ANALYSIS, AND INTERPRETATION - CENTENNIAL EDITION - INTERIM
US Congress S. DOC. 112-9 -
This annotated version of the Constitution is 2862 pages long. We are providing a link to this version for those readers who would like to take a significantly deeper dive into the Constitution and Constitutional Law throughout this course. It provides legal analysis and interpretation based on Supreme Court case law.
The US Constitution
The US constitution, the DNA for the federal government and the relationship of citizens to their government, has been remarkable in providing a fairly stable framework to weather the past 225 years and achieve remarkable success in creating a government that has seen peaceful national elections and succession of political power. During this time the United States has become a global superpower and the standard of living of our citizens has been unprecedented. However, the current political environment highlights the shortcomings of the political system that has emerged in the twenty first century. The political process, defined by the constitution, has been corrupted to the point that it is an existential threat to the US. Culture wars, congressional paralysis if not obstructionism, polarized electorate, global challenges, surveillance state, concern regard growing national debt, growing inequality, money’s impact on political election have all contributed to growing distrust of the federal government.
More and more Americans have been questioning if our political system (Tax) is rigged. The raising inequality and polarization have been a source of great concern to the future of our nation. Americans are viewing their government as removed and not addressing their needs. The role of citizen, claimed by Judge Brandis to be “the most important public office in the country” has been relegated to consumers of increasing election cycle messaging aimed to potentiate “mutual animosities”. It can be different. The James Madison Projects is inspired by the belief that We the People Can do better. By focusing on the vision that animated our founders and has energized Americans to achieve greatness.
American society in which all Americans have access to achieving their full potential for happiness in a safe manner and the political and legal system is guided by the provisions of the US constitution.
To provide a framework for civic engagement based on an understanding of the US Constitution in order to provide a political voice for Americans and continue to progress toward the vision of the founders of the United States and the citizens who established our nation.
Civil and respectful discussions motivated by a desire to achieve a more perfect union.
On this site, constitutional experts interact with each other to explore the Constitution’s history and what it means today. For each provision of the Constitution, scholars of different perspectives discuss what they agree upon, and what they disagree about. These experts were selected with the guidance of leaders of two prominent constitutional law organizations—The American Constitution Society and The Federalist Society. This project is sponsored by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
The United States Constitution
The United States Constitution is an amazing document. A bold experiment in democracy more than 200 years ago, it has proved both stable and flexible enough to survive and remain effective in a world totally different from the one in which it was written.
The Constitution has three main functions. First, it creates a national government consisting of a legislative, an executive, and a judicial branch, with a system of checks and balances among the three branches. Second, it divides power between the federal government and the states. And third, it protects various individual liberties of American citizens.
The Constitution’s framework owes much to the history that led to its drafting. The limitations placed on the federal government and each of its branches were a reaction to the tyranny of British rule, and especially the tyranny of the single monarch. Yet the breadth of the national government’s powers was a correction to the weak government of the Articles of Confederation (the short-lived system before the present constitution), that had proved incapable of forging the thirteen original states into one nation.