The Constitution is the highest law of the land. It lays out the rules for how we are to act, what rights and responsibilities we have, and how a democracy should function.Which article proclaims the constitution as the highest law ? Article 6. What is contained in Article 1, section 8 of the constitution? It designates powers to Congress. This includes the power to declare war and pay for it. In Article 2 it assigns powers to the President as commander in chief. The senate has the power to approve ambassadors and other positions, and make treaties with foreign nations.
The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment. Kings had power over their citizens, but they also were bound by laws. Do we see any difference with our constitution? Our Constitution is a set of rules that limits what the government can do to its citizens, but it also empowers the government to use force within limits against citizens if need be.
1. The Constitution is the highest law for a reason.
Adapted from: The Constitution, that sacred document that defines our rights and freedoms as Americans, was written in reaction to the abuses of King George III and his British government – is there anything in Article 6 that sets our Constitution apart as somehow being more important than laws passed by Congress? “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” Article 6
2. Most of the Founding Fathers were too busy fighting the war to write a constitution.
Adapted from: That history is more important than mere government usurpation of power, not in Article 6 but in Article 1, Section 8: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.” This didn’t just give the Congress the power to collect taxes, to keep the army and navy armed, or create a ministry of war. It also gave them the power to tax without a constitutional amendment, universally — and foreign governments would have no objections to payments made by their citizens in these ways.
3. The Constitution is based on “state sovereignty” not equality.
Adapted from: The Constitution itself mentions “equal protection of laws” in Article VI but that phrase appears in only one place. The term “equality” does not appear at all in the Constitution. The only mention of equality is found in Article 1, Section 2 which says that states can’t deny citizens equal protection of the laws within their own state. Why? State sovereignty and equality for the people were two different things for the Founders. When you read the Constitution, keep in mind that it is a contract between three parties: the federal government, individual states and its citizens.
4. We’ve been taught democracy is our form of government since grammar school.
Adapted from: Most of us were taught that the Constitution was written by white, protestant men to govern all Americans. What’s the basis for this? The very fact that the document was written by white men is seen to imply that they were writing “for” or “on behalf of” everyone, but it also implies that they’re in charge. But there is no evidence that any of our founding fathers had any intent to create a democracy. They weren’t educated under democratic teachings (they weren’t being taught Latin at the time), and they didn’t suggest a democracy — their ideas about government were drawn from ancient Rome and monarchy. In fact, near the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Thomas Paine published a pamphlet, Common Sense , and it was wildly popular.
5. The original Constitution defined us as “states,” not citizens.
Adapted from: The Constitution can be viewed as a contract between the States and their citizens. It defines the relationship between State governments and the federal government, and it is primarily a framework or charter for how state governments would interact with the federal government (Baker). I’ve personally read documents that suggest that there were no rights given to Americans in Article 1, Section 10. This section reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” And this could imply that there are more rights that we didn’t get from this document (like free speech or reproductive rights) if they weren’t specifically denied in this document. But I can’t find any reference in the Constitution that says this section constitutes a repeal of rights guaranteed by earlier sections.
6. The Constitution was written to keep the federal government from violating our rights.
Adapted from: Our founding fathers did want to ensure that the new government wouldn’t become tyrannical and try to violate their rights, those of other citizens, or of states. So we look for that in Article 1, Section 9. “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” In 1976 Congress passed a law forbidding anyone working at a federal prison or within 100 miles of its borders from joining a union.
7. The Constitution protects each of our rights equally, but somehow not equally for women?
Adapted from: I’m sure the original constitution protected women’s rights just as well as men’s, but we don’t have the ability to look into its pages to see what it says. And we should look at the original intent of the authors. The courts have consistently ruled that women cannot be discriminated against by being denied the same rights and privileges as men. As Justice Brennan wrote, “Under our Constitution, the wives, mothers and daughters of America have as much right to protection against illegal invasion of their privacy as the husbands, fathers, and sons” (Griswold v Connecticut). And since then, women achieved equal pay for equal work in 1964; they were given protection from discrimination by Title VII in 1972; and they earned the right to serve in combat roles in 2015.