Article IV is the fourth of seven articles in the Constitution, the lodestar of the KTB Prep American Government and Civics series designed to acquaint users with the origins, concepts, organizations, and policies of the United States government and political system. The goal is greater familiarization with the rights and obligations of citizenship at the local, state, national, and global levels and the history of our nation as a democracy.
What is the Constitution?
The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of the United States. Empowered with the sovereign authority of the people by the framers and the consent of the legislatures of the states, it is the source of all government powers, and also provides important limitations on the government that protect the fundamental rights of United States citizens.
It’s organized into three parts. The first part, the Preamble, describes the purpose of the document and the Federal Government. The second part, the seven Articles, establishes how the Government is structured and how the Constitution can be changed. The third part, the 27 Amendments, lists changes to the Constitution; the first 10 are called the Bill of Rights.
Article IV outlines the relationship between the various states, as well as the relationship between each state and the United States federal government. It also empowers Congress to admit new states and administer the territories and other federal lands.
Article IV, Section 1: Full Faith and Credit Clause
Requires states to extend “full faith and credit” to the public acts, records and court proceedings of other states. Congress may regulate the manner in which proof of such acts, records or proceedings may be admitted.
Article IV, Section 2: Rights of State Citizens; Rights of Extradition
Clause 1: Privileges and Immunities Clause
Requires interstate protection of “privileges and immunities”.
Clause 2: Extradition Clause
According to this clause, any person who is charged with a crime and tries to run to another state can be forced by the local authorities to return to the original state. This is called extradition.
Clause 3: Fugitive Slave Clause
This clause was first applied to fugitive slaves during slavery. If a slave ran away to another state, they would have to be brought back to the original state so the owner could claim the slave. However, this clause is no longer necessary since slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment.
Article IV, Section 3: New States and Federal Property
Clause 1: Admissions Clause
New states can be admitted into the Union by Congress; however, new states cannot be made by combining multiple states that already exist, unless they get permission from the state legislatures.
Clause 2: Territorial Clause
Congress has the authority to manage and control all territories or other property owned by the United States. It also proclaims that nothing contained within the Constitution may be interpreted to harm (prejudice) any claim of the United States, or of any particular State.
Article IV, Section 4: Federal Obligations
Clause 1: Guarantee Clause
The United States federal government must guarantee each state a government that is a Republic mandating symmetric federalism.
Clause 2: Domestic Protection Clause
Requires the United States to protect each state from invasion, and, upon the application of the state legislature (or executive, if the legislature cannot be convened), from domestic violence.