Structure of the Constitution

Dana Rubin

A mnemonic device to remember the articles:

Little Elves Just Stared At Santa's Reindeer

Article 1 (Little)

Little stands for Legislative.

The legislative branch is outlined in the first article of the Constitution. The first article states how the legislative branch creates laws as well as what powers the states have as far as law-making is concerned. It is also the longest article, as the legislature was something the founding fathers were concerned about. Congress is the legislative branch. Our legislature is made up of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Article 2 (Elves)

Elves stands for Executive.

The second article of the Constitution outlines the executive branch. The executive branch deals with foreign affairs. The job of the executive branch is to enforce the laws, but it also has other powers, such as declaring war. The executive branch includes the president, so the powers of the president are outlined in the second article as well. Along with the powers, the requirements to become the president are stated.

Article 3 (Just)

Just stands for judicial.

The third article of the Constitution outlines the judicial branch. The job of the judicial branch is to interpret laws. The judicial branch is the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has the power to deem certain things "unconstitutional," such as slavery. The Court also has the power to making rulings on cases dealing between troubles between two people all the way up to troubles between two states.

Article 4 (Stared)

Stared stands for states.

The fourth article of the Constitution outlines how states interact with each other. Along with state relationships, this article also tells the process by which new states are admitted to the Union. It also gives the requirements for the state governments, one being that all state governments must be a representative democracy.

Article 5 (At)

At stands for Amendments.

The fifth article of the Constitution talks about amendments. It gives the steps needed for the Constitution to be amended, or changed. This process is done by the legislative branch. The first ten amendments were added right away, and those were the Bill of Rights. Since then, 17 new amendments have been added, totaling 27.

Article 6 (Santa's)

Santa's stands for supremacy.

The sixth article of the Constitution talks about supremacy. It describes how law works, and states the the federal law is the supreme law. Supremacy is stated in the Supremacy Clause, which can be found in Article 6, Clause 2. Along with Supremacy, other things described in the sixth article include oaths and debts.

Article 7 (Reindeer)

Reindeer stands for ratification.

The seventh article of the Constitution talks about ratification. It states what steps must be taken in order to put the Constitution into effect. It calls for nine out of the thirteen steps to ratify, or accept the Constitution. This happened in 1788, when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution. From then on, the Constitution was the supreme law of the land.