An Overview of the
U.S. Constitution
A PowerPoint presentation for
Teacher Doug’s advanced U.S.
History course
October 26,...
Contrast:
The Articles of Confederation (1781)
and the U.S. Constitution (1789)
• Structure?
• Legislature?
• Other branch...
Contrast: Structure
Articles of Confederation
• Loose alliance of
independent states
U.S. Constitution
• National governme...
Contrast: Legislature
Articles of Confederation
• Unicameral (one-
house) law-making
body: Congress
U.S. Constitution
• Bi...
Contrast: Other Branches
Articles of Confederation
• No executive or
judicial branches
U.S. Constitution
• Executive branc...
Contrast: Taxation
Articles of Confederation
• Only states can tax
U.S. Constitution
• Congress also has
the power to tax
Contrast: Currency
Articles of Confederation
• Only states can coin
money
U.S. Constitution
• Only national
government can...
Contrast: Trade
Articles of Confederation
• No effective
regulation of trade
between states
U.S. Constitution
• National g...
Contrast: Power
Articles of Confederation
• Most power held by
the individual states
U.S. Constitution
• Most power held b...
The Constitution in Brief
• Article I: Legislative Branch
• Article II: Executive Branch
• Article III: Judicial Branch
• ...
Article I: Legislative Branch
• Senate and the House of Representatives
– Representatives: elected for two-year terms
• Mu...
Article I: Legislative Branch
• Some Notable Powers of Congress
– Pay off national debt
– Borrow money
– Punish counterfei...
Article II: Executive Branch
• President: Commander in Chief
– Must be born in the U.S. or to U.S. parents
• At least 35 y...
Article II: Executive Branch
• Powers of the President
– Oath: “preserve, protect, and defend the
Constitution of the Unit...
Article III: Judicial Branch
• United States Supreme Court
– One Chief Justice
– How many Associate Justices?
• Judicial p...
Article IV: State Powers
• An attempt to balance federal power with
state authority
– State records shall be given full fa...
Article V: Amendments
• In order to propose an amendment,
– 2/3 approval of both Houses of Congress OR
– 2/3 approval of s...
Article VI: Power of Law
• Constitution is the supreme law of the land
– Contracts and debts before the Constitution
shall...
Article VII: Ratification
• In order to ratify the Constitution, the
consent of how many state conventions
was necessary?
...
Amendments
• Bill of Rights (1-10)
– Why were these ten amendments added to
the Constitution in 1791?
– Which one of the f...
Be prepared for a 25-point quiz in
the not-too-distant future about
the Constitution.
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Constitution

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Constitution

  1. 1. An Overview of the U.S. Constitution A PowerPoint presentation for Teacher Doug’s advanced U.S. History course October 26, 2005
  2. 2. Contrast: The Articles of Confederation (1781) and the U.S. Constitution (1789) • Structure? • Legislature? • Other branches? • Taxation? • Currency? • Trade? • Power?
  3. 3. Contrast: Structure Articles of Confederation • Loose alliance of independent states U.S. Constitution • National government representing all Americans
  4. 4. Contrast: Legislature Articles of Confederation • Unicameral (one- house) law-making body: Congress U.S. Constitution • Bicameral (two- house) law-making body: Congress – Senate (Upper House) – House of Represent- atives (Lower House)
  5. 5. Contrast: Other Branches Articles of Confederation • No executive or judicial branches U.S. Constitution • Executive branch – President – Cabinet • Judicial branch – Supreme Court – Appellate courts
  6. 6. Contrast: Taxation Articles of Confederation • Only states can tax U.S. Constitution • Congress also has the power to tax
  7. 7. Contrast: Currency Articles of Confederation • Only states can coin money U.S. Constitution • Only national government can coin money
  8. 8. Contrast: Trade Articles of Confederation • No effective regulation of trade between states U.S. Constitution • National government regulates trade between states
  9. 9. Contrast: Power Articles of Confederation • Most power held by the individual states U.S. Constitution • Most power held by the national government in conjunction with the state governments • Federalism: states subordinate power to central government
  10. 10. The Constitution in Brief • Article I: Legislative Branch • Article II: Executive Branch • Article III: Judicial Branch • Article IV: State Powers • Article V: Amendments • Article VI: Power of Law • Article VII: Ratification • Amendments (Bill of Rights plus 11-27)
  11. 11. Article I: Legislative Branch • Senate and the House of Representatives – Representatives: elected for two-year terms • Must be 25 yrs. old, citizen 7 yrs., and live in state • Numbers based on pop.; census every 10 yrs. – Senators: elected for six-year terms • Only 2 senators per state; staggered elections • Must be 30 yrs. old, citizen 9 yrs., and live in state • Vice President = President of the Senate
  12. 12. Article I: Legislative Branch • Some Notable Powers of Congress – Pay off national debt – Borrow money – Punish counterfeiting – Create laws – Declare war – Raise an army – Maintain national roads
  13. 13. Article II: Executive Branch • President: Commander in Chief – Must be born in the U.S. or to U.S. parents • At least 35 years old; 14 years resident of the U.S. – Elected to a four-year term • Chosen by the Electoral College – Electors = total number of a state’s representatives plus senators – Most votes = President; Second-most votes = V.P. » Process changed by the 12th Amendment
  14. 14. Article II: Executive Branch • Powers of the President – Oath: “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” – Grant pardons for offenses against U.S. – Appoint ambassadors – Appoint nominees for the Supreme Court – Appoint temporary Senate vacancies – Deliver annual State of the Union address
  15. 15. Article III: Judicial Branch • United States Supreme Court – One Chief Justice – How many Associate Justices? • Judicial power extends to all cases – Authority over all government officials – Can declare any act unconstitutional • Trial by jury in all cases - except impeachment - in the state of the crime
  16. 16. Article IV: State Powers • An attempt to balance federal power with state authority – State records shall be given full faith + credit – State citizens are entitled to certain privileges – Extradition for crimes state to state – Admission of new states – U.S. guarantees a republican form of govt. and protection from invasion and rebellion
  17. 17. Article V: Amendments • In order to propose an amendment, – 2/3 approval of both Houses of Congress OR – 2/3 approval of state governments is needed • In order to ratify an amendment, – 3/4 approval of both Houses of Congress OR – 3/4 approval of state governments is needed • When was the last time that an amend- ment was ratified? (Hint: #27)
  18. 18. Article VI: Power of Law • Constitution is the supreme law of the land – Contracts and debts before the Constitution shall be valid under the Constitution – All government officials are bound by an oath of office to support the Constitution – No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for any office
  19. 19. Article VII: Ratification • In order to ratify the Constitution, the consent of how many state conventions was necessary? • When the Constitution was ratified on September 17, 1787, how many of the states present supported the idea? – Which state was admitted into the Union first? – What did this signify?
  20. 20. Amendments • Bill of Rights (1-10) – Why were these ten amendments added to the Constitution in 1791? – Which one of the first ten amendments do you think is the most important? Explain why. • Amendments 11-27 – Which one of these amendments do you think is the most important? Explain why.
  21. 21. Be prepared for a 25-point quiz in the not-too-distant future about the Constitution.

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