The Virginia Cardinal outline below provides a comprehensive overview of the main components, principles, and impacts of the United States Constitution.

First, important things to know …

On Monday August 6, 1787, the convention accepted the first draft of the Constitution —  the article-by-article model from which the final document would result some 5 weeks later.

There are 27 Amendments

The first 10 Amendments are the Bill of Rights, which guarantee the anti-federalist individual freedoms such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press (Completed in 1789, ratified in 1791).


The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription

The US Constitution is the supreme law of the land because it is the foundation of the US federal government. The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution states that the Constitution, laws made in accordance with the Constitution, and treaties made under the authority of the United States are the supreme law of the land. The clause also states that judges in every state are bound by these laws.

I. Preamble
A. Introduction stating the purpose and goals of the Constitution

II. Articles
A. Article I: Legislative Branch
1. Establishment and powers of Congress
2. Structure of the House of Representatives and the Senate
3. Legislative process
4. Enumerated powers of Congress

B. Article II: Executive Branch
1. Establishment and powers of the President
2. Selection, responsibilities, and powers of the President
3. Duties of the President

C. Article III: Judicial Branch
1. Establishment of the Supreme Court and lower federal courts
2. Powers and jurisdiction of the federal judiciary
3. Appointment and tenure of federal judges

D. Article IV: States’ Relations
1. Full faith and credit clause
2. Privileges and immunities clause
3. Interstate extradition

E. Article V: Amendment Process
1. Procedures for amending the Constitution

F. Article VI: Federal Supremacy
1. Supremacy clause
2. Oaths of office

G. Article VII: Ratification
1. Process for ratifying the Constitution

III. Amendments
A. Bill of Rights (Amendments 1-10)
1. Guarantees of individual freedoms such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press
B. Subsequent Amendments (Amendments 11-27)
1. Various amendments covering topics like voting rights, prohibition, and presidential term limits

IV. Key Principles and Concepts
A. Separation of Powers
B. Checks and Balances
C. Federalism
D. Limited Government
E. Popular Sovereignty
F. Judicial Review

V. Interpretation and Application
A. Role of the Supreme Court in interpreting the Constitution
B. Landmark Supreme Court cases shaping constitutional interpretation

VI. Contemporary Issues and Challenges
A. Evolving interpretations of constitutional principles
B. Debates over constitutional rights and freedoms
C. Issues related to federalism and state sovereignty
D. Constitutional crises and responses

VII. Impact and Legacy
A. Influence of the U.S. Constitution on other nations’ legal systems
B. Enduring significance of the Constitution in shaping American governance