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Exploring the United States Constitution

Exploring the United States Constitution

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Published by Prologue Magazine
September 17 marks 225 years since the signing of the United States Constitution in Philadelphia in 1787. At the National Archives we’re commemorating the occasion throughout September with special programs, online media, and learning materials. If you’re interested in brushing up on your knowledge of the Constitution, try our brand new eBook.

In "Exploring the United States Constitution" you will find articles, videos, documents, and activities.

For information about special events and public programs at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, to access teaching and learning resources, and to connect with the National Archives through social media, visit our Constitution Day page: http://www.archives.gov/calendar/constitution-day/
September 17 marks 225 years since the signing of the United States Constitution in Philadelphia in 1787. At the National Archives we’re commemorating the occasion throughout September with special programs, online media, and learning materials. If you’re interested in brushing up on your knowledge of the Constitution, try our brand new eBook.

In "Exploring the United States Constitution" you will find articles, videos, documents, and activities.

For information about special events and public programs at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, to access teaching and learning resources, and to connect with the National Archives through social media, visit our Constitution Day page: http://www.archives.gov/calendar/constitution-day/

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Published by: Prologue Magazine on Sep 14, 2012
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10/01/2014

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EXPLORING THE
!!!!!!!
UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
The three branches of government asdemonstrated through the holdings of theNational Archives
 
In celebration of the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution, we have compiled a selection of writingspublished over the last three decades by the education staff atthe National Archives and Records Administration. Eachchapter connects one or more of the billions of records inthe holdings of the National Archives to the principles foundin the United States Constitution. These records exemplifythe workings of the three branches of the federal governmentas laid out in our Constitution.
The Constitution of the United States
The Constitution is the document that established ourthree branches of American government:
,
,and 
.Chapter 1 of this book featuresthe four page Constitution that was signed by delegates to theConstitutional Convention in 1787, as well as the:Resolution Concerning RatificationAfter months of debate and drafts culminated in the finalConstitution, delegates submitted this resolution toCongress explaining what they hoped would happen next.
The Legislative Branch
Article I of the Constitution vests all legislative power ina Congress of the United States, made up of the Senate andHouse of Representatives. The following documents inChapters 2 - 7 demonstrate the legislative branch in action:1820 Census of Manufactures
It is the job of Congress to determine what specificinformation should be gathered in a census, conductedevery 10 years. In 1820, appeals for government aid tobusiness led Congress to provide for a Census of Manufactures to learn more about industries throughoutthe country.
The Constitution provides that the “Senators and
i
Basis of the Three Branches of American Government 
 
Representatives shall receive a Compensation for theirServices.” This 1791 schedule for Senate compensation isa result of the first Congress’ decision regarding members’ pay.Patent Drawings
Patent drawings of a sewing machine, see saw, light bulb,and a flying machine provide examples of Congress’ roleto “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.”
In a letter to the Senate, a Florida Parent TeacherAssociation president urged support for a Federal schoollunch program.
A resolution proposing a 26th amendment to extend the vote to 18-year-olds highlights the Congressional job of initiating amendments.
Documents related to child labor in the United States,including photographs by Lewis Hine and a proposedchild labor amendment, highlight the tension betweenfederal and states’ rights in our history.
The Executive Branch
Article II of the Constitution states that “The ExecutivePower shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” Along with ancillary executive departments andagencies, the President is responsible for enforcing the law.The president takes an oath to “faithfully execute the Officeof President of the United States, and...to the best of [his]Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of theUnited States."
The following documents, maps and photographs inChapters 8 - 15 demonstrate the executive branch in action:
The Constitution provides for the election of a Presidentby state-appointed Electors. Contested electoral votes— such as those in Louisiana— in the 1876 presidentialelection challenged the electoral system and led to thecreation of an electoral commission.
In Article I, Section 8, the Constitution designates theCongress as the branch of the federal government withthe ability to declare war. In 1846, President James K.Polk asked Congress for a declaration of war againstMexico. Congressman Abraham Lincoln’s “spotresolutions” challenged President Polk’s assertion that the
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