President of the United States
The president of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. In contemporary times, the president is looked upon as one of the world's most powerful political figures as the leader of the only remaining global superpower; the role includes responsibility for the world's most expensive military, which has the second largest nuclear arsenal. The president leads the nation with the largest economy by nominal GDP; the president possesses international hard and soft power. Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, it vests the executive power of the United States in the president. The power includes the execution and enforcement of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic and judicial officers, concluding treaties with foreign powers with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. The president directs the foreign and domestic policies of the United States, takes an active role in promoting his policy priorities to members of Congress. In addition, as part of the system of checks and balances, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to sign or veto federal legislation; the power of the presidency has grown since its formation, as has the power of the federal government as a whole. Through the Electoral College, registered voters indirectly elect the president and vice president to a four-year term; this is the only federal election in the United States, not decided by popular vote. Nine vice presidents became president by virtue of a president's intra-term resignation. Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 sets three qualifications for holding the presidency: natural-born U. S. citizenship.
The Twenty-second Amendment precludes any person from being elected president to a third term. In all, 44 individuals have served 45 presidencies spanning 57 full four-year terms. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms, so he is counted twice, as both the 22nd and 24th president. Donald Trump of New York is the current president of the United States, he assumed office on January 20, 2017. In July 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, the Thirteen Colonies, acting jointly through the Second Continental Congress, declared themselves to be 13 independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. Recognizing the necessity of coordinating their efforts against the British, the Continental Congress began the process of drafting a constitution that would bind the states together. There were long debates on a number of issues, including representation and voting, the exact powers to be given the central government. Congress finished work on the Articles of Confederation to establish a perpetual union between the states in November 1777 and sent it to the states for ratification.
Under the Articles, which took effect on March 1, 1781, the Congress of the Confederation was a central political authority without any legislative power. It could make its own resolutions and regulations, but not any laws, could not impose any taxes or enforce local commercial regulations upon its citizens; this institutional design reflected how Americans believed the deposed British system of Crown and Parliament ought to have functioned with respect to the royal dominion: a superintending body for matters that concerned the entire empire. The states were out from under any monarchy and assigned some royal prerogatives to Congress; the members of Congress elected a President of the United States in Congress Assembled to preside over its deliberation as a neutral discussion moderator. Unrelated to and quite dissimilar from the office of President of the United States, it was a ceremonial position without much influence. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris secured independence for each of the former colonies.
With peace at hand, the states each turned toward their own internal affairs. By 1786, Americans found their continental borders besieged and weak and their respective economies in crises as neighboring states agitated trade rivalries with one another, they witnessed their hard currency pouring into foreign markets to pay for imports, their Mediterranean commerce preyed upon by North African pirates, their foreign-financed Revolutionary War debts unpaid and accruing interest. Civil and political unrest loomed. Following the successful resolution of commercial and fishing disputes between Virginia and Maryland at the Mount Vernon Conference in 1785, Virginia called for a trade conference between all the states, set for September 1786 in Annapolis, with an aim toward resolving further-reaching interstate commercial antagonisms; when the convention failed for lack of attendance due to suspicions among most of the other states, Alexander Hamilton led the Annapolis delegates in a call for a convention to offer revisions to the Articles, to be held the next spring in Philadelphia.
Prospects for the next convention appeared bleak until James Madison and Edmund Randolph succeeded in securing George Washington's attendance to Philadelphia as a delegate for Virginia. When the Constitutional Convention convened in May 1787, the 12 state delegations in attendance (Rh
LexisNexis Group is a corporation providing computer-assisted legal research as well as business research and risk management services. During the 1970s, LexisNexis pioneered the electronic accessibility of legal and journalistic documents; as of 2006, the company has the world's largest electronic database for legal and public-records related information. LexisNexis is owned by RELX Group; the story of LexisNexis starts in western Pennsylvania in 1956, when attorney John Horty began to explore the use of CALR technology in support of his work on comparative hospital law at the University of Pittsburgh Health Law Center. In 1965, Horty's pioneering work inspired the Ohio State Bar Association to develop its own separate CALR system, Ohio Bar Automated Research. In 1967, the OSBA signed a contract with Data Corporation, a local defense contractor, to build OBAR based on the OSBA's written specifications. Data proceeded to implement OBAR on Data Central, an interactive full-text search system developed in 1964 as Recon Central to help U.
S. Air Force intelligence analysts search text summaries of the contents of aerial and satellite reconnaissance photographs. In 1968, paper manufacturer Mead Corporation purchased Data Corporation for $6 million to gain control of its inkjet printing technology. Mead hired the Arthur D. Little firm to study the business possibilities for the Data Central technology. Arthur D. Little dispatched a team of consultants to Ohio led by H. Donald Wilson. Mead asked for a practicing lawyer on the team, so the team included Jerome Rubin, a Harvard-trained attorney with 20 years of experience; the resulting study concluded that the nonlegal market was nonexistent, the legal market had potential, OBAR needed to be rebuilt to profitably exploit that market. At the time, OBAR searches took up to five hours to complete if more than one user was online, its original terminals were noisy Teletypes with slow transmission rates of 10 characters per second. OBAR had quality control issues. Wilson and Rubin were installed as president and vice president.
A year Mead bought out the OSBA's interests in the OBAR project, OBAR disappears from the historical record after that point. Wilson was reluctant to implement his own study's recommendation to abandon the OBAR/Data Central work to date and start over. In September 1971, Mead relegated Wilson to vice chairman of the board and elevated Rubin to president of MDC. Rubin promptly pushed the legacy Data Central technology back to Mead Corporation. Under a newly organized division, Mead Technical Laboratories, Data Central continued to operate as a service bureau for nonlegal applications until 1980. With that out of the way, Rubin hired a new team to build from scratch an new information service dedicated to legal research, he coined a new name: LEXIS, from “lex,” the Latin word for law, “IS” for “information service.” After several iterations, the original functional and performance specifications were finalized by Rubin and executive vice president Bob Bennett by the late summer of 1972. System designer Edward Gottsman supervised the implementation of the specifications as working computer code.
At the same time and Bennett orchestrated the necessary keyboarding of the legal materials to be provided through LEXIS, designed a business plan, marketing strategy, training program. MDC's corporate headquarters were moved to New York City, while the data center stayed in Dayton, Ohio. According to Trudi Bellardo Hahn and Charles P. Bourne, LEXIS was the first of the early information services to realize the vision of a future in which large populations of end users would directly interact with computer databases, rather than going through professional intermediaries like librarians. Other early information services in the 1970s crashed into financial and technological constraints and were forced to retreat to the professional intermediary model until the early 1990s. Rubin explained that they were trying “to crack the librarian barrier. Our goal was to get a LEXIS terminal on every lawyer’s desk.” To persuade American lawyers to use LEXIS, MDC targeted them with aggressive marketing and training campaigns.
On April 2, 1973, MDC publicly launched LEXIS at a press conference in New York City, with libraries of New York and Ohio case law as well as a separate library of federal tax materials. By the end of that year, the LEXIS database had reached two billion characters in size and had added the entire United States Code, as well as the United States Reports from 1938 through 1973. By 1974, LEXIS was running on an IBM 370/155 computer in Ohio supported by a set of IBM 3330 disk storage units which could store up to about 4 billion characters, its communications processor could handle 62 terminals with transmission speed at 120 characters per second per user. On this platform, LEXIS was able to execute over 90% of searches within less than five seconds. Over 100 text terminals had been deployed to various legal offices and there were over 4,000 trained LEXIS users. By 1975, the LEXIS database had grown to 5 billion characters and it could handle up to 200 terminals simultaneously. By 1976, the LEXIS database included case law from six states, plus various federal materials.
MDC turned a profit for the first time in 1977. In 1980, LEXIS completed
Alexander Hamilton was an American statesman and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was an influential interpreter and promoter of the U. S. Constitution, as well as the founder of the nation's financial system, the Federalist Party, the United States Coast Guard, the New York Post newspaper; as the first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the main author of the economic policies of George Washington's administration. He took the lead in the Federal government's funding of the states' debts, as well as establishing a national bank, a system of tariffs, friendly trade relations with Britain, his vision included a strong central government led by a vigorous executive branch, a strong commercial economy, a national bank and support for manufacturing, a strong military. Thomas Jefferson was his leading opponent, arguing for smaller government. Hamilton was born out of wedlock in Nevis, he was taken in by a prosperous merchant. When he reached his teens, he was sent to New York to pursue his education.
He took an early role in the militia. In 1777, he became a senior aide to General Washington in running the new Continental Army. After the war, he was elected as a representative from New York to the Congress of the Confederation, he founded the Bank of New York. Hamilton was a leader in seeking to replace the weak national government under the Articles of Confederation, he helped ratify the Constitution by writing 51 of the 85 installments of The Federalist Papers, which are still used as one of the most important references for Constitutional interpretation. Hamilton led the Treasury Department as a trusted member of President Washington's first Cabinet. Hamilton argued that the implied powers of the Constitution provided the legal authority to fund the national debt, to assume states' debts, to create the government-backed Bank of the United States; these programs were funded by a tariff on imports, by a controversial whiskey tax. He mobilized a nationwide network of friends of the government bankers and businessmen, which became the Federalist Party.
A major issue in the emergence of the American two-party system was the Jay Treaty designed by Hamilton in 1794. It established friendly trade relations with Britain, to the chagrin of France and supporters of the French Revolution. Hamilton played a central role in the Federalist party, which dominated national and state politics until it lost the election of 1800 to Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party. In 1795, he returned to the practice of law in New York, he called for mobilization against the French First Republic in 1798–99 under President John Adams, became Commanding General of the disbanded U. S. Army, which he reconstituted and readied for war; the army did not see combat in the Quasi-War, Hamilton was outraged by Adams' diplomatic success in resolving the crisis with France. His opposition to Adams' re-election helped cause the Federalist party defeat in 1800. Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied for the presidency in the electoral college in 1801, Hamilton helped to defeat Burr, whom he found unprincipled, to elect Jefferson despite philosophical differences.
Hamilton continued his legal and business activities in New York City, was active in ending the legality of the international slave trade. Vice President Burr ran for governor of New York State in 1804, Hamilton campaigned against him as unworthy. Taking offense, Burr challenged him to a duel on July 11, 1804, in which Burr shot and mortally wounded Hamilton, who died the following day. Alexander Hamilton was born and spent part of his childhood in Charlestown, the capital of the island of Nevis in the Leeward Islands. Hamilton and his older brother James Jr. were born out of wedlock to Rachel Faucette, a married woman of half-British and half-French Huguenot descent, James A. Hamilton, a Scotsman, the fourth son of Laird Alexander Hamilton of Grange, Ayrshire. Speculation that Hamilton's mother was of mixed race, though persistent, is not substantiated by verifiable evidence, she was listed as white on tax rolls. It is not certain whether the year of Hamilton's birth was in 1755 or 1757. Most historical evidence, after Hamilton's arrival in North America, supports the idea that he was born in 1757, including Hamilton's own writings.
Hamilton listed his birth year as 1757 when he first arrived in the Thirteen Colonies, celebrated his birthday on January 11. In life, he tended to give his age only in round figures. Historians accepted 1757 as his birth year until about 1930, when additional documentation of his early life in the Caribbean was published in Danish. A probate paper from St. Croix in 1768, drafted after the death of Hamilton's mother, listed him as 13 years old, which has caused some historians since the 1930s to favor a birth year of 1755. Historians have speculated on possible reasons for two different years of birth to have appeared in historical documents. If 1755 is correct, Hamilton might have been trying to appear younger than his college classmates, or wished to avoid standing out as older. If 1757 is correct, the single probate document indicating a birth year of 1755 may have included an error, or Hamilton might once have given his age as 13 after his mother's death in an attempt to appear older and more employable.
Historians have pointed out that the probate document contained other proven inaccuracies, demonstrating it was not re
Gabriel Duvall was an American politician and jurist. Duvall was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1811 to 1835, during the Marshall Court and early-Taney Court eras. Duvall was the Comptroller of the Treasury, a Maryland state court judge, a member of the U. S. House of Representatives from Maryland, a Maryland state legislator. Whether Duvall is deserving of the title of "the most insignificant" justice in the history of the U. S. Supreme Court has been the subject of much academic interest, most notably a debate between University of Chicago Law Professors David P. Currie and Frank H. Easterbrook in 1983. Currie argued that "impartial examination of Duvall's performance reveals to the uninitiated observer that he achieved an enviable standard of insignificance against which all other justices must be measured." Easterbrook responded that Currie's analysis lacked "serious consideration of candidates so shrouded in obscurity that they escaped proper attention in a contest of insignificance," and concluded that Duvall's colleague, Justice Thomas Todd, was more insignificant.
He was born in Prince George's County, Maryland, as the sixth child of Benjamin Duvall and his wife the former Susanna Tyler, Two of his elder brothers died in the American Revolutionary War. Duvall read law to enter the bar in Prince George's County in 1778, where he practiced at least part-time until 1823, he soon moved to Annapolis, where he practiced in the Mayor's Court as county prosecutor beginning in 1781, in Anne Arundel County court beginning in 1783. Some uncertainty remains over the spelling of Duvall's name. One scholar noted Supreme Court Reporters Cranch and Peters uniformly spelled it "Duvall", but Marshall's biographer, Albert Beveridge, insisted on spelling the name with a single "l." Journalist and Supreme Court specialist Irving Lee Dilliard concluded persuasively that the original "DuVal" or "Duval" employed in earlier generations had become "Duvall" before the future justice was born. Family members used "DuVal". Duval was an Anglican and maintained pews both at St. Anne's Church and his family's longstanding parish in Prince George's County, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Collington a chapel of ease for St. Barnabas' Episcopal Church, Leeland.
He married twice, first in 1787 to daughter of Annapolis captain Robert Bryce. They had a son, Edmund Bryce Duvall, a daughter Polly, born circa 1794, but who did not survive to adulthood and whose birth may have caused Mary Bryce's death, he married his second wife, Jane Gibbon Duvall, daughter of the woman who ran the lodginghouse where he resided in Philadelphia during his federal service, on May 5, 1795 at Christ Church, Philadelphia. Her mother came to live with them during her last years. Duvall was a clerk for the Maryland Council of Safety from 1775 to 1777, for the Maryland House of Delegates from 1777 to 1781, he participated in the American Revolutionary War, first as a Mustermaster and commissary of stores in 1776 as a private in the Maryland militia, where he fought in the Battle of Brandywine. He was a Commissioner to preserve confiscated British property from 1781 to 1782 a member of Maryland Governor's Council from 1782 to 1785, he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates, serving there from 1787 to 1794.
He served one term as a U. S. Representative from the second district of Maryland, from November 11, 1794, to March 28, 1796, he was Chief Justice of the Maryland General Court from 1796 to 1802, was the first U. S. Comptroller of the Treasury from 1802 to 1811. On November 15, 1811, Duvall was nominated by President James Madison to an Associate Justice seat on the Supreme Court of the United States vacated by fellow Marylander Samuel Chase. Duvall was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 18, 1811, received his commission the same day. In the 23 years he sat on the Supreme Court, Duvall penned an opinion in only 18 cases: 15 majority opinions, two concurrence, one dissent; the Court during this time was a vehicle for Chief Justice John Marshall's belief in a strong Federal government and the associate justices dissented, with Marshall himself writing the large majority of opinions. The one time when Duvall dissented was in the case of Mima Queen and Child vs. Hepburn where he was the sole dissenting justice in a case that ruled whether the daughter of an ex-slave could provide hearsay evidence that her mother was free at the time of her birth.
Duvall wrote that the evidence should be allowed, "people of color from their helpless condition under the uncontrolled authority of a master, are entitled to all reasonable protection."He remained on the court until January 12, 1835, when he retired a month after his 82nd birthday. According to one of Chief Justice Marshall's biographers, Duvall "became distinguished for holding on to his seat for many years after he had become aged and infirm because he was fearful of who would replace him, thus inaugurating what has become a popular tradition for subsequent Supreme Court Justices." According to his biographer, Irving Dillard, in his last few years on the Court, Duvall was "so deaf as to be unable to participate in conversation." Prof. Currie retorts that: "There is no proof... that Duvall was either deaf or unable to speak while on the Court". In his 24 years on the Court, Duvall authored 15 majority op
United States Reports
The United States Reports are the official record of the rulings, case tables, in alphabetical order both by the name of the petitioner and by the name of the respondent, other proceedings of the Supreme Court of the United States. United States Reports, once printed and bound, are the final version of court opinions and cannot be changed. Opinions of the court in each case are prepended with a headnote prepared by the Reporter of Decisions, any concurring or dissenting opinions are published sequentially; the Court's Publication Office oversees the binding and publication of the volumes of United States Reports, although the actual printing and publication are performed by private firms under contract with the United States Government Publishing Office. For lawyers, citations to United States Reports are the standard reference for Supreme Court decisions. Following The Bluebook, a accepted citation protocol, the case Brown, et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, for example, would be cited as: Brown v. Bd. of Educ.
347 U. S. 483. This citation indicates that the decision of the Court in the case entitled Brown v. Board of Education, as abbreviated in Bluebook style, was decided in 1954 and can be found in volume 347 of the United States Reports starting on page 483; the early volumes of the United States Reports were published by the individual Supreme Court Reporters. As was the practice in England, the reports were designated by the names of the reporters who compiled them: Dallas's Reports, Cranch's Reports, etc; the decisions appearing in the entire first volume and most of the second volume of United States Reports are not decisions of the United States Supreme Court. Instead, they are decisions from various Pennsylvania courts, dating from the colonial period and the first decade after Independence. Alexander Dallas, a lawyer and journalist, of Philadelphia, had been in the business of reporting these cases for newspapers and periodicals, he subsequently began compiling his case reports in a bound volume, which he called Reports of cases ruled and adjudged in the courts of Pennsylvania and since the Revolution.
This would come to be known as the first volume of Dallas Reports. When the United States Supreme Court, along with the rest of the new Federal Government moved, in 1791, from New York City to the nation's temporary capital in Philadelphia, Dallas was appointed the Supreme Court's first unofficial, unpaid, Supreme Court Reporter. Dallas continued to publish Pennsylvania decisions in a second volume of his Reports; when the Supreme Court began hearing cases, he added those cases to his reports, starting towards the end of the second volume, 2 Dallas Reports, with West v. Barnes. Dallas went on to publish a total of four volumes of decisions during his tenure as Reporter; when the Supreme Court moved to Washington, D. C. in 1800, Dallas remained in Philadelphia, William Cranch took over as unofficial reporter of decisions. In 1817, Congress made the Reporter of Decisions an official, salaried position, although the publication of the Reports remained a private enterprise for the reporter's personal gain.
The reports themselves were the subject of an early copyright case, Wheaton v. Peters, in which former reporter Henry Wheaton sued current reporter Richard Peters for reprinting cases from Wheaton's Reports in abridged form. In 1874, the U. S. government began creating the United States Reports. The earlier, private reports were retroactively numbered volumes 1–90 of the United States Reports, starting from the first volume of Dallas Reports. Therefore, decisions appearing in these early reports have dual citation forms: one for the volume number of the United States Reports. For example, the complete citation to McCulloch v. Maryland is 17 U. S. 316. Reporter of Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States Lists of United States Supreme Court cases by volume National Reporter System United States Supreme Court: Information About Opinions United States Supreme Court: Bound Volumes – Lists of PDFs Torrents of United States Reports 502–550
United States Secretary of the Treasury
The Secretary of the Treasury is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, concerned with financial and monetary matters, until 2003 included several federal law enforcement agencies. This position in the federal government of the United States is analogous to the Minister of Finance in many other countries; the Secretary of the Treasury is a member of the President's Cabinet, is nominated by the President of the United States. Nominees for Secretary of the Treasury undergo a confirmation hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Finance before being voted on by the United States Senate; the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense are regarded as the four most important cabinet officials because of the importance of their departments. The Secretary of the Treasury is a non-statutory member of the U. S. National Security Council and fifth in the United States presidential line of succession; the Secretary of the Treasury is the principal economic advisor to the President and plays a critical role in policy-making by bringing an economic and government financial policy perspective to issues facing the government.
The Secretary is responsible for formulating and recommending domestic and international financial and tax policy, participating in the formulation of broad fiscal policies that have general significance for the economy, managing the public debt. The Secretary oversees the activities of the Department in carrying out its major law enforcement responsibilities; the Chief Financial Officer of the government, the Secretary serves as Chairman Pro Tempore of the President's Economic Policy Council, Chairman of the Boards and Managing Trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds, as U. S. Governor of the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the Secretary along with the Treasurer of the United States must sign Federal Reserve notes before they can become legal tender. The Secretary manages the United States Emergency Economic Stabilization fund.
Most of the Department's law enforcement agencies such as the U. S. Customs Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Explosives, the U. S. Secret Service were reassigned to other departments in 2003 in conjunction with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security; the salary of the Secretary of the Treasury is $205,700 annually. Parties No party Federalist Democratic-Republican Democratic Whig Republican Status 1 William Jones served as acting secretary between the resignation of Alexander J. Dallas and appointment of William H. Crawford. 2 Deputy Secretary of the Treasury M. Peter McPherson served as Acting Secretary of the Treasury from August 17, 1988, to September 15, 1988. 3 Because of the resignation of Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Roger Altman in August 1994, Under Secretary of Treasury for Domestic Finance Frank N. Newman served from December 22, 1994, to January 11, 1995 as Acting Secretary of the Treasury. 4 Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Kenneth W. Dam served as Acting Secretary of the Treasury from December 31, 2002, to February 3, 2003.
5 Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Robert M. Kimmitt served as Acting Secretary of the Treasury from June 30, 2006, to July 9, 2006. 6 Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart A. Levey served as Acting Secretary of the Treasury from January 20, 2009, until the confirmation of Timothy Geithner, which occurred January 26, 2009. 7 Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin served as Acting Secretary of the Treasury from January 25, 2013, until the confirmation of Jack Lew which occurred February 28, 2013. 8 Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam J. Szubin served as Acting Secretary of the Treasury from January 20, 2017, until the confirmation of Steven Mnuchin which occurred February 13, 2017. If both the Secretary and the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury are unable to carry out the duties of the office of Secretary of the Treasury whichever Treasury official of Under Secretary rank sworn in earliest assumes the role of Acting Secretary. Positions listed on the Department of the Treasury website include the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, the Under Secretary for International Affairs, the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
As of April 2019, there are eleven living former Secretaries of the Treasury, the oldest being George P. Shultz; the most recent Secretary of the Treasury to die, as well as the most serving Secretary to die, was Lloyd M. Bentsen, Jr. on May 23, 2006. "Secretaries of the Treasury". History of the Treasury. United States Department of the Treasury. Retrieved April 9, 2006. Official website
United States Constitution
The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. The Constitution comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government, its first three articles embody the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress. Articles Four and Six embody concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments, the states in relationship to the federal government, the shared process of constitutional amendment. Article Seven establishes the procedure subsequently used by the thirteen States to ratify it, it is regarded as the oldest codified national constitution in force. Since the Constitution came into force in 1789, it has been amended 27 times, including an amendment to repeal a previous one, in order to meet the needs of a nation that has profoundly changed since the eighteenth century. In general, the first ten amendments, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, offer specific protections of individual liberty and justice and place restrictions on the powers of government.
The majority of the seventeen amendments expand individual civil rights protections. Others modify government processes and procedures. Amendments to the United States Constitution, unlike ones made to many constitutions worldwide, are appended to the document. All four pages of the original U. S. Constitution are written on parchment. According to the United States Senate: "The Constitution's first three words—We the People—affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens. For over two centuries the Constitution has remained in force because its framers wisely separated and balanced governmental powers to safeguard the interests of majority rule and minority rights, of liberty and equality, of the federal and state governments."The first permanent constitution of its kind, adopted by the people's representatives for an expansive nation, it is interpreted and implemented by a large body of constitutional law, has influenced the constitutions of other nations. From September 5, 1774, to March 1, 1781, the Continental Congress functioned as the provisional government of the United States.
Delegates to the First and the Second Continental Congress were chosen through the action of committees of correspondence in various colonies rather than through the colonial or state legislatures. In no formal sense was it a gathering representative of existing colonial governments; the process of selecting the delegates for the First and Second Continental Congresses underscores the revolutionary role of the people of the colonies in establishing a central governing body. Endowed by the people collectively, the Continental Congress alone possessed those attributes of external sovereignty which entitled it to be called a state in the international sense, while the separate states, exercising a limited or internal sovereignty, may rightly be considered a creation of the Continental Congress, which preceded them and brought them into being; the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was the first constitution of the United States. It was drafted by the Second Continental Congress from mid-1776 through late 1777, ratification by all 13 states was completed by early 1781.
The Articles of Confederation gave little power to the central government. The Confederation Congress lacked enforcement powers. Implementation of most decisions, including modifications to the Articles, required unanimous approval of all thirteen state legislatures. Although, in a way, the Congressional powers in Article 9 made the "league of states as cohesive and strong as any similar sort of republican confederation in history", the chief problem was, in the words of George Washington, "no money"; the Continental Congress could print money but it was worthless. Congress couldn't pay it back. No state paid all their U. S. taxes. Some few paid an amount equal to interest on the national debt no more. No interest was paid on debt owed foreign governments. By 1786, the United States would default on outstanding debts. Internationally, the United States had little ability to defend its sovereignty. Most of the troops in the 625-man United States Army were deployed facing – but not threatening – British forts on American soil.
They had not been paid. Spain closed New Orleans to American commerce. S. officials protested, but to no effect. Barbary pirates began seizing American ships of commerce. If any military crisis required action, the Congress had no credit or taxing power to finance a response. Domestically, the Articles of Confederation was failing to bring unity to the diverse sentiments and interests of the various states. Although the Treaty of Paris was signed between Great Britain and the U. S. and named each of the American states, various states proceeded blithely to violate it. New York and South Carolina prosecuted Loyalists for wartime activity and redistributed their lands. Individual state legislatures independently laid embargoes, negotiated directly with foreign authorities, raised armies, and