Welcome to the Department of Defense Constitution Day

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1 Welcome to the Department of Defense Constitution Day Knowing what is in the U.S. Constitution and why the Constitution is relevant to us today is fundamental to our being able to defend it. As federal civil servants supporting the Department of Defense, we have a special obligation to understand and appreciate the U.S. Constitution and the role we each play in providing 'for the common defense'.

2 Our Constitution is a remarkable document. It s short, it s only a few paragraphs long, but it has withstood the test of time. Compare that to the recent effort of the European Union to develop a charter and the difficulty they had. Amendments to their charter were circulated to the member nations. It was over 400 pages of text. It was so unwieldy and difficult for citizens there to read and understand. They ended up not approving the modifications. On the contrary, our Constitution is one that everyone can read and understand. It is as important today as when it was first published. And we have to make sure that all Americans-- young and old, naturalized or born here, that all of us know the content and the history of our great Constitution. We may not know some of the vernacular or the words, but the concepts are still applicable to our daily lives as American citizens.

3 Our U.S. Constitution is not only enduring, but also evolving over time, and very much alive in the 21 st Century. It expresses the core values of our republic and guides our use of national power in the application of democratic principles, while remaining adaptable as appropriate to enable every citizen to secure the blessings of liberty in our changing world. Clearly, our Constitution remains relevant to the governance of the United States of America in the modern world. -Dr. S.C. Chu

4 The U.S. Constitution serves as the blueprint for the Federal Government and is the supreme law of the land. Supreme Law of the Land Article VI This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof, and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding Federal / State Relationship Article IV The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion, and on Application of the Legislature, or the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against Domestic Violence

5 Reserves Power Article X The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Can Be Amended Article V The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all Intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress

6 The Constitution recognizes and specifies three branches of government, the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch. The idea of separation of powers is most frequently associated with the writings of John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu. Writing in the 17 th Century, John Locke stated that the functions of government should be divided. He identified three powers of government; legislative, executive and federative (foreign relations). Writing shortly before the American Revolution, French political thinker, Baron de Montesquieu, believed that government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another. These ideas inspired the system of branches of government, with checks and balances, established in our constitution. There are checks and balances to provide separation between the Federal and State Government and the Legislative Branch, Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch of Government.

7 The Constitution is a document still in the making Declaration of Independence 1776 Declaration of Independence 1783 Treaty of Paris 1787 Constitutional Convention 1788 Constitution Ratified 1791 Bill of Rights Added Amendments Added Key Amendments have broadened the definition of citizenship And protected important rights Constitution Signed Bill of Rights XIV XV XVII XIX XXIII XXIV XXVI

8 The First Amendment The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble and the freedom to petition the government. The 14th Amendment The 14th Amendment requires the states to provide equal protection under the law to all persons

9 The U.S. Constitution is a social contract between the governed (people) and the government. Social contract theory is a framework for analyzing individuals and their governments, which is described in the writings of philosophers John Locke, Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It describes government as a social contract between individuals and the state, in which individuals give up their absolute freedoms in exchange for collective benefits

10 James Madison Papers includes 12,000 letters, notes, legislation, and other documents from the man considered the Father of the Constitution. These documents ( ), including an autobiography, help illuminate Madison s pivotal role in the Constitutional Convention as well as his nine years in the House of Representatives, his tenure as Secretary of State, and his two terms as our fourth President. Interesting Fact As a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, while secretary of state, and in his personal correspondence with Thomas Jefferson, James Madison feared constantly that unauthorized people would seek to read his private and public correspondence. To deter such intrusions, he resorted to a variety of codes and ciphers.

11 The Bill of Rights On September 25, 1789, the First Federal Congress of the United States proposed to the state legislatures twelve amendments to the Constitution. The first two, concerning the number of constituents for each Representative and the compensation of Congressmen, were not ratified.* Articles three through twelve, known as the Bill of Rights became the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution and contained guarantees of essential rights and liberties omitted in the crafting of the original document. The Bill of Rights is the section of the Constitution that clearly defines certain rights possessed by citizens of the United States of America. On June 8, 1789, James Madison introduced his proposed amendments to the Constitution, which would eventually become known as the Bill of Rights. Additional debate related to these proposed amendments can be located in this collection by searching on the words "amendments constitution" in the First Congress.

12 The U.S. Constitution is a social contract between the governed and the government. It serves as the blueprint for the Federal Government and is the supreme law of the land. Supreme Law of the Land Article VI This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof, and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding Federal / State Relationship Article IV The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion, and on Application of the Legislature, or the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against Domestic Violence

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