The 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 them.
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...