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What is the topic of Article IV?

Article 4 — Legislative

Section 1. The Legislative authority of the State shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The style of every law shall be: «Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana;» and no law shall be enacted, except by bill.

Section 2. The Senate shall not exceed fifty, not the House of Representatives one hundred members; and they shall be chosen by the electors of the respective counties or districts, into which the State may, from time to time, be divided.

Section 3. Senators shall be elected for the term of four years and Representatives for the term of two years, from the day next after their general election: Provided, however, that the Senators elect, at the second meeting of the General Assembly under this Constitution, shall be divided by lot, into two equal classes, as nearly as may be; and the seats of Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of two years, and those of the second class, at the expiration of four years; so that one half as nearly as possible, shall be chosen biennially forever thereafter. And in case of increase in the number of Senators, they shall be so annexed, by lot, to one or the other of the two classes, as to keep them as nearly equal as practicable.

Section 4. General Assembly shall, at its second session after the adoption of this Constitution, and every sixth year thereafter, cause an enumeration to be made of all the white male inhabitants over the age of twenty-one years.

Section 5. The number of Senators and Representatives shall, at the session next following each period of making such enumeration, be fixed by law, and apportioned among the several counties, according to the number of white male inhabitants, above twenty-one years of age in each: Provided, that the first and second elections of members of the General Assembly, under this Constitution, shall be according to the apportionment last made by the General Assembly, before the adoption of this Constitution.

Section 6. A Senatorial or Representative district, where more than one county shall constitute a district, shall be composed of contiguous counties; and no county for Senatorial apportionment, shall ever be divided.

Section 7. No person shall be a Senator or a Representative, who, at the time of his election, is not a citizen of the United States; nor any one who has not been, for two years next preceding his election, an inhabitant of this State, and, for one year next preceding his election, an inhabitant of the county or district whence he may be chosen. Senators shall be at least twenty-five, and Representatives at least twenty-one years of age.

Section 8. Senators and Representatives, in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, shall be privileged from arrest, during the session of the General Assembly, and in going to and returning from the same; and shall not be subject to any civil process, during the session of the General Assembly, nor during the fifteen days next before the commencement thereof. For any speech or debate in either House, a member shall not be questioned in any other place.

Section 9. The sessions of the General Assembly shall be held biennially at the capital of the State, commencing on the Thursday next after the first Monday of January, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three, and on the same day of every second year thereafter, unless a different day or place shall have been appointed by law. But if, in the opinion of the Governor, the public welfare shall require it, he may at any time by proclamation, call a special session.

Section 10. Each House, when assembled, shall choose its own officers, the President of the Senate excepted; judge the elections, qualifications and returns of its own members; determine its rules of proceeding, and sit upon its own adjournment. But neither House shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days nor to any place other than that in which it may sitting.

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Section 11. Two-thirds of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may meet, adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members. A quorum being in attendance, if either House fail to effect an organization within the first five days thereafter, the members of the House so failing, shall be entitled to no compensation, from the end of the said five days until an organization shall have been effected.

Section 12. Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish the same. The yeas and nays on any question, shall, at the request of any two members, be entered together with the names of the members demanding the same, on the journal; Provided, that on motion to adjourn, it shall require one-tenth of the members present to order the yeas and nays.

Section 13. The doors of each House, and of Committees of the Whole, shall be kept open, except in such cases, as, in the opinion of either House, may require secrecy.

Section 14. Either House may punish its members for disorderly behaviour, and may, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member; but not a second time for the same cause.

Section 15. Either House during its session, may punish, by imprisonment, any person not a member, who shall have been guilty of disrespect to the House, by disorderly or contemptuous behaviour in its presence; but such imprisonment shall not at any one time exceed twenty-four hours.

Section 16. Each House shall have all powers, necessary for a branch of the Legislative department of a free and independent State.

Section 17. Bills may originate in either House, but may be amended or rejected in the other; except that bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.

Section 18. Every bill shall be read, by sections, on three several days, in each House; unless in case of an emergency, two-thirds of the House where such bill may be depending, shall, by a vote of yeas and nays, deem it expedient to dispense with this rule; but the reading of a bill by sections, on it final passage, shall, in no case, be dispensed with; and the vote on the passage of every bill or joint resolution shall be taken by yeas and nays.

Section 19. Every act shall embrace but one subject and matters properly connected therewith; which subject shall be expressed in the title. But if any subject shall be embraced in an act which shall not be expressed in the title, such act shall be void only as to so much thereof as shall not be expressed in the title.

Section 20. Every act and joint resolution shall be plainly worded, avoiding as far as practicable, the use of technical terms.

Section 21. No act shall ever be revised or amended by mere reference to its title; but the act revised, or section amended, shall be set forth and published at full length.

Section 22. The General Assembly shall not pass local or special law, in any of the following enumerated cases, that is to say:

Regulating the jurisdiction and duties of Justices of the Peace and of Constables;

For the punishment of crimes and misdemeanors;

Regulating the practice in courts of justice;

Providing for changing the venue in civil and criminal cases;

Changing the names of persons;

For laying out, opening and working on highways, and for the election or appointment of supervisors;

Vacating roads, town plats, streets, alleys and public squares;

Summoning and empanneling grand and petit juries, and providing for their compensation;

Regulating county and township business;

Regulating the election of county and township officers and their compensation;

For the assessment and collection of taxes for State, county, township or road purposes;

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Providing for supporting common schools, and for the preservation of school funds;

In relation to fees or salaries;

In relation to interest on money;

Providing for opening and conducting elections of State, county, or township officers, and designating the places of voting;

Providing for the sale of real estate belonging to minors or other persons laboring under legal disabilities, by executors, administrators, guardians, or trustees.

Section 23. In all the cases enumerated in the preceding section, and in all other cases where a general law can be made applicable, all laws shall be general, and of uniform operation throughout the State.

Section 24. Provision may be made, by general law, for bringing suit against the State, as to all liabilities originating after the adoption of the Constitution; but no special act authorizing such suit to be brought, or making compensation to any person claiming damages against the State shall ever be passed.

Section 25. A majority of all the members elected to each House, shall be necessary to pass every bill or joint resolution; and all bills and joint resolutions so passed, shall be signed by the Presiding Officers of the respective Houses.

Section 26. Any member of either House shall have the right to protest, and to have his protest with his reasons for dissent, entered on the journal.

Section 27. Every statute shall be a public law, unless otherwise declared in the statute itself.

Section 28. No act shall take effect, until the same shall have been published and circulated in the several counties of the State by authority, except in case of emergency; which emergency shall be declared in the preamble or in the body of the law.

Section 29. The members of the General Assembly shall receive for their services, a compensation to be fixed by law; but no increase of compensation shall take effect during the session at which such increase may be made. No session of the General Assembly, except the first under this Constitution, shall extend beyond the term of sixty-one days, nor any special session beyond the term of forty days.

Section 30. No Senator or Representative shall, during the term for which he may have been elected, be eligible to any office, the election to which is vested in the General Assembly; nor shall he be appointed to any civil office of profit, which shall have been created or the emoluments of which shall have been increased, during such term; but this latter provision shall not be construed to apply to any office elective by the People.

The Constitution: What Does it Say?

The Constitution of the United States contains a preamble and seven articles that describe the way the government is structured and how it operates. The first three articles establish the three branches of government and their powers: Legislative (Congress), Executive (office of the President,) and Judicial (Federal court system). A system of checks and balances prevents any one of these separate powers from becoming dominant. Articles four through seven describe the relationship of the states to the Federal Government, establish the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, and define the amendment and ratification processes.

The Constitution: What Does it Say?

Article I

Article I assigns the responsibility for making laws to the Legislative Branch (Congress). Congress is divided into two parts, or “Houses,” the House of Representatives and the Senate. The bicameral Congress was a compromise between the large states, which wanted representation based on population, and the small ones, which wanted the states to have equal representation.

Article II

Article II details the Executive Branch and the offices of the President and Vice President. It lays down rules for electing the President (through the Electoral College), eligibility (must be a natural-born citizen at least 35 years old), and term length. The 12th and 25th Amendments modified some of these rules.

Article III

Article III establishes the Judicial Branch with the U.S. Supreme Court as the federal court system’s highest court. It specifies that Federal judges be appointed for life unless they commit a serious crime. This article is shorter than Articles I and II. The Federal Convention left much of the work of planning the court system to the First Congress. The 1789 Judiciary Act created the three-tiered court system in place today.

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Article IV

Article IV outlines states’ powers in relationship to each other. States have the authority to create and enforce their own laws but must respect and help enforce the laws of other states. Congress may pass Federal laws regarding how states honor other states’ laws and records.

Article V

Article V explains the amendment process, which is different and more difficult than the process for making laws. When two-thirds of the Senate and two-thirds of the House of Representatives vote to change the Constitution, an amendment goes to the state legislatures for a vote. Alternatively, two-thirds of the state legislatures can submit an application to Congress, and then Congress calls a national convention at which states propose amendments. Three-fourths of the state legislatures or state conventions must vote in favor of an amendment to ratify it.

Article VI

Article VI states that Federal law is supreme, or higher than, state and local laws. This means that if a state law conflicts with a Federal law, Federal law takes precedence.

Article VII

Article VII describes the ratification process for the Constitution. It called for special state ratifying conventions. Nine states were required to enact the Constitution. Rhode Island became the 13th state to ratify the Constitution in 1790.

Article 4 of the Constitution

Click here or scroll down for a summary of Article 4 of the Constitution. Article 4 of the United States Constitution contains 4 paragraphs, 37 sentences, 1,211 words, and 7,349 characters (including spaces).

Article IV (Article 4 – States’ Relations)

Article 4, Section 1

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Article 4, Section 2

  1. The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
  2. A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.
  3. No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due. note 11

Article 4, Section 3

  1. New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.
  2. The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Article 4, Section 4

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

The United States Constitution is the oldest constitution in the world still in active use. It was written in 1787 and officially ratified in 1788.

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Table of Contents

Article 4 of the Constitution Summary

Article 4 of the United States Constitution addresses the roles and responsibilities of the states. This was a topic of great importance when it was written, given the increased power states enjoyed in the pre-Civil War era. Also due to the fact that the Articles of Confederation didn’t give enough power to the states.

Article 4 is composed of four distinct sections, each of which describes various aspects of the states and their duties. Some of these sections are further divided into separate clauses.

Article 4, Section 1

Article 4, Section 1 requires all states to respect and accept each others’ public acts, records, and judicial proceedings.

It also grants Congress the authority to create general legislation that defines how public acts, records, and judicial proceedings are recognized and respected across state lines.

What problem did Article 4, Section 1 solve?

Section 1 provided a vital solution to the discord and disunity among states under the original Articles of Confederation. This disunity was particularly noticeable during the early stages of the Revolutionary War.

Under the previous system, each state would print its own currency, operate under different forms of government, and have vastly different cultures and economies.

The success of the union of states depended on the cooperation of the states under the guiding hand of a centralized government, particularly the legislative branch.

Article 4, Section 2

Clause 1

Article 4, Section 2, Clause 1 guaranteed that citizens would have the same privileges and immunities in every state. This promised individual citizens the same basic rights and freedoms as they traveled to other states.

In addition, it prevented states from discriminating against people from other states.

Clause 2

Article 4, Section 2, Clause 2 is an extradition provision for states, requiring a criminal to be returned from the state to which they fled, to the jurisdiction of the state where they committed their crimes.

The state where the person fled could not refuse to give up the criminal. This was a necessary provision to maintain a level of law and order in an otherwise free society.

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Clause 3

Article 4, Section 2, Clause 3 is the Fugitive Slave Clause. The Fugitive Slave Clause prohibits slaves from escaping their servitude by fleeing to another state, even if the state they fled to prohibits slavery.

The state government where the slave ran were obligated to return them to their original owner.

The 13th Amendment , passed in 1865, has rendered this clause obsolete by abolishing slavery and any form of involuntary servitude . The exception is the case of punishment for a convicted criminal.

The 13th Amendment, passed in 1865, rendered this clause obsolete by abolishing slavery and all forms of involuntary servitude, except in cases of punishment for convicted criminals

Section 3

Clause 1

Article 4, Section 3, Clause 1 permits the admission of new states into the United States, which became necessary due to the westward expansion of many American colonies.


If a new state formed from within the boundary of another state or states, both Congress and state legislatures would have to approve the measure.

This process has largely been followed in the formation of all states in the United States. However, it was tenuously applied when West Virginia was formed from the existing state of Virginia in 1863.

Formation of West Virginia

Amid the Civil War, residents of the western mountainous region of Virginia petitioned Abraham Lincoln to form a separate state from Virginia. Part of the reason is that they were staunchly against slavery.

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Unfortunately, while the measure gained approval from what was left of Congress after the Confederate states seceded, it had no chance of getting approval from the Virginia legislature, currently in rebellion.

A hastily formed provisional “Virginia” state legislature was assembled in Wheeling, Virginia.

It approved the formation of that particular state, technically fulfilling the requirements of the constitution that both the state and Congress had to approve a measure to form a new state within its boundary.

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Whether or not this fulfilled the requirements outlined in the clause is still a topic of debate.

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Clause 2

Article 4, Section 3, Clause 2 gives Congress the legislative power over any territory or other property owned by the United States, with the right to pass laws and regulations for their governance.

Congress is also given the right to dispose of any territory or property owned by the United States.

For example, if the United States desired to sell the territory they purchased from Napoleon Bonaparte of France in the Louisiana Purchase to another foreign state, they would have every right to do so.

Section 4

Article 4, Section 4 requires Congress to guarantee every state in the country a republican form of government.

Photo of the United States Capitol

Both existing and newly formed states were protected from the takeover of a potentially tyrannical government that would oppress their rights at the state level.

It is important to note that Section 4 is a broad provision and that no specific guidelines are given about how Congress would accomplish this, implying that it is the responsibility of the individual states to formulate their government.

On the other hand, Congress would play a more indirect role of simply verifying that the state government is indeed a republican form of government and then approving and admitting that particular state into the union.

Federal Government guarantees the safety of states from a foreign state

Section 4 also ensures the protection of every state from invasion, a necessary provision given the disjointed war effort that characterized the early days of the Revolutionary War.

Revolutionary War reenactment

Many New England colonies (Massachusetts in particular) found themselves in a state of war in 1775 with the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill.

However, many of the other colonies insisted that they were not at war with England, refusing to recognize the conflict of Massachusetts as a legitimate war shared by all the colonies.

If the union of 13 colonies, now states, were to survive in times of war, the federal government would have to unify and guarantee the safety of all of them.

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Federal jurisdiction and necessary rules to ensure security

Finally, Section 4 guarantees the safety of individual states from domestic violence under the authority of the legislative branch or, if the legislative branch cannot meet in time to diffuse the situation, the executive branch.

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This portion of Section 4 is the basis of the federal government interfering in the civil unrest characteristic of the Civil Rights era of the 1960s.

Key points of each section of Article 4 of the US Constitution:

Section 1Requires all states to respect and accept each others’ public acts, records, and judicial proceedings. Grants Congress the authority to create general legislation that defines how public acts, records, and judicial proceedings are recognized and respected across state lines.
Section 2Clause 1: Guarantees citizens the same privileges and immunities in every state and prevents states from discriminating against people from other states. Clause 2: Extradition provision requiring a criminal to be returned to the jurisdiction of the state where they committed their crimes. Clause 3: Fugitive Slave Clause, which prohibits slaves from escaping their servitude by fleeing to another state.
Section 3Clause 1: Permits the admission of new states into the United States. Clause 2: Gives Congress legislative power over any territory or other property owned by the United States.
Section 4Requires Congress to guarantee every state in the country a republican form of government and ensures the protection of every state from invasion and domestic violence under the authority of the legislative or executive branch.

Article 4 Quiz

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