Table of Contents
Article VI (Article 6 – Prior Debts, National Supremacy, Oaths of Office)
- All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
- This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
- The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
Introduction to Article 6
The 6th Article of the United States Constitution consists of three sections, all three of which collectively serve to assert the supremacy that the Constitution holds in establishing laws and treaties. Our forefathers were wise in knowing that people would constantly attempt to thwart Constitutional laws and create exceptions to further their own agendas. Article Six is basically a way to cover all bases in clarifying that no other state or individual can come to a legal agreement that contradicts the privileges and laws laid out within the pages of the original US Constitution written on that monumental day of September 17th, 1787, when the Continental Congress secretly met up in Philadelphia and fifty-seven different delegates all agreed on how a free nation should operate. No exceptions, no loopholes. Additionally, Article Six of the Constitution again established freedom of religion. This Article contains three sections and can be better understood when broken down and dissected.
Why Article 6 is Still Important Today
Some might say that our current society is on the verge of self-destruction, and rightly so. Over the past decade, the United States Constitution has been challenged time and time again by those who have no respect for its authority. From the right to life to bear arms, many have and continue to insist that the Constitution got it wrong and needs to be upgraded for today. People fail to realize that the United States Constitution was written for such a time as this. The Constitution is not a piece of clay made to be remolded at any time for each individual. It is a strong foundation, unyielding to new philosophies and special circumstances. Abraham Lincoln once said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” Article 6 is a declaration that all Constitutional amendments and laws will forever be the final law of America, and no citizens or state will ever change that.
Section one of Article 6 is a formal notification whereby the United States government initially took upon itself the burden of debt that America had accrued before implementing the Constitution and the separate states coming together in unity. In doing so, the United States founding fathers garnered instant respect in being known as a government that takes care of their own. This was the initial wave that would set the tone for how our nation would handle debts for generations to come. The United States of America henceforth was known as a nation that was moral and handled its responsibilities promptly and maturely.
Section two of Article 6 contains what is known as the Supremacy Clause. This is where the US Constitution is deemed to forever be the “supreme law of the land.” Mic drop, case closed. If you are a citizen of the United States of America, you will respect and abide by the laws set forth within the said document or leave. Judges and Congress members must abide by the Constitution firmly, and no state will enact any law that would be in contradiction to the Constitution or other federal laws dictated by the Supreme Court. Also, state laws cannot violate treaty agreements made with America – past or present. This is the end all be all whereby the United States Constitution cannot be misinterpreted to suit one’s own self-interest. This section declares that while state governments do have the power to create their own laws when necessary, they cannot overlook or negate the original national laws outlined in the Constitution and Supreme Court.
This particular section of Article 6 continues the main theme of the ultimate authority of the United States Constitution. Still, it also sets additional provisions for religious freedom within the US government. Initially it states that any and all persons who are involved in the United States government – be it judges, senators, presidents, attorneys, or those in Congress – are legally bound to adhere to the US Constitution by swearing an oath. At this portion of section three, we see the No Religious Test Clause come into play, which states that while taking an oath to abide by the Constitution is required to work in the State, Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches of the United States government, no one should have to take any religious test to be admitted into the government.
Did you know that England did that?
From approximately 1673 to 1689, anyone who wanted to work in that government had to renounce Roman Catholicism and accept the Anglican doctrine taught by the Church of England. That automatically disqualified protestants and Catholics from working in civil service. By mandating no religious test be deemed to hold a position within the American government, our Founding Fathers set a precedent that no man should be judged based solely upon their religious beliefs.
“Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.” – Judge Learned Hand
The United States Constitution was created in order to establish a strong foundation in which all people should be governed. The Constitution’s beauty is that it establishes a base whereby all men truly are treated with equality and respect. In a way, it’s almost comparable to holy text in that it was the same hundreds of years ago and is still the same today, despite how many people have tried relentlessly to change it. Some don’t like rules, but without rules, there is no peace.
It is our obligation as US citizens to hold onto Article VI of the United States Constitution like a banner for everyone to read. People can try to dismiss the liberties and boundaries established within the pages of that document. Still, it should stay the same for now until the United States of America is but ashes and ruins.