Monday, October 10, 2011

Exploring the Constitution (Part 2)

Last week, we examined the Preamble, and today, we'll begin to explore the rest of the Constitution, one small chunk at a time. Article I consists of nine sections. We'll look at the first two sections today. My comments are in [square brackets like the ones surrounding these words.]

*This Constitution is reprinted from the original, with the spellings and word choices remaining as originally written.

Article I

Section 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

[This first section, simple and short as it is, establishes our Congress, and defines its members as the Senate and House of Representatives. This division was similar to British parliament, but in the U.S. our Congress is comprised of individuals elected to office, while in the UK, the members of their House of Lords are nobility and clergy.

The second section spells out the details about the House of Representatives - term limits, qualifications, etc.]

Section 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

We'll pick up the next section on Monday. 

Any questions? Comments? Opinions? Please share with us.

One of our readers provided a great resource last time - be sure to check out Hillsdale College's Introduction to the Constitution Course. It's a free series of courses, and well worth your time. Thanks for the information, Jennifer!

UPDATE: I was on a brutal deadline as I wrote this post, so now that it's over, here are some additional links. Do you know who your Representatives are? How they vote? What they stand for?

United States House of Representatives - in the upper right corner of this page, type in your zip code, and a map of your district and the name of your representative will appear. Click on the link of your representative's name, and you'll be directed to a page about him/her. You'll also find contact information there, too.

Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives - this site provides information about actual proceedings and the bills being discussed and voted upon. Each bill listed is provided as a clickable link that takes you to the actual text of the bill.

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