American Constitution

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American Constitution
The basis of all law in the United States is the Constitution. This Constitution
is a document written by "outcasts" of England. The Constitution of
the United States sets forth the nation's fundamental laws. It establishes the
form of the national government and defines the rights and liberties of the

American people. It also lists the aims of the government and the methods of
achieving them. The Constitution was written to organize a strong national
government for the American states. Previously, the nation's leaders had
established a national government under the Articles of Confederation. But the

Articles granted independence to each state. They lacked the authority to make
the states work together to solve national problems. After the states won
independence in the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), they faced the problems of
peacetime government. The states had to enforce law and order, collect taxes,
pay a large public debt, and regulate trade among themselves. They also had to
deal with Indian tribes and negotiate with other governments. Leading statesmen,
such as George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, began to discuss the creation
of a strong national government under a new constitution. The United States is a
republic that operates under a federalist system. The national government had
specific enumerated powers, and the fifty states retain substantial endowment
over their citizens and their residents. Both the national government and the
state government are divided into three different branches, executive,
legislative, and judicial. Written constitutions, both federal and state, form a
system of separated powers. Amendment, in legislation, is a change in a law, or
in a bill before it becomes a law. Bills often have amendments attached before a
legislature votes on them. Amendments to the Constitution of the United States
may be proposed in two ways: (1) If two-thirds of both houses approve, Congress
may propose an amendment. The amendment becomes a law when ratified either by
legislatures or by conventions in three-fourths of the states. (2) If the
legislatures of two-thirds of the states ask for an amendment, Congress must
call a convention to propose it. The amendment becomes a law when ratified
either by the legislatures or by conventions in three fourths of the states.

This method has never been used. The Federal Government is comprised of three
branches: Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch. The
executive branch includes the President the vice President, the cabinet and all
federal departments, and most governmental agencies. All executive power is
vested in the President [US Const. Art. II, sec 1, cl. 1], currently Bill

Clinton, who serves a four-year term. The President is the commander in Chief of
the military [US Const. Art. II, sec 2, cl. 1], and has primary authority over
foreign affairs. The President has the power to make treaties, but only with
two-thirds of the US senate [US Const. Art. II, sec 2, cl. 2]. The President of
the US has the power to nominate all Supreme Court Justices, all other federal
juries, ambassadors, and all other officers of the United States. The President
had the jurisdiction to veto legislation. The vice President is the President of
the Senate. The Vice President serves the same four year term as the President.

The President is the head of the thirteen government departments. These
departments are not listed in the constitution and have varied in name and in
number over the years. Currently they are the DEPARTMENTS OF STATE, TREASURY,

DEFENSE, JUSTICE, INTERIOR, AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN

SERVICES, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, TRANSPORTATION, ENERGY, and EDUCATION.

The heads of each department form the cabinet, which is the highest advisory
group to the President. The executive branch also includes dozens of government
agencies. There is a difference between departments and agencies. Agencies have
a very specific purpose while the departments are more broad. Heads of any
governmental agencies are not members of the cabinet. All federal legislative
powers are vested in the Congress of the United States, which contain two
chambers, a Senate and a House of Representatives [US Const. Art. I, sec 1,].

There are one hundred Senators, two from each of the fifty states. Senators
serve six-year terms [US Const. Art. I, sec 3, cl. 1]. The House of

Representatives has 435 members, the population of each state determines this
number. Each state is granted minimum of one representative. Each representative
serves a two-year term. The powers of Congress are specifically enumerated in
the Constitution and include, among other things, the power to lay and collect
taxes, duties, and tariffs. Congress also has the power

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