The U. S. Constitution: Simplified

Our U. S. Constitution Simplified for Quick Reference

The U. S. Constitution: Simplied…Abbreviated for beginning understanding or quick reference

When you just want to get the general or simplified idea of what is covered, TFP offers an abbreviated version of the U.S. Constitution.  Think of this as your “pocket version” of the full Constitution.  It is not meant to be a version for legal purposes or study.  It is meant to give our members the general idea of each portion of the Constitution for better understanding or a beginning approach to learning about the greatest document of freedom the world had experienced.  

Look for general definitions at the end of this simplified version.  The full, original transcription of the U. S. Constitution is also available on TFP’s website at

US Constitution Simplified:  When Was the Constitution Written?

The US Constitution was put into writing on September 17, 1787 by the Constitutional Convention. The original US Constitution is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

US Constitution Simplified: The Structure
The words and phrases used in the Constitution can be difficult to understand. It is very long and uses words that we no longer use in modern times. We have provided articles on all the different parts of the US Constitution with the original text and a definition and summary of what each part means. The US Constitution was written by the Founding Fathers who stated that if the people ever want to change the Constitution they must do it by amendment. The people had to have a way to change the Constitution if they wanted to add or remove (repeal) a power given to government. 

US Constitution Simplified: The Structure

1. The Preamble The US Constitution has an introduction called the ‘Preamble’ that explains why it was written.
2. The ‘Articles’ The Constitution has seven parts, called “Articles”.
3. The Bill of Rights The first 10 Amendments to the US Constitution are called the ‘Bill of Rights and guarantee basic liberties to American citizens
4. Amendments 11 – 27 Changes or additions to the Constitution are called Constitutional Amendments

US Constitution Simplified: The Elements and Summary of the Constitution
The following table contains all of the elements and the Summary of each – the US Constitution Simplified! The links take you to articles containing the text and a detailed summary of each.

US Constitution Simplified: Basics

Preamble to the Constitution The Preamble Explains that the Constitution proposes to establish a more perfect government complete with justice, tranquility, and liberty.
Article I ARTICLE 1 Establishes the Legislative Branch (the Senate and the House of Representatives).
Article II ARTICLE 2 Establishes the Executive Branch (Administration, headed by the President).
Article II ARTICLE 3 Establishes the Judicial Branch (the system of courts and judges).
Article IV ARTICLE 4 Establishes the relationship between the states and the federal government. Describes how to admit new states to the Union.
Article V ARTICLE 5 How to amend the Constitution, called Constitutional Amendments.
Article VI ARTICLE 6 Establishes the Constitution as the supreme law of the USA and that Public officials must take an oath to support the US Constitution. It also Authorizes the national debt meaning that Congress can borrow money.
Article VII ARTICLE 7 Lists the requirements for ratification of the Constitution

Bill of Rights Amendments 1-10

BILL OF RIGHTS US Constitution Simplified: AMENDMENTS 1-10 were added to the Constitution in 1791 and are collectively called the Bill of Rights which reserves the rights of the people.
Amendment 1 1st Amendment Freedom of speech, religion and the press
Amendment 2 2nd Amendment The Right to bear arms
Amendment 3 3rd Amendment Limits the quartering (housing) of soldiers
Amendment 4 4th Amendment Search and seizure of property only when there is ‘probable cause’
Amendment 5 5th Amendment Right to a trial by Jury, no self-testimony, double-jeopardy clause (a person be tried twice for the same crime), right to compensation. Extended to include the Miranda Rights
Amendment 6 6th Amendment Right to a speedy and fair trial by jury and confrontation of witnesses
Amendment 7 7th Amendment Trial by Jury in Civil Cases & the rights of those being sued.
Amendment 8 8th Amendment Prohibits excessive fines or cruel and unusual punishment
Amendment 9 9th Amendment Constitution does not include all of the rights of the people and the states
Amendment 10 10th Amendment The powers of the Federal Government, individual States and the People.
Amendment 11 11th Amendment Judicial limits – prohibits the citizen of one state, or another country, from suing another state in Federal court
Amendment 12 12thAmendment Method for choosing the President, Vice President
Amendment 13 13th Amendment Abolished slavery
Amendment 14 14th Amendment Rights of citizenship to all people born in USA or naturalized
Amendment 15 15th Amendment Gives the right to vote to all citizens, regardless of color or race. Women are not mentioned
Amendment 16 16th Amendment Income tax authorized – Government can collect taxes on people’s incomes
Amendment 17 17th Amendment Senators elected by the popular vote by the people, rather than by State Legislators
Amendment 18 18th Amendment Prohibition – Liquor prohibited (repealed by the 21st amendment)
Amendment 19 19th Amendment Women’s suffrage (giving women voting rights)
Amendment 20 20th Amendment New terms of office for the President and Congress – changed date of inauguration to January 20. (aka Lame Duck amendment)
Amendment 21 21st Amendment Amendment 18 repealed, Prohibition is overturns
Amendment 22 22nd Amendment Presidential term limited – no one can be elected President more than twice
Amendment 23 23rd Amendment Presidential vote given to residents of Washington, D. C.
Amendment 24 24th Amendment Poll taxes barred (you cannot charge people to vote)
Amendment 25 25th Amendment Presidential disability and succession
Amendment 26 26th Amendment Voting age lowered to 18 years old
Amendment 27 27th Amendment Congressional pay increases go into effect only during the next Congressional session, meaning Congress cannot vote itself a pay rise – any pay rise would only count for the next congress.

US Constitution Simplified: The Purpose of the Constitution of America

Why do we have a constitution? The purpose of the US Constitution, and the six functions of government, are described in the Preamble (the opening statement). The purpose of the US Constitution prescribing the government of America was designed to ensure the happiness and well being of American citizens. Without the Constitution, governmental power would not be defined or limited and the rights of all citizens would not be protected.

The purpose of the US Constitution is:

US Constitution Simplified: Aims and Purpose of the Constitution of America

1. To ” Form a more perfect union”. Meaning: The union is solidly structured and everlasting
2. To “Establish justice” Meaning: A system to hear complaints and resolve issues
3. To “Ensure domestic tranquility” Meaning: To live without fear in a peaceful community
4. To “Provide for the common defense” Meaning: Citizens will be protected from attacks by enemies
5. To “Promote the general welfare” Meaning: Government policies will benefit all of the people
6. To “Secure the blessings of liberty” Meaning: Present and future generations will enjoy independence and freedom.


  1. There is a Director who teaches the Constitution to Sheriff’s and Police. He also teaches a group of Republicans. However he speaks for hours and not many come away with what the Constitution is about. With this information I will put it in the paper. I appreciate whoever put this all together.

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