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Article IV of the Constitution | US government and civics | Khan Academy


– [Kim] Hey this is Kim from Khan Academy and today I’m learning about Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. Article IV lays out the nuts and bolts of how federalism, the
system of shared governance between the states and
the federal government works in practice. Article IV has four sections. The first two, the Full Faith and Credit clause and the Privileges and Immunities clause talk about how states will treat each other’s citizens as well as they treat the
citizens of their own states. Then the third section,
is an admissions clause discussing how new states
will be added to the union and the fourth section
is the guarantee clause, which guarantees every state in the union a republican form of government. To learn more about Article IV, I sought out the help of two experts. Erin Hawley is an
associate professor of Law at the University of Missouri. Her scholarship focuses
on the federal courts and she teaches constitutional litigation, tax policy and agricultural law. Professor Gabriel Chin is the
director of clinical legal education at the UC Davis School of Law. He’s a teacher and scholar
of immigration law, criminal procedure and race and law. So professor Hawley can
take us a little bit through why the framers
included Article IV. What was its purpose? – [Erin] The founders of the Constitution were very concerned that the federal government
be one of limited powers and because of that they saw the states as having an active and critical role in placing a check on
the federal government. So we’ve got the three
branches and their own checks and balances and then we’ve
got the federal government and the state government
also playing a role in checking and balancing each other. They wanted to establish a
strong central government but also to ensure that it
didn’t have too much power and the states were
critical to this effort. Also, they very much wanted
the states to act collectively not individually. As you’ll recall, the states had not been doing so well under the loose articles
of the confederation. They’ve sort of being going it
alone on critical issues like trade and defense as to
the detriment of the union. So Article IV is also a
sort of key to making sure that the states act sort
of as a unified whole rather than going it alone. – [Gabriel] It’s one country
made up of diverse states. And if you prefer the way things are done in Nevada you can move there. And if you think that some
other state has a better set of answers to the problems of modern life, you can move. What the Full Faith In Credit clause, and the Privileges and Immunities clause are designed to do is to facilitate transactions, to facilitate moving, to facilitate communications and commerce and trade and travel among the states. But that doesn’t mean that what’s going on in each of the states can’t
be very, very different. – [Kim] We often think of checks and balances as being something that was designed to
be kind of horizontal. That the legislature
and the executive branch and the judicial branch kind of all at the same level checking each other. But there is also kind of this
vertical checks and balances happening too between the power
of the federal government, power of the states and the
power of the local governments. – [Erin] Absolutely so we’ve
got the three branches, and their checks and balances. We also have a strong central government, that’s checked in large part
by strong independent sovereign governments in each of the 50 states. And these states traditionally
have what are known as police powers so they have
a lot of inherent authority to govern the people in those states, subject to federal law. But it really does sort
of place a check on federal authority and I
think this is precisely what the framers wanted
because they did want a strong government,
but they also were very much of the view that
states were important. That their own states we’re important and they didn’t want to lose
that in the new constitution and new federal government. – [Kim] There are four
sections in Article IV and the first section deals
with full faith and credit, it says full faith and
credit shall be given in each state to the public Acts, Records and Judicial proceedings
of every other state. So what does full faith
and credit actually mean? – [Gabriel] It’s designed
to make in a certain sense, all of the states of the United States part of a single system. And so, full faith and credit means that a court judgment
for example in one state will be recognized in every state. – [Erin] So if you have a value judgment in New York for example, and you move to California, the California courts are
required to give effect to that judgment, to that same court judgment so long as it was validly issued. There was a federal statue known as The Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA that was passed under president Clinton, and recently the Supreme
Court struck that down as unconstitutional. So now under full faith and
credit, if you’re married in one state you’re married
in another state as well. – [Gabriel] You can see the kinds of problems that would exist if states didn’t honor the
legal decision that were made by other states such as who is married or who is divorced or who owns a particular piece of property or whether a particular child is going to be in the
custody of one parent rather than another. And the full faith and credit clause is designed to say, in order for our system to work as a unified whole, while it’s true that the courts of Georgia are distinct from the
courts of New York, etc. They’re separate systems, but they have to treat the work that each other does with respect. – [Kim] If we move onto section II. This says that the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all
privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states. So what are these
privileges and immunities? – [Erin] So the privileges
and immunities clause has been one that’s subject to a number of sort of debates in the courts, in the academic literature. But basically privileges and immunities have been construed to
be those sorts of things that would go with citizenship. So the right to travel for example, is a privilege and immunity. Those sorts of things. – [Gabriel] Occasionally
in American history there have been moments where states didn’t want to let citizens
of other states come through. So during the depression there
was an effort by some states to limit the migration of people from out of state to in-state. And the Supreme Court said,
that’s not permissible. It also protects the right to travel. In 1999 the Supreme Court dealt with a case called Saenz v. Roe. And what that case was
about is that California had relatively generous welfare benefits. And California wanted to set up its law in such a way that it
wouldn’t encourage people from other states to move to California just to get the welfare benefits. So what they did is, they said that if you
don’t live in California. If you’re moving from out of state and you apply for welfare benefits then we’re going to give
you the welfare benefits that you would have gotten in
your state for the first year. We’re not going to give you
the higher California benefits. We’re going to give you
whatever you would of gotten where you came from. That’s unconstitutional
and the Supreme Court said that violates the
privileges and immunities clause. We’re one country. One nation. People are allowed to cross
the borders whenever they want. – [Kim] Interesting but there
is this second part of it that says no person
held to service or labor in one state, under the laws
thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence, of
any law or regulation therein be discharged from service or labor. So what is that all about? – [Erin] So that is one
of the most unfortunate, probably the most unfortunate clauses in our Constitution, it’s known as the fugitive slave clause and that title is pretty descriptive. So if you have a slave
who is validly owned as it were in those days,
under one state’s law and that person escaped to a free state this clause gave the owner the right to reclaim that slave and put them back into sort of ownership in their own state. – [Gabriel] It is a sneaky
way of talking about slavery and this compromise with
slavery was necessary to create the United States. Slavery, the word, isn’t
used in the Constitution. They only use these euphemisms. These sort of complicated circumlocutions and there is an argument that
there is a reason for that. And the reason for that is
that a lot of the framers of the Constitution
didn’t support slavery. Opposed slavery. They did think that it
was important to have a United States and to
have a Constitution. So they wanted to do what
was necessary to achieve that but they did the absolutely minimum and they did it in such a way that consciously doesn’t recognize and legitimize the institution of slavery. – [Kim] Alright so, then we get into new states and territories. So, I think it was very forward looking of the framers to
recognize that new states might want to join the Union and then to provide a process for that. So can you tell us a little bit about what that process was like? – [Erin] So article IV
section three clause one provides the process for
admitting new states. Again it recognizes that
new states might want to join the Union and it
gives wide latitude to congress for admitting new states, so basically the process
was that a territory would indicate to the
congress that it wished to become a state. Then they would submit a constitution and congress would approve the new state. But the constitution
itself in article IV places some limitations on that. Some of the eastern states
we’re concerned that the large western territories might
become too influential so they had a couple of provisions that no new states could be
created out of an old state nor could parts of states be
combined to form a new state unless there was consent from
all of the involved states. – [Gabriel] And it’s not so
clear that purchase of territory from foreign governments was a power that was granted in the Constitution to anyone. Thomas Jefferson who was
the president at the time of the Louisiana Purchase had doubts that the Louisiana Purchase
was constitutional. He thought that it was
a great idea to purchase all that land from France, but he thought that it would
require a constitutional amendment for the United
States to have that power. This is different from
Texas joining the Union. But the House and the
Senate didn’t have the same qualms that President Jefferson did. And so they agreed to approve
the Louisiana Purchase and to fund it. When the bill got to Thomas
Jefferson’s desk he signed. – [Kim] Moving on to section IV, there is this promise here
that the federal government will guarantee every state a
republican form of government and shall protect each
of them against invasion or domestic violence. What does this mean? – [Erin] So we see here in
Article IV the end of Article IV a really sort of famous, an
important promise to each of the individual states. The federal government is promising, to basically aid them in keeping a republican form of government. As well remember, Benjamin Franklin famously said we’ve given you
a republic if you can keep it. – [Gabriel] So when we talk
about invasion in section IV, it talks about invasion, it’s pretty clear that
what they’re talking about is invasion by some hostile state. And of course during this period there was continuing conflict with England and the idea is that if New York or South Carolina gets invaded by England,
that’s not just that particular state’s problem it’s the nation’s problem and the national government
has an obligation to protect against invasion. – [Kim] I imagine it also
prevents someone from for example declaring
themselves the King of Maryland. – [Gabriel] The republican
form of government clause does that. It leaves the details to the states but the basic idea is that there has, the concept of republican
government that’s embodied in article IV is majority rule. That even if there were
free and fair elections the state could not
choose to have military or hereditary government. So even if everybody in
California got together, and said you know, what we really need is a good family that
generation after generation will lead us and they will be the kings and queens of California, and this is what we want so we’re going to amend our constitution
to provide for hereditary leadership in our state
and we’re going to find somebody great and this
is what we want to do. Article IV would say, we
can’t choose to do that even through democratic means. – [Kim] So as we’ve learned Article IV requires states to give full faith and credit
to the legal proceedings of other states and to treat the citizens of other states as well as
they treat their own citizens. It provides a process
for adding new states into the mix and guarantees
a republican form of government to the
citizens of all the states. Article IV binds the
United States together so it’s not just a collection
of independent states but rather a unified nation. To learn more abour article IV visit the National Constitution Centers in Directive Constitution
and Khan Academy’s resources on U.S. government and politics.

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