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United States Constitution

January 2019, Friday
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Constitution: History: previous 1781 (Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union); latest drafted July - September 1787, submitted to the Congress of the Confederation 20 September 1787, submitted for states' ratification 28 September 1787, ratification completed by nine of the 13 states 21 June 1788, effective 4 March 1789
amendments: proposed as a “joint resolution” by Congress, which requires a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by at least two-thirds of the state legislatures; passage requires ratification by three-fourths of the state legislatures or passage in state-held constitutional conventions as specified by Congress; the US president has no role in the constitutional amendment process; amended many times, last in 1992 (2018)

Definition: This entry provides information on a country’s constitution and includes two subfields, history and amendments. The history subfield includes the dates of previous constitutions and the main steps and dates in formulating and implementing the latest constitution. For countries with 1-3 previous constitutions, the years are listed; for those with 4-9 previous, the entry is listed as “several previous,†and for those with 10 or more, the entry is “many previous.†The amendments subfield summarizes the process of amending a country’s constitution – from proposal through passage – and the dates of amendments, which are treated in the same manner as the constitution dates.
The main steps in creating a constitution and amending it usually include the following steps: proposal, drafting, legislative and/or executive branch review and approval, public referendum, and entry into law. In many countries this process is lengthy. Terms commonly used to describe constitutional changes are “amended,†“revised,†or “reformed.†In countries such as South Korea and Turkmenistan, sources differ as to whether changes are stated as new constitutions or are amendments/revisions to existing ones.
A few countries including Canada, Israel, and the UK have no single constitution document, but have various written and unwritten acts, statutes, common laws, and practices that, when taken together, describe a body of fundamental principles or established precedents as to how their countries are governed. Some special regions (Hong Kong, Macau) and countries (Oman, Saudi Arabia) use the term “basic law†instead of constitution.
A number of self-governing dependencies and territories such as the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and Gibraltar (UK), Greenland and Faroe Islands (Denmark), Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten (Netherlands), and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (US) have their own constitutions.

Source: CIA World Factbook