Common Misconceptions about the Constitution of the United States

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4 fallacies associated with the American Constitution

The first of its kind, the United States Constitution exists as the document that outlines the nation’s governmental structure. It initially consisted of seven articles, which serve various historic functions; establishing the segmentation of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, instituting the idea of federalism, and summarizing the role and power of the states. It has been amended twenty-seven times since its inception in 1789 and remains one of the most influential manuscripts in the world.

The Constitution is studied everyday across the United States in classrooms and seminars. It has been scrupulously analyzed and picked apart countless times. Over the years, many concepts and notions have become ingrained in American culture seem to have originated from the Constitution. Contrary to popular belief, a good number of these ideas are not detailed in the original article and continue as critical misconceptions.

The Electoral College

The Constitution certainly contains the notion of a presidential elector. It is mentioned several times throughout. However the assembly of people known as the Electoral College is not. So when it is time to vote for a new president, we aren’t voting directly for a candidate but rather a representative who, if supported by its respective majority, will select a candidate for it. It is these votes that actually determine who takes the position.

Separation of Church and State

Upon close inspection, you’ll find that the notorious expression “separation of church and state” is missing. A number of Supreme Court rulings and a couple of choice proclamations within the Constitution have efficiently directed that such separation exists, yet it is not explicitly stated.

In a letter commenting on the 1st Amendment, Thomas Jefferson loosely coined the phrase. Personal messages have no legislative clout so it remains merely a phrase and idea, not much else.

Primary Elections

Nowadays, the presidential election doesn’t seem to be as thrilling as it once was. The ascension of the ever-buzzing primary election is partly to blame for this. This process serves to select the individuals that will represent their respective political party in the run for the White House.

Some may wonder how then, has this system become so ingrained in our overall election arrangement. Well, the Constitution doesn’t highlight a specific method for conducting elections. And it is in this absence that we have adapted the system. Because the Constitution does not state that we can’t hold it, we do.

Paper Money

The practice of paper money seems like it would be covered in the Constitution. Fundamentally, paper has no fiduciary value. We just unanimously concur that it does because we have been assured that it will not collaspe. But the fact is that paper money isn’t detailed in the Constitution.

Of course it makes total sense that money is not mentioned in the Constitution because when it was adapted, paper money was not the accepted form of currency. Preliminary versions did include a permit to print money, but in the end it didn’t make the final cut.

Now You Know

Over the past 40+ years, we at the National Center for Constitutional Studies have strived to motivate Americans to read, learn and discuss the Constitution of the United States. We believe that educating Americans through seminars, programs, and our Pocket Constitutions is paramount.
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3 Enlightening Facts about the U.S. Constitution

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Oversimplified explanations of the very complicated times abound in America during the construction and execution of the constitution have left many misinformed about the document and its development. Here are just a few facts about the U.S. Constitution that will help to better shape your understanding of United States history and practices.

  1. We are not a True Democracy: This fact often surprises people. We hear the word constantly spouted by politicians, teachers and news anchors as a core value of the United States of America, when, in fact, our country is actually a Republic, as are the majority of nations in the world, and thankfully so, as a true democracy does not care for the rights of the individual. Majority rules all, whereas, in a Republic, governing powers are limited by law, or a constitution.
  2. It Was an Accident: Okay, that may be an overly dramatic interpretation, but the fathers of the Constitution originally came together to discuss altering the Articles of Confederation which was a much looser governing document that limited the powers of central and federal government. As they began discussing changes they came to the conclusion that an entirely new document needed to be developed. This decision made America what it is today, bonding the states together creating a stronger union. Without it, we could have very well disseminated into 50 countries, as opposed to 50 states.
  3. It is Unconstitutional!: That’s right! The U.S. Constitution is unconstitutional! The Articles of Confederation explicitly stated that the any changes to it would have to be unanimously agreed upon by all 13 states. Knowing that establishing the U.S. Constitution in this manner would be challenging, they added an article to the constitution that directly violated this law, saying that, if the constitution was ratified by nine states, it would be sufficient enough for its approval. An interesting element to this fact is that the current U.S. Constitution also includes verbiage forbidding this type of radical change to the laws of the land, but, fortunately, the government in place is more complex than the previous, with more checks and balances, making an occurrence much less likely today.

Having a strong understanding of the U.S. constitution is the basis for progress in this country. We must understand it to know its flaws, to see when it is being manipulated and to develop a clearer opinion on its purpose now and in the future of our country. Do you want to learn more about the U.S. Constitution? The National Center for Constitutional Studies is a non-profit organization dedicated to better educating the public on the U.S. Constitution and its role in our country’s past, present and future.

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What Can We Learn from the Revolutionary War?

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There is much to learn from reevaluating the efforts of American revolutionaries during the American Revolution. Here are a few lessons students can learn from studying the American Revolution that can be useful to our nation’s future.

Technology Helps: During the American Revolution, the revolutionaries won their war due, in large part, to rifle advancements. The Patriots would make specific cuts into their gun barrels, allowing their bullets to cover farther distances, thereby pecking off British soldiers from unreachable distances. Learning this fact teaches us that technology can be very powerful during wars, giving one side an advantage over the other.

Think Outside the Box: The American revolutionaries won the Revolutionary War by thinking outside the conventional military box, and trying new strategies. Instead of fighting the typical Gentleman’s war of the time, where two armies lined up to shoot at each other, the American revolutionaries sent spies to infiltrate the British army, and uncover their military secrets. The revolutionaries would hide behind trees, and fire down on the British surprisingly. American revolutionaries found creative ways to change the paradigm of war in their favor.

Make Change Inevitable: Another lesson we stand to learn from studying the actions of the American revolutionaries is to never give up on our beliefs. While the revolutionaries’ innovative tactics did, in large part, help them triumph over the British, if ever the revolutionaries gave up their pursuit, their efforts would have been all for nothing. Instead, the revolutionaries trudged on, fighting so long and hard that defeat eventually became inevitable for the British. The American revolutionaries invested in the longevity of change, and this investment allowed for their success.

Togetherness: During Revolutionary War times, the individual colonies were not necessarily all on the same page as to what they wanted their future to be. However, these differences did not get in their way. They, instead, set their differences aside to deal with their common enemy, the British. Studying the American Revolution is thus a lesson in banding together when the going gets unbearable. While our differences could have kept us a colony under rule, our drive for freedom instead prevailed in freedom.

Would you like to study the American Revolution? The National Center for Constitutional Studies offers quality courses and seminars in the American Revolution, to give you the opportunity to delve into America’s past, and find effective ways to improve American’s futures.

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Why Should We Study the Constitution?

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The American Constitution is the document by which our country operates. Along with the Bill of Rights, the Constitution dictates the laws of our land and the rights of its residents. Thus, in order to help our country progress properly in the ever-shifting present, we must study the Constitution to familiarize ourselves with this country’s roots, the source from which change can emerge. Here are some additional reasons why studying the constitution is useful.

Know Your Rights: As an American, it is crucial to know your rights. The fastest way to learn these rights is to study the Constitution. Written during the revolutionary times, and revised as progress demanded, the Constitution dictates what is legal and illegal for all United States citizens. Protect yourself against fines and arrests by learning this country’s rules.

Understand the Legislative Process: Do you ever wonder how the government imparts new laws? The Legislative branch of the United States government, consisting of the Senate and House of Representatives, create new laws by reevaluating, questioning, and defending the Constitution daily. Thus, studying the Constitution is a great way to familiarize oneself with America’s current governing laws, to help one better follow the moves made in contemporary politics to change these laws.

Justice System Knowledge: Have you ever found yourself in legal trouble? If you have, you know that the entire legal process can be incredibly confusing, stressful, and expensive. Instead of simply relying on your lawyer’s legal knowledge, educate yourself about how the judicial system works. Study the Constitution and Bill of Rights to better understand where your case’s facts really fall in the eye of the court.

Participate in Change: Would you like to help rewrite our country’s laws or participate in preserving the judicial system? To change the rules, you have to know those rules. Studying the Constitution is the best way to learn how the American government operates. From there, you can decide which laws you agree or disagree with, further directing you toward what kind of bills you would like to draft. This knowledge opens doors through which you can make your mark on this nation and truly impart change.

Would you like to study the Constitution? National Center for Constitutional Studies offers quality courses, teaching students everything they need to know about the Constitution, our country’s history, and its rules and regulations. Here, students engage in open dialog about our great nation’s history, to help build an educated community of Americans, ready to change the world for the better.

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Why Should We Study History?

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History is over and done with, so why must we continue to review past events time and time again? There is much to gain from researching and studying historical events. Here are some of the reasons why we should all spend more time studying history.

Learn About Other Cultures: Thanks to the Internet, the world has quickly become smaller and travel from country to country more accessible. Studying historical events is a great way to learn about other cultures and stay current in this ever-expanding international sphere. For Business, developing a working understanding of various international cultures is a great way to boost international sales expansion potential.

Understand Politics: Do you find politics hard to follow? Our current political problems are heavily rooted in our government’s past actions. Studying those past actions is a great way to get up to speed on our country’s current issues.

Inform Future Decisions: Faced with problems, our decision-making tactics generally arise out of previous experience. While we may not all have fought in wars or written human rights legislature, studying how others achieved these successes can be equally as helpful when facing these challenges ourselves. Studying history helps us develop a baseline of decision-making knowledge to help face future decisions with more experience in our arsenal.

Find Inspiration: Are you feeling blocked? If ever you find yourself feeling stuck in life, delving into historical study can be a great way to find inspiration to fuel your future endeavors. Buried in the past lie many strokes of courage, bravery, and genius worth revisiting for inspiration. Whether your are rereading Medieval history or revisiting the American constitution, looking back on the paths others took to achieve greatness can inform your future actions and inspire you toward similar levels of greatness.

Understand Our Own Morality: Morality is rooted in the decisions we make. When one has trouble deciding their moral stance on an issue, a great way to seek help or guidance is by studying those in the past who faced similar issues, and understanding the consequences of their choices. Right and wrong can be complex sides to a single problem, but in history, we can find the solutions.

Are you interested in studying United States history? The National Center for Constitutional Studies offers all the materials and courses you need to fully immerse yourself in American culture and studies. A better understanding of the past ensures your future decisions will be well informed and grounded in truth.

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