Anatomy of the Constitution

Evan Bellamy - Civic Block 4

Articles of the Constitution

The Constitution of the United States consists of a Preamble, seven Articles, and the amendments. The Preamble serves as an introduction to the Constitution. The Articles explain how the government is comprised and functions.

The Preamble

The Preamble introduces the U.S. constitution by stating: "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

The Articles

Article I: Article I states that the legislative branch is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Explained in this Article is how the representatives are elected. It also states how they are able to makes laws and the other powers they have, such as collecting taxes.

Article II: The second Article explains what the executive branch is and how each member, including the President, is elected. The length of the term, 4 years, with the possibility of holding the office for 2 terms, is established in this Article as well. The Article outlines the duties of the President which include being the Commander-in-Chief, the right to make treaties, and the power to grant pardons.

Article III: Article III explains how the judicial branch is established. This Article created the Supreme Court, the national and highest court. It also explains how the judicial branch shall interpret the laws and make their rulings.

Article IV: Article IV explains the relationship of all of the states in the United States. The article sets a foundation for the admission of a new state, but says that no state shall be formed inside of another state's existing boundary. Every state is also entitled to their own state government.

Article V: Article V explains how the U.S. Constitution can be amended. It is necessary for two-thirds of the house to vote in favor of the amendment or two-thirds of the states to call for a convention. A three-fourths vote is then necessary to ratify the amendment.

Article VI: Article VI establishes that the Constitution is the highest ruling document and governing law in the United States. Federal officers, including judges, the president, and lawmakers all must abide by the laws. Article VI also says that any debts owed by the States are still in effect after the ratification of the Constitution.

Article VII: Article VII explains the steps of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Nine of the thirteen states were needed in order for the Constitution to be ratified.

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The seven Articles can be remembered using the following mnemonic device:

Lazy Elephants Jump Slowly And Sit Regularly.

L - Legislative Branch

E - Executive Branch

J - Judicial Branch

S - States

A - Amendments

S - Supremacy

R - Ratification

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