Constitutional FAQ Answer #91 – The U.S. Constitution Online – USConstitution.net

Constitutional FAQ Answer #91

<<Previous Question |
Question Index |
Subject Index |
Constitutional Index |
Next Question>>

Q91. “I have a history class and the teacher will
give us extra credit if we can go to class tonight with the answer to this
question… Technically, the U.S. Constitution is an illegal document…

A. The commission of the Constitutional
was to propose amendments to the Articles of Confederation. Instead, the Framers decided that not amendment but
replacement was the best course. Technically, the Articles of Confederation
could not be amended without the consent
of each and every state in the United States. The Constitution, however, calls
for ratification by only nine of the thirteen
states. If the Constitution was an amending document, it would indeed have been

But the Constitution may be better called a document of revolution —
it overthrew the confederation with a federation. The revolution, however, was
bloodless and with the consent, eventually, of all of the states. Rhode Island
and North Carolina were hold-outs in ratification, and they did not actually
become parts of the new United States until after the U.S. had been operating
for a short time — they realized the futility of trying to go it

So, I suppose in some very technical ways, the Constitution was illegal for
a short time; however, since it was accepted by all 13 states that made up the
United States under the Articles, I’m not sure you could argue that it is still

Last Modified: 16 Aug 2010

Valid HTML 4.0