Top Six Items You Might Not Know Were in the Constitution

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The US Constitution was written by delegates to the Constitutional Convention held in 1787. However, it wasn't ratified until June 21, 1788. While many of us have studied the US Constitution in high school, how many of us remember each of the Seven Articles and what's contained in them? There are many fascinating features tucked away in the text of the Constitution. Here are six interesting items that you might not remember or realize are included in the constitution.

of 06

Not all votes of the members present need be recorded in the official journal.

"...the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal." In other words, if less than one-fifth want to include the actual votes then they are left out of the official record. This could be quite useful for controversial votes where politicians do not want to be on record. 

of 06

Neither House can meet anywhere different without agreement.

"Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting." In other words, neither house can adjourn without the other's consent or meet anywhere else differently. This is important in that it reduces the possibility of secret meetings. 

of 06

A Congressman cannot be arrested for misdemeanors on the way to the Hill.

"[Senators and Representatives] shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same...." There have been many cases of Congressmen being let go for speeding or even drunk driving claiming Congressional immunity. 

of 06

Congressmen shall not be questioned for speeches in either House.

"...and for any Speech or Debate in either House, [Congressmen] shall not be questioned in any other Place." I wonder how many Congressmen have used that defense on CNN or Fox News. Seriously though, this protection is important so that legislators can speak their minds without fear of reprisals. However, this does not mean that their words will not be used against them during the next election cycle. 

of 06

No one can be convicted of treason without two witnesses or confession.

"No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court." Treason is when a person intentionally betrays a country by participating in a war against it or even offering its enemies assistance. However, as the Constitution states, one witness is not enough to prove a person has committed treason. Less than forty people have even been prosecuted for treason. 

of 06

The President can adjourn Congress.

"[The President] may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper." While many people know that the president can call a special session of Congress, it is less well known that he can actually adjourn them if they disagree about when they want to adjourn.

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Your Citation
Kelly, Martin. "Top Six Items You Might Not Know Were in the Constitution." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Kelly, Martin. (2020, August 28). Top Six Items You Might Not Know Were in the Constitution. Retrieved from Kelly, Martin. "Top Six Items You Might Not Know Were in the Constitution." ThoughtCo. (accessed October 20, 2021).