I have not read the Constitution. When I was a kid, we were responsible for memorizing the Preamble, which I did (minutes before I had to recite it), but I must say, they are some powerful words. It’s incredible that so much could be covered in 52 words:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.
So other than a really empowering opening, what else we got going on in there? Let’s start with my favorite parts from Article I:
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years – this age minimum, set for members of the House, means there’s a chance that AOC will not remain the youngest person ever to serve in Congress.
The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative – we have approximately 325 million people in the United States and 435 representatives in the House; that’s a ratio of 1:747,126 which means it’s time for an upgrade. Fun fact: before the first census in 1790, the states were apportioned representatives and Virginia had the largest representation with ten.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, – in the beginning, ‘We, the People’ didn’t choose ‘Them, the Senators.’ I never knew that citizen voting wasn’t a thing in the 18th century.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, – there was a time in our nation’s history when a single meeting of the House and Senate was considered sufficient to do business. <mind blown>
They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; – am I understanding this correctly? That Senators and Representatives have a type of immunity? So misdemeanors, ok, but high crimes? That’s a no.
Still on the books (unamended): the President doesn’t have to sign bill in order for it to become law. If the bill is sent to the Commander in Chief and ten days pass without return or comment, it becomes law.
Funding to ‘provide for the common defense,’ i.e, the military, was not supposed to surpass two years. Although maintenance of a Navy was permissible.
Still shocking (amended): at the time of its ratification, the Constitution included a provision preventing the abolishment of slavery prior to 1808.