We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
B. The Articles
Divided into 7 articles, each of which is divided into smaller sections.
Article I: Legislative Branch
Article II: Executive Branch
Article III: Judicial Branch
Article IV: Relations Among the States
Article V: Amendments
Article VI: General Provisions
Article VII: Ratification
C. The Bill of Rights
1 st 10 amendments of Constitution
Placed restrictions on power of Federal government
Protected the Rights of citizens
Also Protected powers of States.
II. Formal methods of change
The Amendment process
A. The Amendment process
Allowed for the constitution to adapt to new and unforeseen issues.
While flexible, it is not an easy system to change.
Only 27 amendments have been passed.
The First 10 are the Bill of Rights.
Methods of proposing an amendment.
By congress with a 2/3 vote of both houses.
By constitutional convention at the request of 2/3 of the state legislatures.
Methods of ratification
By constitutional convention in ¾ of the states.
By legislature in ¾ of the states
III. Informal methods of Change
A. Basic Legislation
The Constitution is written in Broad language’
No lists or definitions are used.
Congress has the power to “regulate commerce”
Congress has passed laws to flesh out the framework work of the constitution.
Court system,Military, Federal Bureaucracy.
The Elastic Clause.
The Elastic Clause
Allows congress to make “ all laws that are necessary and proper ” to conduct the business of government.
Hamilton argued that this gave the Federal government Implied powers not specifically mentioned in the Constitution.
Department of Interior etc.
B. Executive action
Presidents have expanded the power of the Executive Branch.
T. Roosevelt and wildlife preserves
Executive Agreements versus Treaties.
Executive agreements not need senate approval.
Executive signing orders (Bush)
Presidential interpretations of the law
C. Court Decisions
The Power of interpretation
Judicial Review and Marbury vs Madison.
Plessy vs Ferguson
Brown vs Board.
Roe vs Wade.
D. Party Practices
States conduct elections, but parties run the nominating conventions.
The Electoral college is now more of a rubber stamp to political parties.
The formation of the cabinet
The Vice President replacing the President.
Actually spelled out in the 25 th amendment.
Presidential appointees are approved by senate that are acceptable to the state Senator.