The main purpose of the U.S. Constitution is to establish the basic rights of all American citizens and provide direction on how the government should work. The Constitution also provides the framework for law and order and describes the roles of the government's federal judiciary branch, legislative branch and executive branch.Continue Reading
The Constitution officially took effect on Sept. 17, 1787, during the Philadelphia Convention and has been amended 27 times since its adoption. The first 10 amendments of the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights.
The U.S. Constitution consists of a preamble, seven original articles and 27 amendments. The first three articles of the Constitution define the role of the president as the head of the government, the Supreme Court as the administrator of the judicial branch and the role of the bicameral Congress within the legislative branch of the government.
The Constitution and its amendments define civil liberties, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble and the freedom to petition, which are rights that citizens continue to enjoy. The Constitution also provides citizens the right to possess firearms, the right to a public trial for criminal offenses, the right to question unusual punishment and the right to question property seizures and arrests without a warrant.Learn more about The Constitution
A written constitution clearly defines the division of powers within a government, the powers and limitations of each branch therein, and the rights of the citizens at large. Written constitutions also allow literate citizens the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their government's laws and infrastructure, increasing the power of individuals.Full Answer >
Lists of proposed amendments to the U. S. Constitution appear in historical documents, government publications and websites and in independently published materials. A 1789 letter from James Madison to Congress contains one of the earliest lists and outlines the proposed amendments that formed the Bill of Rights.Full Answer >
The primary impact of Shays' Rebellion on the formation of the Constitution was a more powerful federal government capable of keeping the states in order. The rebellion made delegates fearful of the possibility of the entire country collapsing into anarchy in the absence of a powerful central government.Full Answer >
The Ninth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution affirms that people have general rights that the government cannot take away; the amendment doesn't specifically name any of these rights. Some examples of modern issues that the Ninth Amendment might apply to include marriage equality and abortion.Full Answer >