Table of Contents

Short Guide to the United States of America Constitution and Political System

The United States of America Constitution establishes a federal government with three branches: Legislative (makes laws), Executive (enforces laws), and Judicial (interprets laws). Checks and balances prevent any one branch from dominating. Power is shared between federal and state governments. The Constitution is the supreme law, and the Bill of Rights protects basic freedoms. The Constitution has 7 Articles and 27 Amendments. The article discusses all the articles, amendments, and salient features. 

Preamble of the US Constitution

We the People of the United States, to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure 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.

Article I of the US Constitution

Article 1 of the United States Constitution establishes the legislative branch of the federal government, known as Congress. It outlines the structure, powers, and responsibilities of Congress, which consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Article 1 delineates the qualifications and election process for members of each chamber, as well as the procedures for passing laws, collecting taxes, regulating commerce, declaring war, and other important functions of the federal legislature. Additionally, it contains provisions for the protection of legislative privileges and the limitation of congressional powers, ensuring a system of checks and balances within the government. The article is further divided into 10 sections with multiple clauses. Explanation is given below.  

Section 1: Congress

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

Section 2: The House of Representatives (435 Members)

The 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. No 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.

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section 3: The Senate (100 Members)

Article I, Section 3 of the United States Constitution outlines the structure and powers of the Senate, one of the two chambers of Congress. This section delves into the qualifications, roles, and responsibilities of Senators, as well as the specific powers vested in the Senate. Here is a detailed examination of Article I, Section 3:

  1. Composition and Term of Senators (Clause 1 and 2):

    • Clause 1: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State (chosen by the Legislature thereof), (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by the 17th Amendment, section 1.) for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.”
    • Clause 2: “Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one-third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.”
    • Explanation: This section establishes that the Senate will consist of two Senators from each state. Senators serve six-year terms, with one-third of the Senate facing re-election every two years.
  2. Qualifications of Senators (Clause 3):

    • Clause 3: “No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.”
    • Explanation: This clause sets the qualifications for Senators, including a minimum age of thirty, nine years of U.S. citizenship, and residency in the state they represent at the time of the election.
    • Example: The Constitution’s framers intended these qualifications to ensure that Senators possess a level of maturity, experience, and connection to the state they represent.
  3. Vice President as President of the Senate (Clause 4):

    • Clause 4: “The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate but shall have no Vote unless they are equally divided.”
    • Explanation: The Vice President serves as the President of the Senate, with the ability to cast a tie-breaking vote in the event of a deadlock. However, the Vice President does not have a regular vote.
  4. Impeachment Trials (Clause 6 and 7):

    • Clause 6: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.”
    • Clause 7: “Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”
    • Explanation: The Senate is given the exclusive authority to conduct impeachment trials. If the President is impeached by the House of Representatives, the Senate acts as the court for the trial. Conviction can lead to removal from office and disqualification from holding future federal offices.

Section 4: Elections

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of choosing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Section 5: Powers and Duties of Congress

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts that require secrecy require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one-fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section 6: Rights and Disabilities of Members

The Senators and Representatives shall receive Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Section 7: Legislative Process

Article I, Section 7 of the United States Constitution delineates the process through which legislation is enacted, emphasizing the role of both houses of Congress and the President. This section provides crucial insights into the checks and balances inherent in the legislative process. Here is a detailed examination of Article I, Section 7:

  1. Origination of Revenue Bills (Clause 1):

    • “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.”
    • Explanation: This clause specifies that revenue bills, those related to taxation and government spending, must originate in the House of Representatives. However, the Senate has the authority to propose or concur with amendments, retaining the bicameral nature of the legislative process.
  2. Presidential Veto and Congressional Override (Clauses 2 and 3):

    • Clause 2: “Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approves he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it.”
    • Clause 3: “If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law.”
    • Explanation: If the President vetoes a bill, it is sent back to the house where it originated, and if both houses subsequently pass the bill by a two-thirds majority, it becomes law despite the President’s objections.
  3. Presentment and Pocket Veto (Clause 3):

    • Clause 3: “But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.”
    • Explanation: This clause introduces the concept of the pocket veto. If the President does not sign or veto a bill within ten days (excluding Sundays) and Congress adjourns during that period, the bill does not become law. This provision prevents the President from avoiding a direct veto while Congress is not in session.

Section 8: Powers of Congress

  1. Taxing and Spending Powers (Clauses 1 and 2):

“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”

“To borrow Money on the credit of the United States.”

    • Explanation: These clauses grant Congress the authority to levy taxes and borrow money to meet the financial needs of the federal government. The purpose is to fund the government’s operations, defence, and general welfare.
    • Example: The federal income tax is a direct result of Clause 1, empowering Congress to collect taxes. The ability to borrow money, as seen in Clause 2, has been exercised throughout history to finance wars, infrastructure projects, and other federal initiatives.
  1. Commerce Clause (Clause 3):

“To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”

    • Explanation: This clause grants Congress the power to regulate commerce both internationally and among the states. Over time, the interpretation of the Commerce Clause has expanded to give the federal government significant authority over economic activities.
    • Example: In the landmark case of Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), the Supreme Court affirmed Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce, establishing a broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause that has influenced numerous subsequent decisions.
  1. Naturalization and Bankruptcy Powers (Clauses):

“To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States.”

    • Explanation: Congress has the authority to set uniform rules for the process of naturalization, determining how individuals become citizens. Additionally, it can establish laws regarding bankruptcies to provide a consistent legal framework.
    • Example: The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 is a modern manifestation of Congress’s power to establish rules of naturalization. The Bankruptcy Code, periodically amended, is an example of federal legislation exercising authority over bankruptcy laws.
  1. Coinage and Weights/Measures (Clauses 5 and 6):

 “To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.”

“To provide for the Punishment of Counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States.”

    • Explanation: These clauses empower Congress to control the nation’s currency, regulate its value, and establish uniform standards for weights and measures. The counterfeiting clause underscores the importance of protecting the integrity of the monetary system.
    • Example: The Coinage Act of 1792 established the U.S. Mint and regulated coinage. Today, the responsibility for maintaining the country’s standards of weights and measures is shared by various federal agencies.
  1. Post Offices and Post Roads (Clause 7):

“To establish Post Offices and post Roads.”

    • Explanation: Congress has the authority to create and regulate the postal system, including the establishment of post offices and the designation of post roads.
    • Example: The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 transformed the United States Post Office Department into the United States Postal Service (USPS), a self-sustaining entity within the executive branch.
  1. Copyrights and Patents (Clause 8):

“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

    • Explanation: This clause grants Congress the power to establish copyright and patent laws, with the goal of encouraging innovation and the dissemination of knowledge by protecting the intellectual property of creators and inventors.
    • Example: The Copyright Act of 1976 and the Patent Act are modern legal frameworks that operationalize Congress’s authority under this clause.


To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Section 9: Powers Denied Congress

  • Bill of Attainder and Ex Post Facto Laws: Congress is prohibited from passing bills of attainder (laws that declare an individual or group guilty of a crime without a trial) and ex post facto laws (laws that retroactively criminalize an action).
  • Suspension of Writ of Habeas Corpus: The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus (the right to challenge one’s detention) shall not be suspended unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.
  • Direct Taxes: Direct taxes must be apportioned among the states based on their population.
  • Export Taxes: Congress cannot impose taxes on exports from any state.


  • Titles of Nobility: Congress is prohibited from granting titles of nobility.


Section 10: Powers Denied to Congress

  • Treaties and Alliances: No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation.
  • Letters of Marque and Reprisal: No state shall grant letters of marque and reprisal; these are official authorizations for private individuals to seize enemy property during wartime.
  • Coinage of Money: No state shall coin money, emit bills of credit, or make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts. This power is reserved exclusively to Congress.
  • Legal Tender: No state shall make anything but gold and silver coin a legal tender in payment of debts.
  • Bills of Attainder and Ex Post Facto Laws: No state shall pass any bill of attainder or ex post facto law.
  • Impairing Contracts: No state shall pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts. This provision protects the sanctity of contracts from state interference.
  • Titles of Nobility: No state shall grant any title of nobility.
  • Tax on Imports and Exports: No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws.
  • Troops and Ships of War: No state shall keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state or a foreign power, or engage in war unless invaded or in imminent danger and no delay can be afforded.
  • Agreements with Other States: No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, or enter into any agreement or compact with another state or with a foreign power.

Article II of the US Constitution

Article 2 of the United States Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, headed by the President of the United States. It outlines the qualifications, election process, and powers of the President, including the authority to enforce laws, negotiate treaties, appoint federal officials, and serve as Commander-in-Chief of the military. Article 2 also outlines the procedures for the impeachment and removal of the President for high crimes and misdemeanours. Additionally, it establishes the Vice President’s role as the President of the Senate and the procedures for presidential succession in case of the President’s incapacity or death.

Section 1

Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution outlines the executive branch of the federal government, specifying the powers and responsibilities of the President and Vice President. Here is a detailed examination of Article II, Section 1:

  1. Presidential Qualifications (Clause 1):

    • Clause 1: “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:”
    • Explanation: This clause establishes the presidency, outlining the term duration (four years) and the method of election. It does not specify a limit on the number of terms a person can serve, though the 22nd Amendment, ratified in 1951, later imposed a two-term limit.
    • Example: Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson voluntarily limited themselves to two terms, setting a precedent later codified in the 22nd Amendment.
  2. Electoral College and Presidential Elections (Clauses 2 and 3):

The Electoral College is established to elect the President. Each state appoints electors equal to its representation in Congress, and electors cast votes for two individuals, with the candidate receiving the most votes becoming President and the second becoming Vice President.

Qualifications for the Presidency (Clause 5):

This clause sets forth the qualifications for presidential candidates, including being a natural-born citizen, being at least 35 years old, and having been a resident of the United States for 14 years.

  1. Presidential Oath of Office (Clause 8):

This clause requires the President to take an oath before assuming the duties of the office, pledging to faithfully execute the responsibilities of the presidency and uphold the Constitution.

 The oath is prescribed by the Constitution itself: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”


Section 2

Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution outlines the powers and responsibilities of the President, particularly in the areas of foreign affairs and the appointment of key officials. Here is a detailed examination of Article II, Section 2:

Article II, Section 2:

  1. Presidential Power and Commander in Chief (Clause 1):

This clause designates the President as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, granting authority over the military. It also allows the President to seek written opinions from executive department heads, and grant reprieves and pardons (except in cases of impeachment).

  1. Treaties and Appointments (Clauses 2 and 3):

Clause 2 grants the President the power to negotiate treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate. It also provides the President with the authority to nominate and, with Senate approval, appoint key officials. Clause 3 addresses the President’s power to make temporary appointments during Senate recesses.

The negotiation of international treaties and the appointment of federal judges, ambassadors, and other officials are routine exercises of the President’s powers outlined in these clauses.

Section 3

This clause enumerates several duties of the President. The President is required to provide Congress with updates on the State of the Union and recommend measures for consideration. The President also has the authority to convene or adjourn Congress, receive foreign ambassadors and ministers, ensure the faithful execution of laws, and commission federal officers.

Section 4

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanours.

Article III of the US Constitution

Article 3 of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal government. It creates the Supreme Court of the United States and empowers Congress to establish lower federal courts. Article 3 outlines the jurisdiction of the federal courts, including cases involving federal law, disputes between states, and controversies between citizens of different states. It also guarantees the right to trial by jury for criminal cases and specifies that federal judges hold their offices for life, provided they maintain good behaviour. Additionally, Article 3 defines the crime of treason against the United States and sets forth the requirements for conviction.

Section 1

The United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal government.

“The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”

“The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

Section 2

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;–between a State and Citizens of another State;–between Citizens of different States;–between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the Supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment; shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section 3

Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Article IV of the US Constitution

Article IV of the United States Constitution addresses the relationships between the states and the federal government, as well as the relationships among the states. Here is a detailed examination of Article IV:

  1. Full Faith and Credit Clause (Section 1):

    • “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.”
    • Explanation: This clause ensures that states recognize and respect the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of other states. It aims to promote cooperation and comity between the states by preventing citizens from escaping legal obligations simply by moving across state lines.
    • Example: If a person is married in one state and then moves to another state, the second state is generally required to recognize the marriage as valid, thanks to the Full Faith and Credit Clause.
  2. Privileges and Immunities Clause (Section 2):

    • “The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”
    • Example: If a citizen of New York moves to California, they have the same right to own property, access the courts, or engage in business as a California resident.
  3. Extradition (Clause 2):

    • “A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.”
    • Example: If a person commits a crime in Texas and then flees to Oklahoma, the governor of Texas can request the extradition of the individual to face charges in Texas.
  4. Admission of New States (Clause 3):

    • “New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union, but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.”
  5. Guarantee Clause (Section 4):

    • “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

Article V of the US Constitution

Article V outlines two methods for proposing amendments to the Constitution. The first method involves Congress, where two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate must agree on the proposed amendment. The second method allows for a constitutional convention to be called if two-thirds of the state legislatures demand it. Regardless of the method used for proposing amendments, the ratification process is the same: approval by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states or by conventions in three-fourths of the states.

The Bill of Rights: The first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were proposed by Congress in 1789 and ratified by the states in 1791.

Article VI of the US Constitution

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article VII of the US Constitution

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the same.

Amendments (27)

First 10 Amendments (Bill of Rights)

The Bill of Rights refers to the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, which were added to address concerns about individual rights and liberties. Here is a detailed examination of the Bill of Rights:

  1. First Amendment: Protects freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  1. Second Amendment: Recognizes the right to bear arms.

 “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

  1. Third Amendment: Prohibits the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owner’s consent.

“No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

  1. Fourth Amendment: Protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, requiring warrants based on probable cause.

 “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.”

  1. Fifth Amendment: Ensures due process, protects against self-incrimination, and prevents double jeopardy. It also outlines the requirements for eminent domain.

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

  1. Sixth Amendment: Guarantees the right to a fair and speedy trial, the right to confront witnesses, and the right to legal representation.

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favour, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

  1. Seventh Amendment: Preserves the right to a jury trial in civil cases.

“In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, then according to the rules of the common law.”

  1. Eighth Amendment:

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Salient Features of the US Constitution

  1. Written Character: The U.S. Constitution is a written document with 7 articles and 26 amendments, supplemented by conventions, customs, judicial decisions, and legislative measures.
  2. Conventions and Usages: The Constitution is a framework enriched by conventions and usages, such as the shift from indirect to direct election of the president, allowing flexibility in its application.
  3. Rigidity: The U.S. Constitution is exceptionally rigid, requiring a lengthy amendment process; it has only 26 amendments in nearly 200 years.
  4. Federal Character: Originally comprising 13 states, the U.S. Constitution has grown to include 50 states, emphasizing a federal division of powers, with defined powers for the federal government and residual powers for states.
  5. Presidential Form of Government: The U.S. follows a presidential form of government, where the President, head of the executive, is not directly accountable to Congress. The system includes checks like impeachment for serious crimes.
  6. Supremacy of the Constitution: The Constitution holds supreme authority, and neither the federal government nor states can override it. The Supreme Court can declare laws or executive orders contrary to the Constitution null and void.
  7. Bicameral Legislature: The U.S. Congress is bicameral, with the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate, with 100 members, is powerful and holds executive, legislative, and judicial powers.
  8. Spoil System: The spoil system allows the incoming President to appoint ministers and officials, ensuring loyalty during their tenure in the President’s term.
  9. Dual Citizenship: Citizens have both U.S. and state citizenship, emphasizing the sovereignty of the people and their affiliation with both national and state levels.
  10. Separation of Powers: Based on the separation of powers theory, the three branches of government are interdependent yet distinct to prevent violations and overlaps, ensuring the preservation of liberty.
  11. Check and Balance System: To prevent despotism, the system of checks and balances was introduced. Treaties by the President require Senate approval, illustrating the balance of power between branches.
  12. Guarantee of Individual Liberty: The Constitution guarantees fundamental rights, including freedom of speech, religious worship, peaceful assembly, and the right to live and own property.
  13. Judicial Review: The Supreme Court holds supreme judicial power, with the authority to nullify laws if they conflict with the Constitution or fundamental rights.
  14. Sovereignty of the People: The preamble declares “We the people of America,” emphasizing that the ultimate authority resides with the people, who rule akin to a deity in the political world.

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