Chapter 3
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Chapter 3






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Chapter 3 Chapter 3 Presentation Transcript

  • The Constitution Chapter 3
  • The Revolutionary Roots of the Constitution
    • Characteristics of the U.S. Constitution
      • Just 4,300 words long
      • Divides the national government into three branches
      • Describes the powers of those branches and their connections
      • Outlines the interaction between the government and the governed
      • Describes the relationship between the national government and the states
      • It is the supreme law of the land.
  • The Revolutionary Roots of the Constitution
    • Freedom in Colonial America
      • American colonists in the 18 th century enjoyed a degree of freedom denied most people around the world
      • But there was a high cost: colonists needed protection from the French and their Native American allies during the Seven Years’ War
      • The English wanted the American colonists to pay for that protection
    • The Road to Revolution
      • The catalyst: taxation by a government in which the colonists had no representation
      • The First Continental Congress was convened in Philadelphia in September 1774
  • The Revolutionary Roots of the Constitution
    • Revolutionary Action
      • By early 1775, the fighting had already begun
      • The Second Continental Congress remained in session to serve as government to the colony-states
    • The Declaration of Independence
      • Thomas Jefferson took the first official step toward revolution and independence by drafting the Declaration of Independence : the document that proclaimed the right of the colonies to separate from Great Britain
      • The Declaration was based in social contract theory : the belieft that the people agree to set up rulers for certain purposes and thus have the right to resist or remove rulers who act against those purposes
      • The war lasted until October 1781 with the Lord Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown, Virginia
  • From Revolution to Confederation
    • A republic was created
      • A government without a monarch
      • A government rooted in the consent of the governed, whose power is exercised by elected representatives responsible to the governed
    • The Articles of Confederation
      • Confederation : a loose association of independent states that agree to cooperate on specified matters
        • Each state has supreme power within its borders
        • The central government is weak
      • Articles of Confederation : the compact among the 13 original states that established the first government of the United States
  • From Revolution to Confederation
    • The Articles of Confederation failed
      • The national government had no power to tax
      • There was no independent leadership position to direct the government
      • The national government could not regulate interstate and foreign commerce
      • The Articles of Confederation could not be amended without the unanimous agreement of the congress and assent of all state legislatures
    • Disorder Under the Confederation
      • Shays Rebellion highlighted the impotence of the confederation
      • The government needed to be able to suppress insurrections and maintain domestic order
  • From Confederation to Constitution
    • A convention was convened to revise the Articles in Philadelphia in 1787
      • 12 of the 13 states sent delegates
      • Delegates were highly educated but also practical politicians
      • Almost immediately, they began to work on a new document
  • From Confederation to Constitution
    • The Virginia Plan
      • Three separate branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial
        • Legislative : the law-making branch
        • Executive : the law-enforcing branch
        • Judicial : the law-interpreting branch
      • A two-house legislature: the lower house chosen by popular election; the upper house chosen from candidates nominated by state legislatures
      • Each state’s representation in the lower house would be determined in proportion to the taxes it paid to the national government or in proportion to its free population
      • An executive, consisting of an unspecified number of people, be selected by the legislature and serve for a single term
      • The national judiciary should include one or more supreme courts and other lower courts, with judges appointed for life by the legislature
      • The executive and a number of national judges would serve as a council of revision, to approve or veto legislative acts, subject to override by a vote of both houses of the legislature
      • The scope of powers of all three branches be far greater than the previous powers under the Articles of Confederation and that the legislature be empowered to override state laws
  • From Confederation to Constitution
    • The New Jersey Plan
      • A single-chamber legislature has the power to raise revenue and regulate commerce
      • That the states have equal representation in the legislature and choose its members
      • A multiperson executive be elected by the legislature, with powers similar to those in the Virginia Plan, but without the right to veto legislation
      • That a supreme tribunal be created, with limited jurisdiction (no national court system)
      • The acts of the legislature be binding on the states with the option of force to compel obedience
  • From Confederation to Constitution
    • The Great Compromise
      • A bicameral legislature
      • The House of Representatives is apportioned according to population
      • The states are represented equally in the Senate
    • Compromise on the Presidency
      • Delegates rejected the idea of popular election
      • Created the electoral college: a body of electors chosen by voters to cast ballots for president and vice presiden
      • Involved both the legislature and the judiciary in the presidential removal process, and demanded an extraordinary majority vote to remove the executive
  • The Final Product
    • The Basic Principles
      • Republicanism : a form of government in which power resides in the people and is exercised by their elected representatives
      • Federalism : the division of power between a central government and regional units
      • Separation of Powers : assignment of the lawmaking, law-enforcing, and law-interpreting functions of government to independent legislative, executive, and judicial branches
      • Checks and Balances : a government structure that gives each branch of government some scrutiny of and control over the other branches
  • The Constitution and the Electoral Process
  • Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances
  • The Final Product
    • Article I: The Legislative Article
      • Article I, Section 8 establishes the principle of enumerated powers in which Congress may exercise only the powers that the Constitution assigns to it by the “necessary and proper clause”
      • The last clause of Article I, Section 8 is the “necessary and proper clause,”
        • Establishes Congress’ implied powers
        • Implied powers : those powers that Congress needs to execute its enumerated powers
  • The Final Product
    • Article II: The Executive Article
      • Establishes the president’s term of office
      • Establishes the procedure for electing the president through the electoral college
      • Describes the qualifications for becoming president
      • Defines the president’s duties and powers
  • The Final Product
    • Article III: The Judicial Article
      • Left purposely vague due to disagreement over its provisions
      • Congress established a system of federal courts, separate from state courts
      • Article III does not explicitly give the courts the power of judicial review or authorize the court to invalidate congressional or presidential actions
  • The Final Product
    • The Remaining Articles
      • Article IV
        • Requires that the judicial acts and criminal warrants of each state be honored in all other states
        • Forbids discrimination against citizens of one state by another state
        • Allows the addition of new states
        • Stipulates that the national government will protect the states against foreign invasion and domestic violence
      • Article V: Method for Amending the Constitution
      • Article VI: Contains the supremacy clause : national laws take precedence over state and local laws when they conflict
      • Article VII: Ratification
  • The Final Product
    • The Framers’ Motives
      • Charles Beard argued that the Constitution was written by wealthy men to advance their own interests
      • Research has shown that government was not created to protect the wealth of the founders
      • Single most important issue: inability of national or state governments to maintain order under the Articles of Confederation
  • The Final Product
    • The Slavery Issue
      • Question could not have been resolved at the Constitutional Convention
      • Came to the surface in the debate on representation in the House (resolved by the “3/5 clause”)
      • Another central issue: the slave trade
        • Compromise: it would not be ended before 20 years had elapsed
        • Fugitive slaves would be returned to their masters
      • The founders essentially condoned slavery without mentioning it by name
        • Many of them agonized over it, but few did anything – they expected it to “wither away”
        • They were unable to transcend the limitations of the age in which they lived
  • Selling the Constitution
    • Federalists and Anti-federalists debated the merits of the new Constitution, as evidenced by the writings contained in the Federalist papers
    • The Bill of Rights emerged as a concession to gain the required number of votes needed for passage
      • The first ten amendments to the federal constitution
      • Prevent the national government from tampering with fundamental rights and civil liberties
      • Emphasize the limited character of the national government’s power
  • Constitutional Change
    • The Formal Amendment Process
      • Requires a two-stage process, proposal and ratification
      • Both are necessary for an amendment to become part of the Constitution
    • Interpretation by the Courts
      • Marbury v. Madison (1803) declared courts have power to nullify government acts that conflict with the Constitution
      • Has influenced the meaning and application of provisions of the Constitution
    • Political Practice
      • Has altered distribution of power without changing the Constitution
      • Example: President has come to overshadow Congress
  • Amending the Constitution
  • An Evaluation of the Constitution
    • Constitution lays out simple STRUCTURAL framework for government
    • Freedom, Order, & Equality in the Constitution
      • Provides a judicious balance between order and freedom
      • Pays virtually no attention to equality
      • Social equality is implicitly addressed in the 16 th Amendment, permitting national income tax
      • Political equality is addressed in 14 th , 15 th , 19 th , 23 rd , 24 th , 26 th and 28 th Amendments
    • The Constitution and Models of Democracy
      • Well-suited to pluralist model
      • Often at odds with majoritarian model
      • Created a REPUBLIC, based on majority consent -- not a DEMOCRACY, based on majority rule