Both Officers and Enlisted Soldiers all swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic…”. However, many do not even know or understand the very Constitution that they swore to uphold. With the debate on gun control ever more visible, I think that it is important, more now that ever, to take the time to review and reflect on the sacred document which makes our country so great. It is extremely important for us as Soldiers and/or Officers to understand what it is that we put on our uniforms for every day. While I challenge you to read it in its entirety, here is my extremely brief United States Constitution Overview.
The Preamble: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The Articles of the Constitution and What They Cover:
Article I – The Legislative Branch
Article II – The Presidency
Article III – The Judiciary
Article IV – The States
Article V – The Amendment Process
Article VI – Legal Status of the Constitution
Article VII. – Ratification
The First 10 Amendments (Bill of Rights):
1. “FREEDOM OF RELIGION” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
2. “RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS” A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
3. “QUARTERING SOLDIERS” No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
4. “RIGHT AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND SEIZURE” The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
5. “RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT” No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
6. “RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL” In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
7. “RIGHT TO TRIAL BY JURY” In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
8. “BAILS, FINES and PUNISHMENTS” Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
9. “GUARANTEES THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE” The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
10. “STATES POWER” 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.
FINAL THOUGHTS: 39 of our Founding Father signed the US Constitution on September 17, 1787. There are 27 total amendments in total, and again I urge you to read and understand them all. However “imperfect” the US Constitution may be, it is the greatest imperfect document of its kind and has stood the test of time to allow America to the greatest country…all due to the men and women who sacrifice their lives to uphold it.
Do you have any questions? Please post them below, and I will do my best to provide an answer.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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5 thoughts on “A Brief Overview of the US Constitution”
I must give a big AMEN to this very important post. The United States Constitution is the most important document our country has. In these perilous times, we must hold it dearer than ever.
Yes, terrorism has swept the world, but we cannot give up our rights and liberties in trying to control the beast. If we do, we are no better than they.
It makes me glad to see and hear military born and bred memorizing and quoting our Constitution. It makes me sleep sounder at night knowing that another Pol Pot or Hitler cannot sweep in and take our rights away using our military to do so.
Thank you men and women of the Armed Forces for standing true to the Constitution. God will bless you!
I believe the Constitution is the glue that keeps our country together. It is the most important document we have, and it should be followed and honored, no matter what.
I agree that we need to hold onto this more than ever. I swore to support and defend this against ALL enemies. I feel like some people forget that it means anywhere there are enemies, not just the middle east.
While several of the amendments are the subject of ongoing discussion, the Ninth Amendment (often referred to as the Silent Ninth Amendment) is of mystery to many people. The Ninth Amendment was incorporated into the document as a protective measure for the people, by limiting the governments power to limit rights. “Enumerated rights” refers to rights that our Founding Fathers felt were understood, precluding the need to specify them in the Bill of Rights, and that no government could deny. This amendment was the basis for two highly visible Supreme Court rulings, one regarding privacy, Griswold v. Connecticut, and the other regarding abortion, Roe v. Wade.