The 7 articles

Unit three is all about the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution was created separated into 7 articles. Each article contributing to make a complete government.

The Preamble

The Preamble is the first paragraph in the Constitution. Its goal is to introduce and explain what the Constitution will accomplish. It also describes the purpose of government (remember learning about what the purpose of government is?). It starts with the famous three words “We the people” signifying self-government, a type of government where people govern themselves.

Article 1

That’s right, the preamble is not article 1. Article 1 is the longest part of the Constitution creating only one of the three branches of government, the Legislative branch. The Legislative branch makes the laws. A way to remember: Legislative and law both start with L. The Legislative branch is made up of two parts: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Article 2

Article 2 is the second-longest part of the Constitution. It creates the Executive branch of government. The Executive branch is in charge of enforcing the laws. Remember: The Executive branch executes the laws. The Executive branch is made up of the President and the Vice President.

Article 3

Article 3 is the shortest article in the Constitution. It creates the Judicial branch of government. The Judicial branch is in charge of interpreting the laws. The Judicial branch is made up of the Supreme Court and other lower courts.

Article 4

Article 4 is all about the states. It says that states have to recognize the laws of other states. It also says that states have to help each other out.

Article 5

Article 5 is all about amending the Constitution. It says that the Constitution can be changed. It also says how it can be changed.

Article 6

Article 6 is all about the federal government. It says that the federal government is the supreme law of the land. It also says that the federal government has to follow the Constitution.

Article 7

Article 7 is all about ratifying the Constitution. It says that 9 states had to ratify the Constitution. It also says that the Constitution would take effect when 9 states ratified it.

Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. It was added to the Constitution after it was ratified. The Bill of Rights protects the rights of the people. The Bill of Rights is important because it protects the rights of the people.

Concepts used in the Constitution

The Constitution implements some important concepts to make our country work.

Separation of powers

Separation of powers divides the power of the federal government into different branches. (Executive, Legislative, Judicial) This is to prevent one branch getting to powerful and reduces the chance of dictatorship.

Checks and balances

Checks and balances says each branch has some power over the other branch. For example, Congress, which is in the Legislative branch has the power to pass laws but the President who is in the Executive branch can veto laws passed.


Federalism is a system of government where the government is divided between the federal government and state levels. The powers can be delegated, only given to the federal government, reserved, only given to the states, or concurrent, the powers are shared by the federal government and state government. If a conflict arises, federal law is supreme because of the supremacy clause in Article VI.

The Amendment Process

An Amendment is a change made to the Constitution. The Amendment Process describes how that happens. Step 1: Congress proposes an amendment by a 2/3 vote in each house or 2/3 of the legislatures ask Congress to call a constitutional convention. Step 2: 3/4 or 34 states say ok (called ratifying). The Constitution has been ratified 27 times.