The Constitution!

The other day I decided to read the Constitution of the USA. I don’t know what compelled me to do this, other than the fact that I stumbled upon it online. I don’t have anything specific to say about it except that I’m amazed at how they thought of nearly every contingency. For example, the House can Impeach the President, but the Senate conducts the hearings. Thus neither house has complete power. Also, they can’t change the President’s salary while he’s in office in an attempt to coerce him. Below I will just mention little things I noticed as I read it.

Article 1

Section 1

Here I was reminded of what I learned in AP History class in High school – with respect to figuring out how many representatives a state would get, slaves were counted as 3/5ths of a person. There’s nothing quite as impactful in realizing the dehumanizing effects of slavery as reading that they were only considered 3/5 of a person. It also shows a compromise whereby the southerners wanted more representatives on account of their slaves, even though they couldn’t vote and didn’t have other basic rights.

Section 9

With hopes that slavery would fizzle out, but not wanting to outrage the South, they put a clause into the constitution that the issue would not be revisited until 1808. The value of blacks to the new country? A tax of $10 per person.

The last paragraph says there can be no titles of nobility in the US – no Knighting or anything like that.

Article 2

I didn’t see anything giving Bush the powers he claims now, but I may have missed something.

Article 3

Section 3

If you fight against US you are guilty of treason. Thus the “American Taliban” has no special rights. What ever happened to him anyway?

Article 5

No amendments can be made to Article 1 section 9 with respect to slavery until 1808.

Amendment 14

You can’t stop blacks from voting. Interestingly enough, the voting age is 21 and, as we know, limited to males. Section 3 also keeps previous confederates from joining Congress.
Amendment 16

Income tax can be levied!

Amentment 23

People of DC now have congressmen!

Amendment 26

A reaction to the Vietnam war, the voting age was lowered to 18.

As a bonus, the last page clarified the roles of some names of peole I am always hearing in the news.


Ted Stevens – President Pro Tempore (president of senate when Cheney isn’t there)

Bil Frist – Majority Leader

Harry Reid – Minority Leader

House of Representatives

J. Dennis Hastert – The Speaker

Interestingly, both houses of congress have chaplains! Barry Black for the Senate and Rev Daniel P Coughlin for the House.