US Constitutional LawHistory and Basic Principles
What We Already Know● Name the three branches of government.● What does each do?● Give examples of how they check one another.● How is the President elected?● How and how often are the members of Congress elected?● How are federal judges selected? How long do they serve?
What We Are Going to Learn● How federalism works in America and what this has to do with President Obamas health care law.● What specific powers each branch has.● The kinds of cases the Supreme Court can hear.● The protections granted to individuals and the role the Court plays in enforcing these protections.
The Beginning● 1492: Italian explorer Christopher Columbus lands in the “new world.”● 1507: First time “new world” is labeled as “America.”● 1513: Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon lands in German cartographer Martin Waldseemüllers world map, the earliest known use of “America” present-day Florida
First Settlements● 1565: founding of St. Augustine● 1607: Jamestown colony founded● 1614: New Amsterdam founded● 1620: Pilgrims land on The Mayflower “Plymouth rock”.
Consolidation of Power● 1674: Dutch cede territory ● 1763: Britain consolidates to Britain. power after Seven Years War● 1732: 13 British colonies now exist from Mass. to Georgia.● 1754: Proposal to form common defense policy defeated by colonial legislatures.
Seeds of Conflict● 1765 – Parliament passes Stamp Act – 9 of 13 colonies meet in secret congress. – Parliament repeals Act but gives self authority to pass laws regarding colonies.
Beginning of the End● 1773: residents of Boston throw tea into Boston harbor in response to new taxes.● 1774: Parliament passed “Intolerable Acts” Nathaniel Curriers 1846 depiction of the Boston Tea Party
Prelude to War● 1774: 13 colonies form ● 1775: 2nd Continental Continental Congress formed. Association.● 1775: Parliament passes New England Restraining Acts● 1775: Battle of Lexington and Concord British entering Concord
To Sum UpNo More Kings childrens video created by the Schoolhouse Rock project as part of the 1976 Bicentennial celebration. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-9pDZMRCpQ
Beginnings of a Union● 1775: Second ● Powers of the Continental Congress Congress – All 13 colonies – Form army represented – Obtain loans – Continental army formed – Issue money under command of Washington. – NO power to tax! – Olive Branch Petition rejected by King
1776● May ● June – congress instructs all – Resolutions of colonies to form Independence first “revolutionary proposed. governments.” – Committee of five – Virginia convention appointed to draft formal instructs its delegates to declaration propose declaration of ● Adams, Jefferson, Franklin independence.
Declaration of IndependenceAdopted July 4th– What are the grievances?– Principles of governance listed?
Independence● 1776 – committee formed to create “Articles” of statehood.● 1781 – Articles of Confederation adopted by 13 states.● 1781 – war ends with the surrender of Cornwallis.● 1783 – Britain formally recognizes United States of America.
American Constitutional Law Articles of Confederation
Articles 1 - 3● Establishes the name of the confederation as "The United States of America."● "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated."● Establishes the United States as a new nation, a sovereign union of sovereign states
Article 4 - 6● Article 4 - Establishes freedom of movement and defines which government entity shall define rights.● Article 5 – defines voting rights of each state in new Congress.● Article 6 – defines who conducts foreign relations and under what circumstances a state can have a standing army.
Articles 7 - 9● Article 7 – sets forth how federal army will be formed.● Article 8 – sets forth how federal government will be funded.● Article 9 - defines the powers of the central government. – Declare war, set weights & measures, settle disputes between states.
Articles 10 - 13● Article 10 – creates government when Congress is not in session.● Article 11 – sets forth requirements for admission of new states.● Article 12 – deals with debts from Revolutionary War.● Article 13 – reaffirms idea of perpetual union and says all changes must be by unanimous vote of the states.
Result: a weak federal government● No power to tax – Power to raise army is meaningless without this.● No direct representation – Representatives are chosen by state legislature.● Changes must be made by unanimous vote● States are binding themselves for limited purposes. – This is more of a treaty or association, than a country.
New Jersey vs. Virginia Plans● Both sought to change the nature of the federal government.● New Jersey plan sought to protect the power of the smaller states.● Virginia plan sought to enhance the power of the larger states.● Neither plan truly envisioned a completely new constitution.
The U.S. Constitution● A series of compromises in response to divisions between: – North and South, Big and Small, Federalist and Anti-Federalist● Draft Constitution was adopted by Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787 – 39 of 55 delegates from 12 states voted in favor – Rhode Island did not send a delegation● All 13 states eventually voted in favor of the new Constitution. – Rhode Island being the last state in 1790.
Basic Principles● Popular Sovereignty – A government created for the people, by the people. ● By the people – the “peoples representatives” wrote and adopted the structure. ● For the people – to serve the people, not monarchy, not special interests.● Rule of Law – A government guided by a set of laws, rather than by any individual or group entity. ● Think of how common law began.
Basic Principles● Judicial Review – The establishment of the Supreme Court as the judicial branchs authoritative institution, and the resulting power of judicial review.● Individual Rights – Protection of individual rights and liberties against government encroachment.
Basic Principles● Separation of Powers and a System of Checks and Balances – A separation of powers and distribution of functions and responsibilities among three separate government branches, and a system of checks and balances to calibrate those powers.● Federalism – A federalist system whereby governing power is shared between the national government and the individual state governments.