Article VI – Miscellaneous Items

Clause 1

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.

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Analysis – Clause 1

The usual process when changing governments is to disavow the debts and obligations of the prior government and start with a clean slate. This noble step of accepting the commitments of the United states under the Articles of Confederation was a large factor in maintaining the unifying spirit that was so necessary in keeping the people and the states together as we were forming “a more perfect union.”   

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Clause 2

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, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

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Analysis – Clause 2

This clause caused great concern among the states as ratification was in process. They realized just how different this would make the new governing document ( the Constitution) from the old one (the Articles of Confederation).  All realized that this would put more power in the hands of the general government.  Some thought that too much power was being given. The Founders’ Constitution Volume 4 contains a record of the debate in the *North Carolina Ratifying Convention that shows the thinking of both sides of this issue. The following link allows you to access this debate.

-* North Carolina Ratifying Convention Debate

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Clause 3

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.

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Analysis – Clause 3

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