The Seven Articles of the Constitution

The Seven Articles of the Constitution

There are seven articles, or sections, in the main body of the Constitution. Together they spell out how the new government is organized as well as how it interacts with the states, citizens and people of the country.

Article One
Article One establishes Congress, the legislative branch of the national government. It makes the laws for the country. Article One divides Congress into two sections, or houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. It describes the powers and duties given to Congress as well as its limits.

Article Two
Article Two establishes the Office of the President, the executive branch of the national government. The President is the head of state, or head of the national government. It describes the jobs, powers and limits of the President, Vice President and other officials in the executive branch. The President is Commander in Chief of the United States’ Armed Forces. He has the power, with the agreement of two-thirds of the Senate, to make treaties with other countries. It is also the President’s duty to make sure the laws of the nation are upheld.

Article Three
Article Three describes the judicial branch of the national government. The Judicial branch is the court system that interprets the law. In the United States, the judicial branch includes the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts established by Congress.

Article Four
Article 4 describes the responsibilities and duties the states have to each other and the federal government. It also sets forth the responsibilities the federal government has to the states.

Article Five
Article Five explains the process by which the Constitution can be amended, or changed.

Article Six
Article Six establishes the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. It binds all officers, be they state representatives or U.S. senators or judges, to abide by the Constitution. It further explains that in the event of a conflict between a state law and a federal one, the federal law will prevail. Additionally, Article 6 states that any debts or engagements that the country had before adopting the Constitution are still valid.

Article Seven
Article Seven states the number of states needed to ratify the Constitution. Anticipating that Rhode Island, who had not sent a representative to the convention and perhaps other states, might not ratify, delegates decided that the Constitution would go into effect as soon as nine states (two-thirds rounded up) ratified it. Once ratified by this minimum number of states, it was expected that the proposed Constitution would be followed by the nine or more that signed. It would not cover the four or fewer states that might not have signed.