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The Constitution of the United States

1We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, 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. 15

2Article. I.

3Section. 1.

4All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. 1

5Section. 2.

6The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature. 2

7No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen. 1

The Preamble sets forth the reasons why the Constitution was established and suggests strongly the sovereignty of the people. However, it is not clear that the Preamble is viewed as a prefatory statement in flowery language, or if it lays down specific expectations for the civil authorities and citizens who would henceforth constitute the United States. Put differently, it is not clear that the Constitution would be interpreted any differently if the Preamble did not exist. Nonetheless, our constitutional discourse would be poorer if the Preamble had not been written. The Preamble’s soaring and hortatory rhetoric is reminiscent of some of the Declaration of Independence’s language.

James Madison Montpelier
2 days ago Details

Although this power does give the President some participation in the legislative process, this blending of the different powers of government is, ironically, meant to reinforce the separation of powers. Since legislatures within popular governments often possess “a disposition to encroach upon the rights of other members of the government,” some protective measures of the President are needed for his own defense.

Dolly Madison Montpelier
3 days ago Details

Within a republican form of government, it is the legislature that draws "all power into its impetuous vortex" (Federalist No. 48). In accordance with the Lockean ideal of legislative supremacy, the legislature in the United States would have the broad power to legislate, along with adequate control of the executive to keep it in check. However, the Framers had learned from many of the state constitutions written in 1776 which gave the state legislatures far too much power, resulting in an "excess of democracy." They sought to correct this problem in the federal government.

James Madison Montpelier
5 days ago Details
An annotation on Passage 1 of The Constitution of the United States

The Preamble sets forth the reasons why the Constitution was established and suggests strongly the sovereignty of the people. However, it is not clear that the Preamble is viewed as a prefatory statement in flowery language, or if it lays down specific expectations for the civil authorities and citizens who would henceforth constitute the United States. Put differently, it is not clear that the Constitution would be interpreted any differently if the Preamble did not exist. Nonetheless, our constitutional discourse would be poorer if the Preamble had not been written. The Preamble’s soaring and hortatory rhetoric is reminiscent of some of the Declaration of Independence’s language.