The Important Documents of the United States of America Essay

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Written by the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress in July, 1776. The document states the reasons for the colonies announcing independence from the King of England. The preamble explains why the colonies had claimed independence and announced they would be known as a single nation - The United States. The declaration goes on to say that all men are equal and that all men have various basic rights - life, liberty, pursuit of happiness - that the government can’t dictate. If the government does interfere with said rights, the people of the nation should rise and rid of their government. Then, listed are 27 abuses done by King George III. The document states that the colonies tried to end things peacefully, but ultimately had nothing else to do but declare independence. The colonies would no longer be associated with England and be known as The United States of America.

The Articles of Confederation essentially created a central, national government and laid guidelines as to how it would function. It named the allied colonies the United States of America and gave all states power, liberty, self-rule and other authorities. It suggested that all states join in common defense in order to protect each others’ liberties and granted U.S. citizens the ability to move freely between states. It listed national interests and gave Congress members free speech. It restricted states from allying or warring with each other without acknowledging Congress and gave state legislatures the power to select officers. It made apparent that each state had to pay money in accordance to he size of the state along with other national expenses such as war debts and treasury issues. It listed Congress’ numerous powers and laid guidelines for committees when Congress was not in session. It stated the specifications of inducting a state into the Union and said that the United States is responsible for any and all debts acquired before the drafting of the Articles. Lastly, it was mandatory for states to follow rules and laws set by Congress. The Articles were eventually replaced with the Constitution.

The Preamble of the Constitution establishes what is probably the most important notion of American government that all government power comes from the nation’s people; “of the people, by the people, for the people”. Article 1 states that only Congress - made of the House and Senate - has the power to make laws. It also states that voters can determine who will join the House of Representatives and says that anyone who can legally vote for state elections can vote for a U.S. Representative. It also lists qualifications for a Representative, the number of seats in the House according to state populous, and ability for Representatives to choose a House Speaker. Article 2 grants the president executive power, establishes the Electoral College and lets Congress decide presidential election dates. It lists requirements for becoming the president as well, states that the president receives a pre-set salary, spells out the oath of office, explains the president’s responsibilities, and mentions impeachment. Article 3 sets up the Supreme Court and acknowledges Congress’ ability to create lower courts. It lists the various cases courts can handle and affirms a right to trial by jury, and also implies the power to declare a law unconstitutional. Article 4 concerns states rights. It requires that one state’s judicial and legislative decisions must be adhered by all other states, states that all citizens in all states have the same benefits, and states how a state can…