United States Constitution
The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. The constitution, originally composed of seven articles, by which the federal government is divided into three branches: the Legislative Power, which consists of the Bicameral Congress; the Executive Power, made up of the President and the Vice-President; and the Judiciary, which consists of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Articles Four, Five and Six define the concepts of federalism, which describe the rights and responsibilities of state and state governments in relation to the federal government. The Seventh Article sets out the procedure subsequently used by the thirteen states to ratify it.
Since the constitution took effect in 1789, it has been amended twenty-seven times. In general, the first ten amendments, collectively known as the Bill of Rights, provide specific protections of individual freedom, including religious freedom and justice, in addition to restricting the powers of government. Most of the seventeen later amendments were aimed at expanding individual civil rights. Others addressed issues related to federal authority or changes in government processes and procedures. Amendments to the US Constitution, unlike those made in many constitutions around the world, are added at the end of the document. With seven articles and twenty-seven amendments, it is the shortest written constitution in force. All five pages of the original constitution are written on parchment.
It was discussed and approved by the Constitutional Convention of Philadelphia (in the state of Pennsylvania), between May 25 and September 17, 1787.
That year, the United States passed its first and, to date, only constitution. The constitution expresses a compromise between the statist tendency defended by Thomas Jefferson, who wanted great political autonomy for the member states of the federation, and the federalist tendency that fought for a strong central power.
It is the second oldest constitution in force, behind only the Constitution of San Marino, which has been in force since 1600. Its authors were strongly influenced by pacifism, and they were against the political-economic use of wars and the power of banks and the issuance of of paper money to support private debts. The Eighteenth Amendment was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment on December 5, 1933. It was the only amendment to the US Constitution to be repealed.
The President of the United States is elected for a period of four years by the voting citizens in a system in which candidates do not win directly by the absolute number of votes in the country, but depend on the counting in each state, which sends votes in a sort of second election to number proportional to its population for the winner in its territory.
Two houses make up Congress: the House of Representatives, with delegates from each state in proportion to their populations; and the United States Senate, with two representatives per state. Congress votes on laws and budgets. The Senate oversees foreign policy primarily. The Supreme Court, composed of judges appointed by the president and approved by the Senate, resolves conflicts between states and between them and the Union, guaranteeing the supremacy of the federal Constitution in relation to state constitutions and the laws of the country.
The United States Constitution provides for a system of amendments, through amendments, and over the years a total of 27 have been passed.
The first 10 amendments are designated by the United States Bill of Rights as they contain the basic rights of the citizen against the power of the state. Since there was no consensus on their inclusion in the original text of the constitution, they were presented after the constitution came into force.