A Synopsis of the U.S. Constitution
Purposes stated in The Preamble to enable a more perfect
union to be established
1. establish justice
2. insure domestic tranquillity
3. provide for a common defense
4. promote the general welfare
5. secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our
1. The meaning of each purpose
1. Set up a judiciary system with National and State
2. Establish a military force with the intent of
enforcing the law and to protect the citizens of the Nation
and to put down rebellion.
3. Establish a National army that will protect each and
every state from foreign invasions and a common enemy.
4. A President would be appointed to act in the
interests of the people and not his own. To keep up trade
and promote economic stability. The appointed congress will
serve to express the needs of the people. Also to establish
a general school system.
5. To separate the Church and the State in all
government matters. To establish a system of checks and
balances in the government, in order to ensure that a
monarchy is not established. In addition the power of
amendment is given to insure that the constitution will
secure a perfect union for all times and to insure that
although a faultless government would not be established
its mistakes could always be remedied for the good of the
2. The underlying principle behind the Constitution is to
address and correct the grievances voiced against the
government established by the Articles of Confederation,
which was deemed inadequate and ineffective for the needs
of the new nation. Its purpose is to form a unified system
to benefit their common interest and their permanent
harmony. By forming a written Constitution they removed the
problems which existed in England under Common Law. To
insure the rights of man, outlined in the Declaration of
Independence, of life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness. The government will now be a government of the
President can, with consent of 2/3 of Senate, make treaties
Congress, which is made up of the Senate and the House of
Representatives, is given all legislative powers
Judicial power goes to one Supreme Court and other inferior
courts established by Congress
President can appoint Ambassadors, Supreme Court Judges,
Ministers, Consuls and all other offices not otherwise
provided for by other branches.
Senate will appoint a President over themselves when there
is no Vice President or he is unavailable to serve for them
Judicial power extends to all laws, treaties, cases
affecting Ambassadors and other public ministers, cases
under maritime law,
Vice President will serve as President of the Senate. Only
can vote when the vote is tied
House of Reps. has complete and sole power of impeachment
Judicial power extends to all controversies which the U.S.
is involved in, controversies between two or more states,
between citizens of different states and between citizens
claiming the land of another state
President can give a State of A Union address to the
Congress to discuss his ideas and recommendations for the
Can change laws regarding the election of Senators and
The Supreme Court Can deem any bill or act of the Executive
or Legislative branch unconstitutional
President can convene with both houses together in
can punish members of own house and expel fellow members
with a 2/3 vote
President will ensure that the laws be faithfully executed
Determines the time and day for choosing the Electors for
the Executive branch and their consequent vote
President will appoint all the Officers of the U.S.
Can deem the President or Vice President incapable of
performing his/her duties and appoint a new President or
Vice President until the Pres. can once again serve or a
new election is held
President will be the Commander in Chief of the Army, Navy,
and state militias
House of Reps. creates all bills for raising revenue.
Senate may amend these bills
President must be presented with all bills passed by
House which submitted a vetoed bill will amend it
reconsider it and send it to the other house where if it is
approved by a 2/3 vote it becomes a law without
President can veto any bill passed by Congress and return
it to congress along with his objections
Congress can lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and
excises, pay the debts and provide for the common defense
and general welfare of the U.S.
President can grant reprieves and pardons for offenses
against the U.S. except in cases of Impeachment
Can borrow money on the credit of the U.S.
Can regulate foreign and interstate trade
Can trade with Indian tribes
Can establish a rule of naturalization
Can establish laws regarding Bankruptcy
Can coin money, regulate currency values
Can set standards of weights and measures
Can establish a post office and build post roads
Can insure protection of Intellectual property rights
Can institute courts inferior to the Supreme court
Can define and punish crimes on the high seas and offenses
against the laws of Nations
Can declare war and make rules concerning the capture of
water and land
Congress may block the President's appointment of Supreme
Court judges and Heads of Departments if they find the
President's choice to be inferior
Can call for the militia to execute the laws of the Union,
to suppress insurrections and repel invasions
Can organize arm and discipline the Militia
Can exercise exclusive legislation over the district which
becomes the seat of the Government of the U.S.
Can erect forts, arsenal, dock-yards and other needful
Congress determines sight of a trial if the crime was not
committed within any state
Can declare punishment for treason
Can admit new states to the Union
Congress has power to make or remove any rules and
regulations concerning territory of the U.S.
Congress must protect all states against Domestic Violence
Congress can amend the Constitution with a 2/3 vote
Has power to make all laws to execute the above powers
The concepts of separation of powers and checks and
balances are built into our Constitution.
The Vice President, a part of the Executive branch, serves
as President of the Senate, part of the Legislative branch.
The Supreme Court has the power to check any action of the
other two branches by deeming it unconstitutional.
The House of Representatives can impeach a President that
is not acting in the best interest of the people.
Congress can declare war and organize the military and
navy, but the President acts as the Commander in Chief of
the military during the wars.
Congress can create the laws, but the President can veto
Congress can block the President's appointment of Supreme
Court Justices and other government officials.
In these examples, it can be seen that each branch has a
check in each of the other two branches. The purpose of
this is to provide a balance so that one branch doesn't
become too powerful over any of the others. There is also a
separation of the powers of each of the branches.
The Legislative branch has powers, all of which enable them
to be the sole creators of the laws and representatives of
The Executive branch is given powers that enable them to
execute the laws.
The Judiciary branch is given power to ensure that all
actions are constitutional and to make sure that the
Constitution is abided by.
This system of checks and balances and separation of powers
all goes back to the original purposes as stated in the
Preamble. The formation of a perfectly balanced government
will satisfy all the needs of this newly unified nation.
No Military Power: The Constitution of the United States
granted the Legislative and Executive branches strong
military powers. The Congress was granted the power to
allocate funds for military purposes and was granted the
power to declare war on a enemy. The President was given
the power to call upon the state militias, nationalize
them, and order them to execute his orders. The President
was made leader (Commander-in -Chief) of the army, giving
him full control over the military. This clearly was a vast
improvement over the A.O.C. which gave no military power to
eighth section of Article I, clearly grants Congress the
power to "regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among
the several States, and with Indian Tribes." This power
along with the enumerated powers which coincide with it,
now gave the Federal government power to regulate Congress,
an important part for a successful government.
the United States created a strong executive branch made up
of a President, V.P. and cabinet members. The executive
department was given full power to execute the laws of the
United States, head the armed forces, appoint ambassadors
and other federal officers (including the Supreme Court
Justices), and make treaties with foreign Nations. Most
importantly the Executive department through the President
was given the power to veto any law which Congress passed
(a vital component to our checks and balances system). The
Constitution of the United States not only addressed the
importance to create an Executive branch, but also created
through it an important check on the vast powers of
the United States created a federal Supreme Court and
outlined the powers and limits of that court. Article III
also gave Congress the power to "ordain and establish"
inferior courts. The inferior court system and Supreme
court of our country outlined in the Constitution of the
United States filled the need for a federal court system
which existed under the Articles of Confederation.
authors of the Constitution of the United States clearly
saw that they could not form a "faultless government"
(George Mason) and saw that a reason to amend the
Constitution of the United States in would arise in the
future. They saw that the A.O.C. were nearly impossible to
amend (requiring a unanimous vote). To remedy that fault of
the A.O.C. the Constitution of the United States granted
Congress the power to amend the Constitution with a 2/3
vote and with the consequent approval of 2/3 of the states.
It also gave the States the power to call another
Constitutional convention for the purpose of amending the
Constitution. These two amending processes only required
2/3 of the states or of Congress approval to pass, thus
clearing away the unanimous approval required under the
A.O.C. which made amendments nearly impossible.
2/3 vote of Congress is very hard to obtain. Under the
A.O.C. nothing within their weak powers could be done
because a law required a 2/3 vote of approval. The
Constitution fixed this problem by lowering that
requirement to a majority's approval. This made the passage
of laws much easier and made the government much more