Candle Quill and Inkwell with Declaration of Independence of the United States
Leadership

Civics 101 – Declaration of Independence and Constitution

We live is a country devoid of even a basic understanding of Civics.

This is but a cliff note presentation of our Declaration of Independence and The Constitution, but positions the major pieces together as a foundation to US Civics.

  • The Declaration of Independence – July 4, 1776
    • “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected then with another…
    • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
  • The Constitution of the United States of America – September 17, 1787
    • We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…
      • Article 1, Section 1 – All legislative Powers granted in a Congress… which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
        • Section 2 –
          • House composed of Members chosen every second Year, 24 years old, 7 years US Citizen, inhabitant of State, apportioned among states – currently 435 Representatives, with sole power of Impeachment (simple majority).
          • Senate composed of 2 Senators from each State,  every 6th year in 2 year rotations, 30 years old, 9 years US Citizen, inhabitant of state. Vice President shall be President of Senate without a vote unless equally divided. Sole power to try all Impeachments (2/3 majority needed).
        • Section 7 – Bills approved by the House and Senate shall be submitted to the President and approved if signed by President or not acted upon within 10 days. Bills rejected will still become law if approved by 2/3rds of House and Senate.
        • Section 8 – To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States (commerce clause).
      • Article 2, Section 1 – Executive power shall vest in a President, a natural born citizen, 35 years old, for a term of 4 years, elected by Electors equal to Number of Senators and Representatives.
        • Electoral College – total votes include 100 (Senators) plus 435 (House of Representatives) and 3 (Washington DC per 23rd Amendment) =  538. The majority required to elect is 270.
        • Section 2 – President shall be Commander if Chief and have Power by and with Advice and Consent of Senate to appoint Supreme Court Judges etc.
      • Article 3, Section 1 – The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court who shall hold their offices during good behavior, along with lesser courts.
      • Article 4 – Full faith and credit.
      • Article 5 – 2/3rds of both Houses necessary to approve Amendments to the Constitution. (2/3 of all states necessary also.)
    • Amendments to the Constitution (first ten are known as “The Bill of Rights“) – December 15, 1791
      1. Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and redress of grievances.
      2. The right to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.
      3. Soldiers not quartered in homes without consent.
      4. Right against unreasonable search and seizure.
      5. Guarantee of due process and rule against self incrimination.
      6. Speedy and public trail by impartial jury.
      7. Right to trial by jury.
      8. No cruel and unusual punishment.
      9. Rights stated do not take away from individual rights.
      10. States rights.
    • 11th 1795 – Restricts ability of individuals to sue states in federal courts.
    • 12th 1804 – Replaced Article 2 section 1 on electoral voting of President and VP
    • 13th 1865 – Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment, shall exist.
    • 14th 1868 – All persons born in US, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the US.
    • 15th 1870 – Right to vote shall not be denied due to race, color or previous condition of servitude.
    • 16th 1913 – Power to lay and collect taxes.
    • 18th 1919 – Prohibition.
    • 19th 1920 – Right to vote not denied due to sex.
    • 20th 1933 – Term for President and VP ends Jan 20, and Houses end Jan 3.
    • 21th  1933 – Repeals prohibition.
    • 22nd 1951 – 2 term limit for President.
    • 23rd 1961 – Gives electoral votes to Washington DC no more than the least populous state – currently 3.
    • 24th 1964 – Voting not denied due to failure to pay taxes.
    • 25th 1967 – Procedures for replacing President and Vice President in event of death, incapacity or removal.
    • 26th 1971 – The rights of citizens 18 years or older to vote shall not be infringed.
    • 27th 1992 – House must approve any changes in compensation to either house before effective.

 

 

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