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James Madison of Virginia is historically known for being one of the Founding Fathers of the United States as well as being the individual who drafted the United States Constitution. The Constitution, which was adopted in 1789, is historically and politically the most significant document to be written. However, it is not the original Constitution of the Land. Prior to the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, the structure and role of government were implemented under the Articles of Confederation. However, the Articles were not sufficed. It ended up weakening the structure of government in which caused much disarray in the Nation. Under the Articles, the role of government created disorder on both the federal and state level. Its failures included a weak centralized government, consisted of only a unicameral legislature and held that Congress did not hold the power to regulate commerce. In the effort to restore the Nation, the Founding Fathers began drafting revisions to strengthen the Articles in the effort to bring back order to the government. However, they ended up replacing the documents in its entirety.
The new constitution proposal laid out a new framework of government. It would serve as a vivid organizational guide to establish a new system of government. The Framers constructed the constitution on two basic principles: to establish the purpose of government and to establish a government that is limited in power. However, it is the structure of the constitution that is most important. It is divided into three separate parts – the preamble, the articles, and the amendments – with each having a concise rationale for its purpose.
The Constitution begins with the Preamble. It is a short opening sentence that gives the justification as to why the constitution was written along with the six goals of government. It informs the American people that all persons hold the power of government and that government’s sole purpose is to serve them. Next, the Seven Articles, establish the functions of government. First, in Articles 1-3, it outlines the three branches of government and the responsibilities each branch is to uphold. To ensure that each of the three branches has limited power, the system of checks and balances would be implemented to prevent a branch from holding too much power. Next, Article 4, explains the relations between States. Then, Article 5 states the amendment process of the Constitution. Article 6 entails the Debt, Supremacy and Oath clauses. Lastly, Article 7 explains the Ratification of the Constitution. The final part upholds the ratified Amendments to the Constitution. Currently, it consists of twenty-seven total amendments. The first ten are referred to as the Bill of Rights which are the basic liberties that are guaranteed to all individuals.
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