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What are the three parts of the Constitution?


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The three parts of the Constitution are the preamble, the seven articles, and the amendments. The preamble sets forth the purpose of the Constitution. The articles define the country's governing structures. The amendments present the Bill of Rights and deal with voting rights, presidential succession, terms of office, and other issues.

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The Constitution of the United States is organized in such a way that it establishes the document's ultimate purpose, as set out in the preamble: the structure of the Federal government and how the Constitution can be changed, the seven articles, and the actual changes made to the Constitution by way of amendments. The first amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights.

From the preamble to the amendments, one can see a move from the general to the particular. The preamble deals with the broad purposes of the Constitution, such as the establishment of justice, “domestic Tranquility,” and the promotion of the “general Welfare”. The seven articles are more specific, dealing as they do with the precise structure of the federal government and the mechanisms for amending the Constitution.

The amendments themselves are more specific still, showing what changes have been made to the original text. Taken together, these changes provide us with a mini history lesson, giving us an indication as to the social and political changes that have taken place throughout the course of American history and which are embodied in the text of the federal government's founding document. The amendments also show us how and to what extent the general principles outlined in the Constitution's preamble have been realized in practice.

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The Constitution of the United States is traditionally divided into three parts: the preamble, the seven articles, and the twenty-seven ratified amendments. Another division is possible between the first ten amendments, collectively called the Bill of Rights, and the following seventeen. The amendments in the Bill of Rights were drafted together in 1789 and ratified together, after more than two years of intense debate, in 1791.

The three main parts of the Constitution are strikingly different in length, with the one-sentence Preamble being by far the briefest:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

To modern readers, the preamble to the Constitution might seem like a mere formality. However, this single sentence is vital for two principal reasons. First, it was by no means a matter of course to have a national constitution at all. The Constitution of the United States is the oldest written constitution still in force and has served as a model for other countries which have adopted similar legal frameworks. The mother country, Great Britain, does not have a written constitution, though it does have a Bill of Rights, on which the United States Bill of Rights is partly based.

In the second place, the preamble established a vital principle with the first three words. The ultimate authority behind the Constitution was not to be Congress or the president, but "We the People." While the Declaration of Independence separates the new republic from what it describes as the tyranny of the British government, the Constitution is largely devoted to the precise description and limitation of the powers of the new American government, to ensure that it does not become equally tyrannical.

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Let's take a quick tour through the Constitution of the United States. This document, which lays out the foundational principles and governing structures of the country, begins with the Preamble and its famous phrase “We the People of the United States....” The Preamble sets forth the reasons for the Constitution: unity, justice, peace, defense, welfare, and liberty.

The document then presents seven articles that deal with the primary structures and procedures of the federal government. The Articles discuss the legislative branch (Congress, including its divisions, rules, privileges, law-making procedures, restrictions, and powers); the executive branch (the President and Vice President and their powers and duties); the judicial branch (federal courts and their powers); relationships among the states (including citizens' rights across state borders and procedures for new states and territories); the process of amending the Constitution; issues of debt, oaths of office, and supremacy; and the Constitution's ratification.

The Constitution's final section consists of twenty-seven amendments. The first ten are called the Bill of Rights, and they guarantee US citizens freedoms like speech, religion, assembly, press, jury trial, protection from searches and seizure, and owning and bearing weapons. Other amendments involve voting rights, prohibition (and its repeal), the succession of the president, terms of office, and income tax. The Constitution can always continue to grow, as more amendments may be added in the future.

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The United States Constitution was ratified in 1788 and enacted in 1789. It is divided into the following three parts:

I. Preamble: The Preamble is brief and serves to state the purpose of the Constitution.

II. Articles: There are seven articles which lay out basic information about how the government will function. They include the responsibilities of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, as well as the process for amending the Constitution.

III. Amendments: There are now 27 amendments to the Constitution. The first ten amendments were added in 1791 and comprise the Bill of Rights. The Constitution was last amended in 1992 with the 27th Amendment, which stipulated that if Congress passes a law that gives itself a raise, it will not actually be implemented until after the next election cycle.

The Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress in 1972 but was not ratified by enough states to become law.

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