A year after declaring independence from Britain in 1776, representatives of the thirteen states met to draft a constitution. They came up with the Articles of
Confederation, but some felt this document lacked the necessary provisions for an effective government. Ten years later, delegates met again to make revisions. They drafted an entirely new constitution instead. Federal power was split between legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. A system of checks and balances was incorporated. In the first of “The Constitution Today” series, we focus on the separation of powers.


  • Edward Whelan president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a contributor to National Review Online Bench Memos blog, a lawyer and former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
  • Amanda Frost professor of law at American University Washington College of Law
  • Michael Quinn president and executive director of The Montpelier Foundation.

The U.S. Constitution: Full Text


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