United States Constitution

United States Constitution

United States
This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the United States
Federal government
  • Constitution
  • Taxation
Legislature
  • Congress
    • House
      • Speaker
      • Party leaders
      • Congressional districts
    • Senate
      • President pro tempore
      • Party leaders
Executive
  • President
  • Vice President
  • Cabinet
  • Federal agencies
Judiciary
  • Federal courts
    • Supreme Court
    • Courts of Appeals
    • District Courts
Elections
  • Presidential elections
  • Midterm elections
  • Off-year elections
Political parties
  • Democratic
  • Republican
  • Third parties
Federalism
  • State government
    • Governors
    • Legislatures (List)
    • State courts
  • Local government
  • Other countries
  • Atlas

Politics portal

The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. The first three Articles of the Constitution establish the rules and separate powers of the three branches of the federal government: a legislature, the bicameral Congress; an executive branch led by the President; and a federal judiciary headed by the Supreme Court. The last four Articles frame the principle of federalism. The Tenth Amendment confirms its federal characteristics.

The Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and ratified by conventions in eleven states. It went into effect on March 4, 1789. The first ten constitutional amendments ratified by three-fourths of the states in 1791 are known as the Bill of Rights. The Constitution has been amended seventeen additional times (for a total of 27 amendments) and its principles are applied in courts of law by judicial review.

The Constitution guides American law and political culture. Its writers composed the first constitution of its kind incorporating recent developments in constitutional theory with multiple traditions, and their work influenced later writers of national constitutions. It has been amended over time and it is supplemented and interpreted by a large body of United States constitutional law. Recent impulses for reform center on concerns for extending democracy and balancing the federal budget.

Read more about United States Constitution:  Ratification, Original Text, The Amendments, Judicial Review, Civic Religion, Worldwide, Criticisms

Famous quotes containing the words united states, united, states and/or constitution:

    In the United States, though power corrupts, the expectation of power paralyzes.
    John Kenneth Galbraith (b. 1908)

    There was no speculation so promising, or at the same time so praisworthy, as the United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company.
    Charles Dickens (1812–1870)

    If the Soviet Union can give up the Brezhnev Doctrine for the Sinatra Doctrine, the United States can give up the James Monroe Doctrine for the Marilyn Monroe Doctrine: Let’s all go to bed wearing the perfume we like best.
    Carlos Fuentes (b. 1928)

    They’re two good old friends of mine. I call them Constitution and The Bill of Rights. A most dependable team for long journeys. Then I’ve got another one called Missouri Compromise. And a Supreme Court—a fine, dignified horse, though you have to push him on every now and then.
    Dan Totheroh (1895–1976)