The Constitution of the United States of America

Constitutional Issues

"No legislative act contrary to the Constitution can be valid. To deny this would be to affirm that the deputy (agent) is greater than his principal; that the servant is above the master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people; that men, acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid. .. A Constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by judges as fundamental law. If there should happen to be a irreconcilable variance between the two, the Constitution is to be preferred to the statute."
— Alexander Hamilton, in the Federalist Papers #78

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"The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution, which at any time exists, ‘till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all."
—George Washington (1796)

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"Like psychoanalysis, constitutional jurisprudence has become a game without rules. By defying the plain meaning of words, ignoring context and history, and using a little ingenuity, you can make the Constitution mean anything you like." — Joseph Sobran

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"If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government." —Alexander Hamilton, in the Federalist Papers #28


The Heritage Guide to The Constitution
Heritage Guide to The Constitution


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Take the Constitution Test
25 questions you should be able to answer
about our founding document
Constitution Quiz
Take this 5 question quiz prepared by Hillsdale College and
find out how much you know about the U.S. Constitution
A Republic v. A Democracy
Understanding why the United States of America
is not and never was a democracy (10-minute video)
Heritage Guide to the Constitution
The Heritage Guide to the Constitution is intended to provide a brief and accurate explanation of each clause of the Constitution as envisioned by the Framers and as applied in contemporary law.
Select any Article or Section from the left side and the Original Text appears in the main, center, area. Hover your cursor over text in the main body. Areas with an associated Essay will highlight and, upon a left-click, that Essay will appear. Essays are also listed on the right for direct selection.
Teacher's Companion Lessons are also available in PDF format.
The Meaning of The Constitution
And the Concept of Federalism

Edwin Meese III
The Constitution of the United States has endured for over two centuries. It remains the object of reverence for nearly all Americans and an object of admiration by peoples around the world. William Gladstone was right in 1878 when he described the U.S. Constitution as "the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man."
BASIC CONCEPTS OF “GOVERNMENT”
Publius Huldah
Think NOT that you must have a law degree to understand the Constitution of the United States; or that the lawyers, law professors and black robed judges are the ones who understand it best.They are the ones who perverted it. To restore constitutional government, We the People must learn the basic concepts of  “government”; and we must learn the Constitution, elect representatives who will honor their oaths to support it (Art VI, clause 3), and remove from office those who don’t.

Government Charity
as explained by Colonel David Crockette

What the Constitution Really Says
About Race and Slavery

David Azerrad
The argument that the Constitution is racist suffers from one fatal flaw: the concept of race does not exist in the Constitution. Nowhere in the Constitution – or in the Declaration of Independence, for that matter – are human beings classified according to race, skin color, or ethnicity (nor, one should add, sex, religion, or any other of the left’s favored groupings).
Comparing Constitutions
United States of America vs European Union

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31dec15 Property Rights and Religious Liberty
Larry P. Arnn   
Many Christians, while they cherish religious liberty, seem to believe that property rights, and the commerce that arises from the establishment of property rights, are somehow un-Christian. At the same time, a lot of free marketers seem to think that all we need are property rights and the rest will take care of itself. Neither of these views is correct, and I will explain why with reference to both James Madison and Winston Churchill.
20mar15 A Little-Noted Masterpiece of Constitutional Scholarship
by Justice Thomas

Mark J. Fitzgibbons
Justice Thomas has provided us a masterpiece of constitutional thinking, explaining why “administrative law” – the practice of delegating to bureaucrats the making and enforcement of rules with the force of law – is so profoundly unconstitutional. You could spend years reading history books, the Federalist Papers, and case law, but you won’t find a better explanation of the essence of our Constitution.  If you understand what’s in these few pages, you understand why we have the Constitution, why it is structured the way it is, and why it is essential to the American experiment.
7dec14 Is It Time for an Anti-Federalist Party?
Bruce Walker
No wise and serious American, whatever his notional ideology, trusts the federal government. This fact is often lost in the dust and wind from that gaggle of pundits whose relevance depends upon every issue of life being controlled by an all-powerful central government. In American politics and government, the problem, of course, is Washington, and most Americans find Washington as arrogant and stupid as American colonists found London in 1776.
19oct14 Constitutional Convention? Caveat Emptor –
The Law of Unintended Consequences

Mark Alexander
20th-century sociologist Robert Merton noted three primary factors contributing to unanticipated consequences: First, incomplete analysis because it is impossible to anticipate all variables; second, errors in analysis of what is known about the problem; third, immediate interests overriding long-term interests.
7jul13 Religion and Public Life in America
R.R. Reno
Religious liberty is being redefined in America, or at least many would like it to be. Our secular establishment wants to reduce the autonomy of religious institutions and limit the influence of faith in the public square. The reason is not hard to grasp. In America, “religion” largely means Christianity, and today our secular culture views orthodox Christian churches as troublesome, retrograde, and reactionary forces.
14apr13 The Second Amendment as an Expression of First Principles
Edward J. Erler
The shooters in Arizona, Colorado, and Newtown were mentally ill persons who, by all accounts, should have been incarcerated. Even the Los Angeles Times admits that "there is a connection between mental illness and mass murder." But the same progressives who advocate gun control also oppose the involuntary incarceration of mentally ill people who, in the case of these mass shootings, posed obvious dangers to society before they committed their horrendous acts of violence.
7apr13 Christian Origins of Essential American Doctrines
Kelly O'Connell
In midst of the modern, mindless battle to drive religion completely from American life, a small and inconvenient fact has been ignored: Virtually every important, original American idea is a product of Christianity. Further, had these doctrines never been developed, the US would arguably not been nearly as productive, free or happy. These ideas involve property, liberty, and the rule of law.
2dec12 How to Think About Religious Freedom
Matthew J. Franck
There is a growing awareness among Americans that religious freedom in our country has come under sustained pressures. In the public square where freedom of religion meets public policy, it becomes clearer all the time that there is a high price to be paid for being true to one’s conscience.
23dec11 The Unity and Beauty of the Declaration and the Constitution
An Interview with Larry P. Arnn, President, Hillsdale College
Peter Robinson: Larry, I am quoting from you: “You can read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in a few minutes. They are simple. They are beautiful. They can be understood and retained.” Place the documents in their historical context. Why did they matter?
5dec11 The President’s Enumerated Powers,
Rulemaking by Executive Agencies & Executive Orders

Publius Huldah
No one in Congress seems to know that it is our Constitution which sets the “agenda” for the federal government.  The agenda the Constitution sets restricts the federal government to war, international relations & commerce; and domestically, the establishment of an uniform commercial system: a monetary system based on gold & silver, weights & measures, patents & copyrights, a bankruptcy code, and mail delivery (Art. I, Sec. 8, cls.1-16).
2oct09 Revolution
Herbert E. Meyer
During the last 30 years we Americans have been so politically divided that some of us have called this left-right, liberal-conservative split a "culture war" or even a "second Civil War."  These descriptions are no longer accurate.  The precise, technical word for what is happening in the United States today is revolution.
8mar09 The America Republic -vs- Socialist America
J. D. Longstreet
The difference between Conservative Government and a Socialist Government (that of the American Left) when shaken down to its raw essentials will make, or break, the United States of America.
29nov08 Study:
Americans Ignorant of Basic Civics, Government;
Elected Officials Fair Even Worse!
(pdf)
Are most people, including college graduates, civically illiterate? Do elected officials know even less than most citizens about civic topics such as history, government, and economics? The answer is yes on both counts according to a new study by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).
 Take the Test Yourself (html)
30aug08 Birthright Citizenship and Dual Citizenship:
Harbingers of Administrative Tyranny

Edward J. Erler
Birthright citizenship – the policy whereby the children of illegal aliens born within the geographical limits of the United States are entitled to American citizenship – is a great magnet for illegal immigration.
17aug08 Voters Should Pass a Minimal Civics Test
Doug Patton
I have never been an advocate of the popular notion that "everyone should vote." Some people look at me as if I am somehow un-American when I say that I am not in favor of encouraging people to vote who would otherwise never darken the door of a polling place.
2mar08 God and the State in America
TYSK
Only a willful disregard for the clear meaning of the 1st Amendment would lead one to believe that God and religion were to be excised from any and all matters related to the state. Should you doubt this – or wish to have further proof – consider the Preambles to all of the 50 United States’ constitutions.
23sep07 Originalism: A Primer
David Schraub
Originalism rose to prominence in the Reagan era because, as Edwin Meese put it in an uncharacteristic moment of candor, it promised to remake the Court in a way that would halt the slide toward "the radical egalitarianism and expansive civil libertarianism of the Warren Court."
13jun05 The Future of Self-Government
Kim Weissman
Nine justices on the Supreme Court writing a new Constitution as they see fit, and then mandating that the entire nation obey, is a decidedly undemocratic process which results in meanings that were never adopted or ratified by the people, but which are imposed upon them without their consent.
 
5apr05 Judicial Supremacy and The Constitution
Kim Weissman
Justice must be about more than just process – to be respected, a system of justice not only has to do justice, but has to be seen and believed by the people to be doing justice.
 
6dec04 Judicial Despotism
Kim Weissman
“To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.” – Thomas Jefferson (1820)
 
6nov04 The Election Monitoring Circus Leaves Town
Peyton Knight
Our electoral system is a certified thing of beauty. It places accountability at the local level, thereby empowering citizens to effectively police themselves and solve any unique problems that only they can diagnose.
 
26jul04 How Treaties Trump the Constitution
Henry Lamb
Nothing in the U.S. Constitution authorizes the federal government to regulate private property. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution authorizes the federal government to manage wildlife or prescribe land use regulations within the various states.
 
3mar04 Almighty Judges
Kim Weissman
Are the decisions of federal judges The Final Answers to any issue? Would we accept an Executive who could dictate policy that is final, incontrovertible, and could not be challenged? That would make the president into a king, would it not?
 
28jan04 No Constitution Remains
Kim Weissman
Viewed in the cold light of the reality that our Constitution is no longer a barrier to what our government does, why is anyone surprised that our elections have degenerated into a contest to see which politician can promise to give us more?
 
13jan04 Why Not Term Limits?
George M. Haddad
It is conventional wisdom that incumbents are in a better position to prepare and amass massive mailing lists, develop political machines, make invaluable political contacts and continue with year 'round fund raising. In term limit states this has changed dramatically.
 
13apr03 The Declaration of Independence, 2003
In a Convention of Sovereign States, July 4, 2003
The unanimous Declaration of the fifty united States of America
 
23mar03 The Declaration, the Constitution,
and the Brilliance of the Founders

Lawrence W. Reed
So many functions within both major parties are devoid of principles that sometimes you have to wonder if the membership believes in anything besides beating the other side at election time.
 
20nov02 National Death by the Pharisees
Paul E. Scates
The similarity between the impact of the Pharisees on established Judaism and the impact our own political Pharisees on American Founding principles is striking, and informative.
21jul02 Are we to Live Under
the ICC or the Bill of Rights?
Kim Weissman
The philosophy of the ICC (and the U.N.) is that governments are superior to the people, granting or withholding rights as they see fit. This is the European model, but it is not America's.
9feb02 Are We Too Stupid to Understand?
The Liberty Committee
Apparently members of the US Senate believe that we are and cannot grasp the challenges to the US Constitution presented by the "reforms" proposed under the guise of campaign finance reform.
17nov01 G-d And Liberty; Liberals And Lies
The awareness of G-d as the source of our liberty, in turn, hampers the efforts of liberals/socialists who need to change the founding documents, in interpretation and even in fact, in order to implement their big government agenda.
31jul01 An Open Letter to Statists Everywhere
"If you’re among those many people who spend most of their time and energies advocating a litany of proposals for expanded government action, and little or no time recommending offsetting reductions in state power, then this letter has indeed found its mark."
18jun01 Our Flaw? We're Just Not Liberals
Suddenly, the Federalist Society is the talk of the town. But what exactly is this society? Is it some secret fraternity? Does it — heaven forbid — have "an agenda"?
20mar01 The Price Of Indolence
Are we citizens of our States, protected by the Constitution and Bill of Rights, or have we unknowingly forfeited our original relationship with government, for a federal citizenship with dubious benefits and dangerous concessions of our liberty?
13mar01 Are We Citizens Of Our States?
The government recognizes two distinct classes of citizens: a state Citizen and a federal citizen. State Citizens created the states who created the federal government who created federal citizens.
9feb01 How Many Bills of Rights do we Need?
Everyone from medical patients to airline passengers is demanding their own bill of rights. This trend runs contrary to the ideas behind the genuine article.
4feb01 Wall Of Separation
The radical left's worst nightmare — a religious, moral, and well-armed population. How could they ever impose their socialist ideology under those conditions?
25jan01 Constitutional Ignorance
During last week's confirmation hearings, Sen. Kennedy laid into President Bush's attorney general nominee John Ashcroft about his strong support for the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment. Kennedy demanded that Ashcroft apologize to the American people.
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26dec00 Genesis of the Civil War
Interesting, isn't it, that today, those who favor banning Confederate symbols and continue to demonize an entire people's history also tend to be partisans of the federal government in all its present political struggles?
12dec00 Envy, Egalitarianism, and Empire
Though the Founding Fathers were committed to the establishment of a Republic of self-governing, sovereign States, they feared that the "dissolution toward empire, which had occurred in Rome, was historically inevitable."
19nov00 How To Subvert Freedom
Unearthed Secret Memo for radical activists who are
dedicated to subverting a democratic nation's freedom.
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6nov00 A review of States Rights and the Union
Famed historian Forrest McDonald concludes that the states were sovereign during the revolution and remained so under the Articles of Confederation and even under the Constitution of 1787.
3sep00 Constitutional Protections Ignored
Increasingly, we have been ignoring the limits imposed by our Constitution, usually in the name of some "greater good" or "general welfare". We do so at our great peril.
27aug00 Liberal Intolerance
Nothing so enrages "diverse" leftists and "tolerant" democrats as
someone refusing to bow down to their ideology.
11jul00 Hands Off Government
Once it becomes clear that government schools indoctrinate captive students in the tenets and dogma of humanism to the exclusion of all other religions, it also becomes clear that the government itself is in the business of establishing a state-run, religious monopoly.
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29apr00 New Life for the "One Drop" Rule
It is breath-taking to find old ideas about "blood" now resuscitated in a respectable law review, and by an African-American scholar. Now the fear, apparently, is that some whites will try to "pass" as black.
25mar00 Post-Constitution America: Night of the "Living" Dead
Statists, collectivists and the left need to take heed: when their power and influence are lost and a truly evil form of government arises, there will be no document around in any meaningful form to run to as a last resort.
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12mar00 Rejected
FDR at the Gates of Hell
This New Deal-era ditty pictured FDR persuading the devil
of his worthiness to enter Hell. (1930s)
28jan00 Looking for a constitutional culprit in the cancerous growth of federal power? Look no further than the Commerce Clause
If growing food for your own consumption has a "substantial effect" on interstate commerce and is therefore subject to congressional regulation, it’s hard to see what area of life is beyond federal authority.
31jan00 Who Judges The Judges?
We are becoming the only people in history to voluntarily throw away our liberty and embrace servitude.
19dec99 The Federal Kingdom
It is remarkable how willing, even eager, some people in this country are to abandon representative government, and to adopt dictatorial solutions to (usually non-existent) problems.
10dec99 America Must Restore the Foundations of Freedom
Should the people still have the authority to run the country through their elected legislators?
7nov99 Tyranny By Usurpation
We, the People, have failed miserably to protect our Constitutional heritage
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29sep99 Congress Passes
Americans With No Abilities Act
Sweeping new legislation that provides benefits and protection for more than 135 million talentless Americans.
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25sep99
&
1oct99

The Federalists Revisited
Part I  
~~O~~   Part II
Today's central government -- particularly the judiciary branch and the executive branch under Bill Clinton -- bears little resemblance to those branches as envisioned by our Founders and the principal authors of our U.S. Constitution.
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Putting God Back in the Public Square
The 'Ten Commandment' Judge, Roy S. Moore, on his seven-year battle to preserve religious freedom of expression in the courtroom and in the public arena.
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Amerika, Amerika
by Claire Wolfe
Why a Constitution?
Our Constitution is under incredible assault today, and many people question why we need such a document at all.
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