The Structure of the Constitution

The Structure of the Constitution

This module in the No. 86 video project explores the central role in that structure plays in the document that has governed a free people for over 200 years.

“Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers.” (Federalist No. 2)

Why did our Founding Fathers write the Constitution they way they did? What were their fears?  Why does the structure matter? How, or does it, work to protect our rights?  We explore below.

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1 of 24: The Era of State Constitution Writing [No. 86]

When was ‘the greatest era of constitution writing?’ Judge Jeffrey Sutton highlights how the Framers, in drafting the Constitution, drew upon the experience of the state constitutions written after the Declaration of Independence in 1776. They bo ... When was ‘the greatest era of constitution writing?’ Judge Jeffrey Sutton highlights how the Framers, in drafting the Constitution, drew upon the experience of the state constitutions written after the Declaration of Independence in 1776. They borrowed key provisions such as separation of powers and protections of individual rights. Judge Sutton argues that the period of 1776 - 1787 is an important and frequently-neglected part of the story of the U.S. Constitution.

Jeffrey S. Sutton sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Sutton was a partner with the law firm of Jones Day Reavis & Pogue in Columbus, Ohio, and served as State Solicitor of the State of Ohio. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (Ret.), the Honorable Antonin Scalia and the Honorable Thomas J. Meskill. He is the author of 51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of American Constitutional Law.

As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

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Other Videos in this Series

1

The Era of State Constitution Writing [No. 86]

2

The Importance of Structure v. Parchment Barriers [No. 86]

3

Diverse Views at the Founding [No. 86]

4

Why Should We be Bound by the Constitution? [No. 86]

5

How the Founders Perfected the British System [No. 86]

6

The Importance of the Preamble - “We the People” are Sovereign [No. 86]

7

A Democratic Version of Britain’s Mixed Regime [No. 86]

8

Slavery, States Rights, and the Constitution [No. 86]

9

The Structural Constitution as a Protection for Liberty [No. 86]

10

Due Process of Law [No. 86]

11

Why Do We Need a Structural Constitution? [No. 86]

12

The Law of Democracy [No. 86]

13

What is Popular Sovereignty? [No. 86]

14

What Kind of Document is the Constitution? [No. 86]

15

Why a Written Constitution? [No. 86]

16

The Common Law Part I: What is Common Law and What Role Did it Play in England? [No. 86]

17

The Common Law Part II: What Role Did Common Law Play in the New American Government? [No. 86]

18

How Did the Founders Decide on the Separation of Powers? [No. 86]

19

How Do the Legislative and Executive Powers Balance Each Other? [No. 86]

20

The Declaration & Constitution: Original Public Meaning [No. 86]

21

How Does the Structure of the Constitution Uphold the Rule of Law? [No. 86]

22

How Do Constitutional Property Rights Enable Economic Growth? [No. 86]

23

Government Intervention in the Economy During a Financial Crisis [No. 86]

24

Separation of Powers and Specialization [No. 86]

About this Module

Total run time:

1h 14m

Course:

Constitutional Law: Structure

Total videos:

24

Difficulty:

First Year