Q:

What duties are given to the Vice President by the Constitution?

A:

The main constitutional duty of the United States Vice President is to immediately succeed the Presidency in case the President dies, steps down or becomes incapacitated. The Vice President also functions as the U.S. Senate President, tasked to cast the deciding ballot in the event of a draw.

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Despite being the presiding officer in the Senate, the Vice President rarely attends Congressional sessions. A senator is usually elected by the Upper House to serve in the Vice President's stead. Aside from those mandated in the Constitution, the Vice President may also assume other responsibilities, albeit unofficially. Upon the discretion of the President, the Vice President may be involved in framing domestic and foreign policies.

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  • Q:

    How was the Constitution ratified?

    A:

    The U.S. Constitution was ratified through votes in the individual state legislatures. According to Article VII of the Constitution, it would go into effect when nine of the 13 state legislatures approved the document.

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    How can the Constitution be changed?

    A:

    Under Article Five, the Constitution can be amended in two ways: through a two-thirds majority vote in Congress or by a two-thirds vote of a national convention at the request of at least two-thirds of the states. To become operative, three-quarters of the states, or state ratifying conventions, must ratify.

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    What is an unwritten constitution?

    A:

    An unwritten constitution encompasses ideas and processes that have come about through custom and precedent, although they are not expressly stated in the Constitution. The ideas and processes that are used in an unwritten constitution are recognized as a necessary part of the American government. These processes are typically used so often that many people fail to realize that they are not part of the Constitution.

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  • Q:

    What are the advantages of a written constitution?

    A:

    A written constitution clearly defines the division of powers within a government, the powers and limitations of each branch therein, and the rights of the citizens at large. Written constitutions also allow literate citizens the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their government's laws and infrastructure, increasing the power of individuals.

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