to give " Wyoming the same number of votes as California , which has roughly seventy times the population". Hayes , Benjamin Harrison , George W. Bush and Donald Trump.

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Yale professor Robert A. Dahl saw a problem with an American tendency towards worship of the Constitution itself. He sees aspects of American governance which are "unusual and potentially undemocratic: the federal system, the bicameral legislature, judicial review , presidentialism , and the electoral college system. University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato advocates an amendment to organize presidential primaries. In United States history , four periods of widespread Constitutional criticism have been characterized by the idea that specific political powers belong to state governments and not to the federal government —a doctrine commonly known as states rights.

click At each stage, states' rights advocates failed to develop a preponderance in public opinion or to sustain the democratic political will required to alter the generally held constitutional understanding and political practice in the United States. At its adoption among the people in the state ratification conventions, the "men of original principles" opposed the new national government as violating the Whig philosophy generally accepted among the original thirteen colonies in According to this view, Congress as a legislature should be only equal to any state legislature, and only the people in each state might be sovereign.

They are now referred to as the Anti-Federalists in American historiography. The proponents of "state sovereignty" and "states rights" were outvoted in eleven of thirteen state ratification conventions, then thirteen of thirteen, to "ordain and establish" the Constitution. The Nullification Crisis ensued. Justification for the nullifiers was found in the U. Senate speeches and writings of John C. He defended slavery against the Constitutional provisions allowing its statutory regulation or its eventual abolition by Constitutional amendment, most notably in his Disquisition on Government.

The crisis was averted when once General Jackson declared he would march a U. Despite this, a states-rights-based defense of slavery persisted amongst Southerners until the American Civil War; conversely, Northerners explored nullification of the Fugitive Slave Act of Abraham Lincoln kept a portrait of Andrew Jackson above his desk at the War Department during efforts to defend the Constitution as understood by a national majority of people and states at that time. An important survey of the philosophical and legal underpinnings of "States Rights" as held by secessionists and Lost Cause advocates afterwards is found in the speeches of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.

Davis defended secession by appealing to the "original principles" of the Founders' Revolutionary generation, and by expanding on William Blackstone 's doctrine of legislative supremacy. By the elections of , all states which had been admitted to the United States in accordance with the Constitution were fully represented in the U.

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Following the Supreme Court holding in Brown v. Board of Education , President Dwight D. Eisenhower used National Guard and U. Public schools in every state are now racially integrated by law under the authority of the U.

The tradition is seen in many shorter episodes of limited minority protest against the United States. During the War of , Federalists conducted a Hartford Convention proposing New England secession during wartime to reopen trade with the declared enemy of the United States. It led to accusations of treason and the demise of the Federalist Party as a force in American politics.

In , the Maryland Attorney General sued to block woman suffrage. He argued in Leser v. Garnett that state legislatures were Constitutionally the sole determiners of who should vote in what federal or state elections, and that the 19th Amendment was improper. The Supreme Court's judicial review of the state court findings held that the 19th Amendment was Constitutional, and that it applied to the women's right to vote in every state.

Women now vote in every state under the authority of the U. One exceptional example of "states rights" persuading overwhelming majorities in a democratic and sustained way, and so transforming the nation came in the John Adams administration. Fear had spread that radical democratic sentiment might turn subversive as it had in the French Reign of Terror. But the Federalist-sponsored Alien and Sedition Acts meant to preempt the danger led to suppression of opposition press.

The political reaction in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions sparked public opposition against the Federalist policy and led to twenty-four years of Constitutionally elected Democratic-Republican Party rule through six administrations of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, opponents of federal laws prohibiting the sale and possession of marijuana have based their objections partially on states' rights grounds, as have opponents of federal laws and regulations pertaining to firearms.

States' rights under the constitution has also been recently raised as an issue on a number of other occasions, most notably regarding Common Core , the Affordable Care Act , and same-sex marriage.


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  7. At first, little interest was shown in the parchment object itself. Madison had custody of it as Secretary of State — but having left Washington, he had lost track of it in the years leading to his death. A publisher had access to it in for a book on the Constitution. In historian J. Franklin Jameson found the parchment folded in a small tin box on the floor of a closet at the State, War and Navy Building.

    In the State Department sealed the Declaration and Constitution between two glass plates and kept them in a safe. The two parchment documents were turned over to the Library of Congress by executive order, and in President Coolidge dedicated the bronze-and-marble shrine for public display of the Constitution in the main building. The parchments were laid over moisture absorbing cellulose paper, vacuum-sealed between double panes of insulated plate glass, and protected from light by a gelatin film.

    What does the Constitution guarantee?

    Although building construction of the Archives Building was completed in , in December they were moved from the Library of Congress until September , and stored at the U. They were transferred to the National Archives in Visual inspections have been enhanced by electronic imaging. Changes in the cases led to removal from their cases July , preservation treatment by conservators, and installment in new encasements for public display in September From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    Voting Rights. Drafting and ratification timeline Convention Signing Federalism Republicanism. Main article: United States Declaration of Independence. Main article: Confederation Period. Main article: Mount Vernon Conference. Main article: Annapolis Convention Main article: Constitutional Convention United States. Independence Hall , south wing. Washington as Convention President. George Washington Convention President. James Wilson , PA "unsung hero of Convention". Edmund Randolph , VA consolidated government. William Paterson , NJ states and congress equal.

    Main article: Slavery in the United States. Main article: Connecticut Compromise. Luther Martin , MD if not state equality create regional nations. John Dickinson , DE for one-person president. Main article: Federalism in the United States. Constitution of the United States. Morris , PA provinces forever.

    US Constitution: General Knowledge US Constitution: General Knowledge
    US Constitution: General Knowledge US Constitution: General Knowledge
    US Constitution: General Knowledge US Constitution: General Knowledge
    US Constitution: General Knowledge US Constitution: General Knowledge
    US Constitution: General Knowledge US Constitution: General Knowledge
    US Constitution: General Knowledge US Constitution: General Knowledge
    US Constitution: General Knowledge US Constitution: General Knowledge
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