Article IV Section 1

Full Faith and Credit

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.

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Key #11 of the paradigm of the Founders states: The Formula For Freedom is found in the structure of the U.S. Constitution. The structure includes the concepts of the separation of powers between the branches of government as well as federalism or the sharing of power between the states and the national government.

Baron Charles de Montesquieu was quite direct in stating that governments should be divided into three separate branches—legislative, executive, and judicial. In a very real sense the structure of the United States government has four. The states provide that fourth branch. In order for this structure to be effective the ground rules for the operation of state governments in the federal context must be included in the Constitution. Hence Article IV. This article melds the vertical distribution of powers (Federalism) and the horizontal separation of powers (Separation) by defining the role of the states in the federal system. Allowing the states freedom in their decisions presupposes that their methods, laws, and public acts will not be the same; Section 1 recognizes the validity of those acts and requires each state to allow all other states the same power.

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