Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE ( (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2013. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

Subscriber: null; date: 30 October 2020

Constitution of the USA

Australian Law Dictionary
Trischa MannTrischa Mann, Audrey BlundenAudrey Blunden

Constitution of the USA 

The Constitution of the USA was adopted in 1788. It united into a new federal state (the United States of America) the thirteen states that had gained their independence in the American Revolution. The major features of the Constitution are that it creates a federal system, in which federal and state governments share jurisdiction over the same territory; it divides power between those governments by limiting the legislative powers of the federal government to a list of enumerated topics, and divides the powers of the federal government among three major institutions: an indirectly elected President, who is the head of the executive branch; a directly elected bicameral legislature called the Congress; and an independent judiciary, whose highest court is the Supreme Court, which exercises the power to declare unconstitutional legislation invalid. A Bill of Rights was added later.