Article VI of the Constitution | National Constitution Center | Khan Academy | Summary and Q&A

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July 11, 2019
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Article VI of the Constitution | National Constitution Center | Khan Academy

TL;DR

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution establishes the continuity of the U.S. government, declares the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, and prohibits religious tests for office.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why was the question of debts important in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution?

The question of debts was crucial because the U.S. government had borrowed money to fund the Revolutionary War, and addressing these debts was necessary for establishing the continuity of the government and gaining trust from creditors.

Q: How did the framers reassure foreign creditors regarding the payment of debts?

The framers incorporated the principle of international law that a successor government must honor the obligations of the predecessor. By explicitly addressing the issue of debts, they assured foreign creditors that even with a change in government, the debts would be paid.

Q: What is the significance of the Constitution being declared as the supreme law of the land in Article VI?

The declaration of the Constitution as the supreme law means that it prevails over any other form of law in case of conflicts. It establishes a hierarchy of laws, limiting the laws that can be passed by the federal government and states and maintaining a single set of rules for all.

Q: Has the supremacy of the Constitution been challenged throughout history?

While there haven't been many claims that the Constitution is not supreme, there have been debates about who gets to interpret the Constitution and decide on conflicts. Some resistance has taken the form of states believing their actions don't violate the Constitution, leading to disagreements with the Supreme Court's interpretation.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Article VI addresses debts by ensuring that the new U.S. government would honor the debts of the previous government, reassuring creditors and establishing trust.

  • The supremacy clause in Article VI declares the Constitution as the highest law, prevailing over any other form of law, including state and federal laws.

  • The inclusion of religious tests in Article VI reflects the framers' desire to separate church and state, protecting both religion and the political system from corruption and religious conflicts.

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