Teaching the Constitution of the United States
Please read your Constitution and answer these questions.
Marc Alan Urbach
But before we begin, you must understand the Declaration of Independence. So if you have not read and studied the Declaration, then your understanding of the Constitution will not be complete. Therefore take the time to read and understand the Declaration of Independence, and remember that the Declaration is our founding document and has always and will always precede the Constitution and has always and will always be attached to the Constitution. Therefore become a master with it. Then read a textbook that describes the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. This is also important for you to understand why the Constitution was created in the first place. These two documents are very much necessary before you begin reading and understanding the Constitution. But, if you will allow me to teach you the Constitution now, you will learn it very well, but I hope and pray in your time away from this lesson that you will do your duty and study the Declaration and Articles of Confederation. So let us begin anew.
The great Statesman from Pennsylvania, Singer of the Declaration and the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin motioned that the Congress by opened with daily prayer. So you too should start your lesson off with prayer. Go right ahead and say a great prayer for you, your parents, your teachers, your soldiers and your country.
Read the Preamble to the Constitution and write down any words or combination of words that you do not understand. First ask your parents the meanings of those words or phrases and then research to find the answers. “promote the general welfare” does not mean what you think it means. (modern times we live in) When you have the time and desire, memorized the Preamble. Hint, only do one section at a time, over and over, slow and steady. Important, NOT all answers are found in the Constitution, additional books will be needed or simply ask your parents for help.
Article I The Legislative Branch, The Congress
Read this Article one section of a time, slowly and ask yourself what does each section mean. If you haven’t taken out a legal pad or some type of note taking material you are not thinking properly as you are going to need to do tons of writing. Always think outside the box.
- A) What does “legislative Powers” mean? B) What does the “Congress” mean? C) What is the “Senate”? D) What is the “House of Representatives”? E) What is the building called where the Senate and House of Representatives meet?
Clause 1. A) How often are members of the House chosen? B) Who elects representatives in the House? C) What does this mean, “and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature?”–(this is a very difficult question) D) How old must you be to be a member of the House? E) How long must you be a citizen of the State where you live in? F) What does the phrase, “by adding to the whole Number of free Persons,” mean? G) What does the phrase, “three fifths of all other Persons” mean? H) Each State shall have at least _______________ Representative? I) When there is a vacancy in the House from any State, how is that Representative replaced?
- J) Who is the “Executive Authority”? K) What is the role and power of the “Speaker” of the House?
Clause 1. A) What is the “Senate”? B) How many Senators are there from each State? C) How long is the term for a Senator? D) How were Senators originally chosen? E) How are Senators chosen today? F) How many votes does each Senator have? G) Which Founding Father came up with this concept of two separate entities for the Congress?—(only can be found in a history textbook)
Clause 2. A) How often are Senators chosen? B) Why did our Founding Fathers establish this precedent?
Clause 3. A) How old must one be to be a Senator? B) How long must he/she be a citizen of the State?
Clause 4. A) Who is the Vice President? B) What is their role? C) Do they have any other powers?
Clause 6. A) The “Senate” has the “sole Power to try all Impeachments”, what does that mean? B) What does “without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present” mean? C) Who presides over this event? D) What is an “Oath”? E) Why are they important?
Clause 7. A) What is the consequence of being impeached?
Clause 1. A) Who determines the “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives”? B) How often must the Congress assemble?
Clause 3. A) What does, “Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings,” mean? B) Why did our Founders establish this precedent? D) What are the “Yeas” and “Nays” and why are they important?
Clause 4. A) What does this clause mean? (Hint, this comes directly from the Declaration of Independence) This is a very difficult one to answer.
Clause 1. A) Who pays the salaries for members of Congress? B) Do representatives have complete, one hundred percent free speech in the Congress?
Clause 1. A) What is a bill? B) What does, “for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives”? mean? C) What can the Senate do about bills?
Clause 2. A) How are bills passed into laws? B) What can the President do with bills? C) If a bill is rejected by the President, where does the bill go? D) How then does the bill become a law? E) What happens after the President receives a bill and then ten days later he neither signs it or vetoes it, what happens to the bill?
- F) What does “(Sundays excepted)” mean?
****VERY IMPORTANT**** The above, Clause 1 talks about how the President and the Congress interact with each other when it comes time for turning bills into laws. Ask yourself this question, “How does the President “Check and Balance” the Congress? How does the Congress “Check and Balance” the President.” Why are “Checks and Balances” necessary? ***Checks and Balances are crucial for you to understand the Constitution. They are all over the Constitution, FOR VERY IMPORTANT REASONS YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE LOOKING FOR WHEN THE BRANCHES CAN “CHECK AND BALANCE” ONE ANOTHER!!!!!!!
Can you think of your parents how they “check and balance” one another?
Section. 8. The POWERS OF CONGRESS, called the en______________ powers.
For each clause, write in your own words what the clause means. For example.
Clause 1. The Congress has the “Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties ( what are duties ), Imposts (what are Imposts) and Excises” (what are Excises). Now this is VERY IMPORTANT. WHAT are the TWO purposes of collecting these taxes? (it’s in clause 1) All taxes shall be uniform throughout America, means?
Clause 2. Now you’re set to go on your own. Take your time, no need to rush and put everything in your own language so you can understand it. Remember, if you do not know what a word means, you should highlight it or something and research to find the answer. There are 18 clauses or powers of Congress. This is very important that you understand the powers of Congress. You will refer back to them several times during this lesson.
Section. 9. Powers that the Congress CANNOT DO.
Clause 1. What does this clause mean? Who does it pertain to? Up to what year? How much tax or money can be levied for “each Person”?
Clause 2. What is a “Writ of Habeas Corpus”? What does this clause fully mean or tell you? Bonus History question: Which famous President suspended the right to Habeas Corpus? And why? WAS IT LEGAL & CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED?
Many of the clauses 3 through 8 are relatively easy to understand if you research the meaning of words. What does clauses 3 through 8 mean? Write down your answers in easy to understand language.
Clause 1. What is “grant Letters of Marque”? What is a “Bills of Attainder”? What is an “ex post facto law,”?
Clause 2. What can the States not do in this clause?
Clause 3. A) The States need the Consent of the Congress to do what? B) Can the States declare war with a foreign nation? This question right here is crucial for you to understand this vital power. Article 1, Section 10, clause 3: If the Congress does not do its job, what can the States do about it????
Article. II. The Executive Branch, the President
Clause 1. A) How long is the President’s term? B) How long is the term for Vice President?
Clause 2 A)“Each State shall appoint……a Number of Electors”, Who are the Electors? B) What do the Electors do? (These two questions are very difficult and can only be answered by knowing the Federalist Papers) C) How many Electors are there for each State?
Clause 3 A) What is the purpose of the Electors voting? B) Why did the Founding Fathers only want the Electors to choose the President? D) What did the Founders think of the lower intelligence person in America? What did they fear? E) Why did the Founders greatly fear a “democracy”? F) What is a “democracy”? G) The Founders established a “republic”, What is a “republic”? How is a republic & democracy different?
Clause 5. A) What is a “natural born Citizen? (very difficult, because the experts disagree) B) What is the minimum age to become President? C) How many years must a President be a citizen of the United States?
Clause 6. A) If the President cannot carry out his duties, who becomes President?
Clause 8. A) What is an Oath? B) What is an Affirmation? C) In your own words, what does the President’s Oath mean to you? D) Why are “Oaths” important?
Clause 1. A) Today the President is “Commander in Chief of the “Army and Navy” and what other branches of the military? B) “The President shall be Commander in Chief” and “of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;” means what?
Go back to Article 1, Section 8, clause 15 and clause 16. Read them very, very carefully and then answer this QUESTION—-WHO has the authority to “call forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.”? QUESTION—-WHO has the authority to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia? NOW DO YOU COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND, Section 2. Clause 1., question B) Make sure you write down the correct answer. NOW YOU KNOW WHY IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO READ SLOWLY AND ASK QUESTIONS WHEN YOU DO NOT 100 PERCENT UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE READING!!!
History question—In 1957 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower “Federalized” the Arkansas National Guard, (meaning he placed the State National Guard under his control) to control the violence erupting over whites not allowing black students into the all white Little Rock High School, Was his action legal and Constitutional? Your answer? BUT use your knowledge from above. Does the President have the Constitutional power to take control of a States National Guard? Fully explain your answer.
Clause 2. A) What does the President need from the Senate to make Treaties with another nation? B) What does Advice and Consent mean? What does 2/3rds refer to? B) Who can the President appoint? C) How does the Senate “Check and Balance” the President? A). B). and C) are referred to when one branch “Checks and Balances” the other Branch. D) In your own words what does this mean?
Clause 3. A) We’ll have to get back with this one, it is very difficult to answer because of what is the real meaning of “Recess of the Senate.”
Clause 1. A) In your own words, what is the “State of the Union” speech about?
- B) THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT—-WHAT does “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”, mean? C) What “Laws”?
Clause 1. A) The President and Vice President can be “Impeachment”, what does that mean? B) For what reasons can the President and V.P. be Impeached?
- C) What is a “high Crime”? D) What is a “Misdemeanor”?
Even I have to go back and find where it says who can Impeach the President. No one is perfect. ( I know the answer, but I’ll have to find where it is in the document)
Article III. The Judiciary, The Supreme Court, or also known as the SCOTUS