Monday, May 15, 2017

The United States Presidency for Dummies

There seems to be a lot of confusion about this lately, particularly among our current President and his cohort. So I wrote up a helpful primer on basic American civics.

1. Once Upon a Time, there were 13 American colonies under British rule (England).

2. On July 4, 1776, the colonies “declared their independence” from England. They did this by writing a piece of paper called “THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.” 

3. The DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE is why we celebrate July 4 every year as “Independence Day” with fireworks and cake, because it is “America’s birthday!"

4. A really important part of the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE was this: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

5. That is a lot of bigly words. But it means that the government must treat everyone the same way, and that everyone who lives in America has the right to live their lives and be happy.

6.  In 1787, the Continental Congress—which was like a temporary government--wrote the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION to be the “Supreme Law of the Land.” That means we do not have KINGS or DESPOTS or any LOYALTY to anyone except for THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION which is a PIECE OF PAPER and not an ORANGE person or any person.

7. The guys that wrote the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE and the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION are called THE FOUNDING FATHERS. You may have seen them before on money. They have weird old timey wigs and were trying to not live under a king and queen, also called a MONARCHY.

8. The UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION has been the Supreme Law of the Land since 1789 and is a very important piece of paper that tells us how to run America.

9. Under the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, there are three “co-equal branches” of government: 

(A) The LEGISLATIVE branch, which MAKES the laws; 
(B) The EXECUTIVE branch, which ENFORCES the laws; and 
(C) The JUDICIAL branch, which INTERPRETS the laws. 

"Co-equal" means "the same." "Branch" means part. It is not the same as a literal tree branch.

10. The head of the EXECUTIVE BRANCH is called the PRESIDENT.

11. The LEGISLATIVE BRANCH is made up of the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES and the SENATE, together known as "CONGRESS."

12. The JUDICIAL branch is made up of lots of courts, but the one that gets the very last word on what the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION means is THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT which has NINE (9) judges. The "decisions" of the UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT are sometimes called "opinions" and they also become THE LAW, unless Congress changes the law later or AMENDS the Constitution. "AMEND" means "change."

13. It is very important that the three branches work well both alone and together, like a school project with small groups. This is called “checks and balances" and "separation of powers." That way, no one branch of government can do anything another branch is supposed to do. That is why the branches are “co-equal.”


15. In 1791, the first ten amendments to the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION were adopted. Together, these ten amendments are called THE BILL OF RIGHTS.

16. THE BILL OF RIGHTS contains important freedoms. For example, freedom of speech and religion; right to bear arms; right to a fair trial; freedom from police search and seizure and the government taking your stuff; prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment; and saving powers the federal government doesn’t use for the states to have.

17. Many other important AMENDMENTS were passed later, like the one that abolished slavery (#13) and the one that let people with vaginas vote (#19).

18. Today there are FIFTY (50) States. Each State has its OWN STATE CONSTITUTION that can provide MORE rights, but not FEWER than the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION guarantees.

19. The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is a REPUBLIC. A REPUBLIC is a type of government in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, not a king or queen.

20. Here are three (3) things the UNITED STATES IS NOT


Any questions?

1 comment:

  1. Good work. Shared.

    Looked for a way to sign up for notification when you publish. If there is a way, I'd like to sign up. I've subscribed to post comments (I did see that), so perhaps you can comment back with a way to sign up.

    Thanks for your writing.


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