Q:

What is the purpose of the Constitution?

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Quick Answer

The main purpose of the U.S. Constitution is to establish the basic rights of all American citizens and provide direction on how the government should work. The Constitution also provides the framework for law and order and describes the roles of the government's federal judiciary branch, legislative branch and executive branch.

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What is the purpose of the Constitution?
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The Constitution officially took effect on Sept. 17, 1787, during the Philadelphia Convention and has been amended 27 times since its adoption. The first 10 amendments of the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights.

The U.S. Constitution consists of a preamble, seven original articles and 27 amendments. The first three articles of the Constitution define the role of the president as the head of the government, the Supreme Court as the administrator of the judicial branch and the role of the bicameral Congress within the legislative branch of the government.

The Constitution and its amendments define civil liberties, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble and the freedom to petition, which are rights that citizens continue to enjoy. The Constitution also provides citizens the right to possess firearms, the right to a public trial for criminal offenses, the right to question unusual punishment and the right to question property seizures and arrests without a warrant.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why is it so difficult to amend the Constitution?

    A:

    The Constitution is difficult to amend because it requires a supermajority of either members of Congress or a supermajority of state legislatures to propose a new amendment for ratification. Even after acquiring the requisite two-thirds of either group to propose the amendment, it then has to be ratified by 75 percent of the states, either by their legislatures or state Constitutional conventions.

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  • Q:

    Why is the Constitution called a "living document?"

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    The Constitution of the United States is referred to as a "living document" because it the architects of the document intended for it to be adapted by future generations. It is because it is adaptable, that amendments could be ratified, or added to it.

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  • Q:

    What were some pros and cons of ratifying the constitution?

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    The Constitution's framers intended to alleviate many of the inefficiencies of the Articles of Confederation, but in so doing, they created a system that many felt threatened the sovereignty of the states and the freedom of the American people. Those who favored ratification of the Constitution were known as federalists; those who opposed its ratification were known as anti-federalists.

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  • Q:

    What is the main purpose of the Bill of Rights?

    A:

    The main purpose of the U.S. Bill of Rights is to define the civil liberties of American citizens. It refers to the first 10 amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and it was introduced in 1789 to guarantee the protection of the basic rights that citizens continue to enjoy.

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