How many delegates signed the Constitution? How many amendments are there to the Constitution? There are currently 27 amendments to the United States Constitution. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights and were added to ensure the document's ratification.
Which future presidents signed the Constitution? Other prominent signers include Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton. When was the Constitution adopted? On June 21, , the Constitution became effective for the nine states who had ratified it. The Constitution became effective for the remaining states upon individual state ratification.
What document did the Constitution replace? The Articles of Confederation was the result of a Congress hesitant to grant centralized power.
Its weaknesses included the inability to raise money for national defense, the inability to regulate interstate trade, a unicameral legislature, and a requirement of unanimity to pass laws. How long is the Constitution? The Constitution is words, making it the shortest written constitution in the world not to mention the oldest.
It should come as no surprise that the delegates, who believed in limited government and government transparency, used limited words to create a limited government. To give you a better idea of just how amazing the document is, most Congressional bills are two or three times the size of the Constitution the most egregious being the more than 2,page health care monstrosity in A slave is someone who is owned by someone else.
Today, there are no legal slaves in America, but legal slavery was very common in As time went by, more and more people thought that slavery was wrong. Most of the people who wanted to end slavery, called abolitionists, were from the states in the north.
Most of the people who wanted to keep slavery were from the states in the south. The Southern states wanted to keep slavery because a lot of their economy, how they made money and did business, was tied up with slaves. Slaves were worth money, and slaves picked their crops, like cotton and tobacco. The people in the North said that ending slavery was an important step for the nation to take. The people of the South were afraid of losing their economy, and saw the ability to have slavery as an important issue for each state to decide on its own.
When President Lincoln was elected, the South got very angry. His election was seen as a strike against slavery because Lincoln had said he didn't like slavery. Most of the Southern states decided to break away from the United States to create their own country, the Confederate States of America. The Civil War followed. The USA won that war, but it was a terrible war — one of the worst the United States has ever had in terms of death and destruction.
One very positive thing emerged from the Civil War, though: In the 13th Amendment, slavery was forever abolished in the Constitution. The 14th Amendment said that every person born in the United States was a full citizen of the United States, even if that person was a former slave. The 15th Amendment made sure that black people could vote. Many people felt that even if black people were not slaves, they were still inferior to white people, and for years, some laws were passed to keep black people from being equal to whites.
Though we still live with the legacy of slavery today, the election of President Barack Obama, in , was one further step on the way to our fulfillment of the dream of equality. At the beginning, we talked about the men who were the Framers. For most of the history of the United States, the most important people who have shaped the country have been men. This is not because women were not willing or able to be a part of the United States. Instead, because men held all the positions of power, from Presidents to members of Congress, right down to mayors and owners of companies.
Women had very little chance to advance in life. Though many women today like being home all day taking care of the house and kids, until only very recently, this was the only option for a woman. Since women had no role in government, politics, or society other than as homemakers and supporters for their husbands or fathers, most did not feel that they should have the ability to vote. For over years after the Constitution was ratified, women had no way to vote. In some places, it was actually illegal for women to vote.
In , the 19th Amendment, which said that women could vote in all elections, was ratified. Today, women play a very large role in government and politics. Being able to vote is a big part of that, because without the ability to vote, there is no reason for politicians to care what women think or to care about issues that are important to women.
Once women were able to vote, some got very interested in politics, and went on to run for office. Though by , there have not been any woman Presidents, it is only a matter of time before the first woman President is elected.
The Bill of Rights. We already talked about why the Bill of Rights was passed: For example, you can say whatever you want about the President — you can say that you don't like his hair, or you don't like his voice, or you don't like the war in Iraq, or you don't like his tax program. It seems natural to us to be able to criticize the President or a member of Congress or a mayor, over things they do that we don't like.
But the only reason that is possible is because of the Right of Free Speech that the Bill of Rights guarantees. Imagine if there was no right to free speech in the Bill of Rights. A law could be passed that says that any criticism of the President's hair is punishable by a day in jail.
Or worse, any criticism of the President's tax policies is punishable by a year in jail. These are the kinds of laws that the Framers were afraid of.
Fortunately, we do have these freedoms in the Bill of Rights, and we cannot be put in jail because of the opinions we hold. The Bill of Rights protects a lot of other important freedoms. For example, you can hold any religious beliefs you want, and the government cannot force you to believe in something you don't. You cannot be forced to house soldiers in your home.
The police cannot come into your home without a valid reason, and may not take your papers without permission from a judge. The police cannot force you testify against yourself in court; in fact, the police cannot force you to tell them anything at all you may have heard of the "right to remain silent".
And the government cannot give you unusual punishments, such as twenty years in jail for speeding. How it all works. The Constitution sets up three main branches of government. These are called the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judiciary. Each one has its own role in how the law is made and used. The role of the Legislature is to make the law. The legislature is called the Congress, and is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Each Representative comes from a district in one of the states. That person's job is to represent the people in that district. The people elect the Representative and have the right to tell him or her how they feel about issues. There are Representatives. Bigger states have more Representatives and every state has at least one. The Senate is made up of Senators, two from each state. Senators are elected by the people of the state and should represent the interests of all of the people.
When the Congress wants to pass a law, both the House and the Senate must agree to the exact same law. If they cannot agree, then the law cannot pass. The role of the Executive is mainly to make sure the law is carried out. The Executive is headed by the President, and includes the Vice President and the Secretaries of all the national departments, like the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Education.
But before a bill becomes a law, it is sent to the President. The President has three choices. He can sign the bill, in which case it becomes a law. He can veto the bill, which then gets sent back to Congress, and which can then override the veto if two-thirds of both houses of Congress vote to do so. Or he can refuse to sign the bill, but not veto it; in this case, the bill will become law after ten days. This process is one example of the system of checks and balances in the United States government.
The Congress must pass laws the President agrees with, but the President can't refuse to sign a law without taking a stand on it. The last branch is the Judiciary. This includes all the federal courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court. States have their own court systems that fall underneath the national court system.
The role of the Judiciary is to interpret the law. The law might say, "It is illegal to break into someone's home. First, can the government make this illegal?
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