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It is the purpose of this booklet to reproduce and interpret the Constitution of the United States in popular language.
This great document is the basic law of the land, but the average citizen has only a perfunctory and superficial knowledge of the profound and enduring political philosophy which brought it into being.
The following pages represent an earnest effort to clarify the more involved and heavy passages of the Constitution, to explain in simple, readable English the meaning of each article and section and to show their practical application to the life of the individual in the workaday world in which
It has been said by enemies of the Constitution that, like a worn-out coat, it has outlived its usefulness and is no longer adequate to the problems of modern times.
Judge of this for yourself.
Read it. Analyze its various provisions anew in the light of your knowledge of human nature and experience of life.
Give it a fair and unprejudiced hearing. Remember that it is the system of government under which thirteen weak and struggling colonies banded together more than one hundred and thirty years ago, and have since grown into the greatest nation in the world.
Then ask yourself if mankind has yet conceived its equal.
Index to the Constitution of the
The Legislative Power
Freedom of Speech and Debate-Holding Other Offices.
The Executive Power Section 1. The President-Term of Office-Election-Qualifications Succession of
Vice-President-Compensation-Oath of Office. Section 2. Enumerated Powers and Duties of President. Section 3. Relations of President with Congress-Diplomatic Business-Execution of
the Laws. Section 4. Impeachment of President and Other Officers.
The Judicial Power Section 1. Supreme Court of the United States and Other Federal Courts—Tenure of
Supreme Court—Trial by Jury-Place of Trial.
Interstate Relations Section 1. Full Faith and Credit to Public Acts, Records and Proceedings. Section 2. Interstate Privileges and Immunities of Citizenship-Extradition-Fugitive
Slaves. Section 3. Admission and Formation of New States—Public Lands. Section 4. Guaranty of Republican Government-Protection of States against In
vasion and Domestic Violence.
Amendment of the Constitution Proposal of Amendments by Congress-Convention for Proposing AmendmentsRatification of Amendments.
Miscellaneous Provisions Validity of the Public Debt-The Constitution the Supreme Law of the Land-Oath of Public Officers to Support the Constitution-No Religious Test Required.
ARTICLE VII Ratification and Establishment of the Constitution.
We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, 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.
“_We, the people"
Not the rich or the poor, the idle or those who work, the "proletariat" or the "bourgeoisie," but, EVERYBODY.
Kings grant privileges to their subjects. Dictators enforce rule from above. But America is a free and sovereign democracy, in which all the people have made their own nation and lifted it above themselves as their organic law.
In the language of the Declaration of Independence, it derives its "just powers from the consent of the governed."
“—in order to form a more perfect union—"
The Constitution has enabled thirteen weak, struggling colonies to grow into forty-eight powerful states, making the strongest republic in the world. Rivalries and jealousies are subdued. State boundaries are invisible and unguarded. Arizona and New Hampshire glory in the nation as keenly as do Florida and Wisconsin.
Every state has its own laws and courts, with the federal courts protecting the rights of the nation and its citizens, with foreign nations and their citizens, and the rights of the various states and their citizens between each other.
The power of justice for the nation as a whole is vested in its federal courts.
Before the Constitution was adopted, a state often favored its own citizens and denied others their rights. Payments due foreigners were refused. Contracts were invalidated. Bad money was made legal tender for debts. Unjust preferences in bankruptcy were made. State debts were left owing and unpaid.
With uniform laws and fearless enforcement by judges whose term of office depends solely on their good behavior, the principle of universal justice was established. NOTE—The Constitution is printed in light type. The heavier type is the comment and explanation.