The U.S. Constitution contains a preamble and seven articles that outline the powers of the three branches of government, specify the relations between states, explain the process of amending the Constitution, establish the supremacy of the Constitution over all other laws, and state the process for ratification.
The Constitution of the United States, the governing document of the United States, is divided into a preamble and seven sections, or articles, of various length. The preamble, beginning with "We the People," establishes that people are the sovereign power in the government. According to the preamble, the goals of the Constitution are to "form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." The Constitution follows with seven articles. Articles I, II, III outline the powers of the three branches of government, beginning with the legislative power. The others address such issues as relations between states, the process of amending, or changing, the Constitution, the supremacy of the Constitution, and the process for ratification.
Articles of the Constitution
|Article 1||All legislative powers are vested in Congress. Congress is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The article details the qualifications for office of members of House and Senate.|
|Article 2||Executive power is vested in the president of the United States. The article details the qualifications for office and the powers of the president. The vice president shall also serve as the president of the Senate.|
|Article 3||Judicial power is vested in a Supreme Court and such inferior, or lower, courts that Congress establishes.|
|Article 4||The article in part defines the relations among the states: each state gives full faith and credit to the law, records, and court decisions of other states; citizens in every state are entitled to the privileges of citizens in all other states. New states may be admitted but not carved from any other state. The United States will guarantee each state a republican form of government and protect each state from invasion and civil unrest.|
|Article 5||The Constitution may be amended through either of two two-step processes.|
|Article 6||All debts and agreements prior to the Constitution remain valid. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land (the supremacy clause). Members of Congress and all federal and state officeholders are bound by oath to uphold the Constitution, but no religious test will be required for holding office.|
|Article 7||The Constitution takes effect once it is ratified by the conventions of nine states.|