Many people like to discuss the US Constitution and even argue about what it does and doesn't say. Much of what it says can be interpreted in many
different ways. It's our right as citizens to debate what is meant or isn't meant by it and to make changes to it as a population when needed as we
How many have actually read the Contitution? Word for word, in it's entirety? Sure, we studied it in school many years ago, but how many have read it
recently or as an adult?
It's readily available, here it is:
Many of us think we know exactly what it says and will even argue about it until we are shown exactly what it does say along with how the SCOTUS has
interpreted it. Even then, there is argument over it. It's a vital document that has shaped our great nation. The very foundation of our government
and our existance.
But what does it really say?
84% of Americans confuse the Constitution with the Declaration of Independence and think it is the Constitution that says: "all men are created
equal." That phrase is actually found in the Declaration of Independence, the document by which our Founding Fathers declared their independence from
England and their dependence on God.
•83% of Americans admit that they know only "some" or "very little" about the specifics of the Constitution. Even many American lawyers would
have to admit their own ignorance of the document, if they were to be honest in their response.
•62% of Americans cannot name all three branches of the Federal government—the executive, legislative and judicial.
•24% of Americans cannot name a single right guaranteed by the First Amendment. Freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly are the major ones
•20% of Americans do not know the Constitution prescribes that the President is also the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces.
There are certain key provisions that people often have no idea about.
•Article I of the Constitution gives instructions for the organization and powers of a two-house legislature: the House of Representatives and
•Article II establishes the Executive branch of government and vests executive power in the President of the United States.
•Article III provides for the judicial branch of government with one Supreme Court and such inferior Courts as are established by Congress.
•Article IV provides for Full Faith and Credit between the states, i.e., requiring that each state must recognize the laws of the other states.
•Article V provides a formal means for amending the Constitution. To date, only 27 amendments have been enacted by Congress and ratified by the
states, while thousands of other proposed amendments have failed.
•Article VI provides that the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress shall be the supreme law of the land. In other words, these laws will
control in the event that federal and state laws conflict. This provision is referred to as the Supremacy Clause.
•Article VII provides that ratification by nine of the original thirteen States was needed to establish the Constitution.
•The Bill of Rights, added immediately to the Constitution in 1791, includes the first ten amendments to the Constitution and guarantees many basic
rights considered fundamental to the American way of life. The Bill of Rights includes the following: ◦Amendment I: Freedoms of religion, speech,
press, assembly, and petitions to redress grievances;
◦Amendment II: Freedom to bear arms;
◦Amendment III: Freedom from quartering soldiers without consent;
◦Amendment IV: Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures;
◦Amendment V: Freedom from self incrimination;
◦Amendment VI: Right to a speedy trial, assistance of counsel, and various safeguards at trial;
◦Amendment VII: Right to a jury trial;
◦Amendment VIII: Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment;
◦Amendment IX: Retention of non-enumerated rights by the people;
◦Amendment X: The right of the states and the people to reserve the powers not delegated in the Constitution.
These are very abbreviated provisions. To really understand them, you have to read much deeper. Even then, it's not always easy to have the "right"
answer, only "an answer" and that answer you have is sometimes incorrect. We must then turn to the court cases that the SCOTUS has ruled on that
pertains to certain provisions. It can become very complicated very quickly. Therefore, many people just go on with interpreting it the way they want
to and being incorrect or interpreting it as their High School Government teacher told them to interpret it. Things change over the years, issues are
addressed, interpretations are changed.
As citizens of this country with the Constitution at the heart of our great nation, is it not important to stay "up to date" with what is said and
what is NOT said by the Constitution?
I'm not at all saying that I know all of it, I don't. None of us do. Since the interpretations change based on Supreme Court cases, none of us can.
We can stay as up to date as possible, but we will never have all the answers that will ever exist. However, we can have a basic understanding of what
it is, what it does and how it affects us.
I made this thread due to a discussion with someone else so we can continue it here and not derail another thread that is going on. Please, feel free
to jump in, this is one of the most important topics we can ever discuss (those of us who are US citizens).