The Constitution

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The Constitution

  1. 1. Outline of the U.S. Constitution • The Constitution is the instruction manual / rulebook for U.S. government = THE HIGHEST LAW OF THE LAND • Preamble - introduction to the Constitution; describes what the goals of our gov’t are
  2. 2. • The Constitution has 7 articles, or sections • Article I - the Legislative branch • Article II - the Executive branch • Article III - the Judicial branch
  3. 3. • Article IV - Relationships between states • Article V - Amending the Constitution • Article VI - National Law • Article VII - Ratifying the Constitution
  4. 4. Six Basic Principles • 1.) Popular sovereignty - gov’t only exists because the people give it power to exist (people rule gov’t) • 2.) Limited government - gov’t is not all- powerful – Constitutionalism - the gov’t must be run according to the Constitution – Rule of Law - gov’t has to obey the law just like everyone else
  5. 5. • 3.) Separation of Powers - powers of gov’t are divided between 3 branches: legislative, executive, and judicial – Power spread out across gov’t instead of all in one place (dangerous)
  6. 6. Legislative Branch • L is for LAW-MAKING • This branch makes the laws for our country • Made up by Congress (includes House of Representatives and the Senate)
  7. 7. Executive Branch • E is for ENFORCE • This branch enforces the laws • Led by the president; includes 15 executive departments, and independent agencies
  8. 8. Judicial Branch • J is for JUDGING • This branch judges (and interprets) what the law means • Makes sure gov’t actions follow the Constitution • Led by the Supreme Court; includes court systems
  9. 9. • 4.) Federalism - our gov’t is divided between one national gov’t and 50 state gov’ts – Ex: a house (U.S. gov’t) with 50 rooms (each states gets their own room)
  10. 10. • 5.) Judicial Review - the power of the courts to declare a law unconstitutional – Ex: Marbury v. Madison (1819 Supreme Court case that established judicial review)
  11. 11. • 6.) Checks and Balances - the branches of gov’t limit each other’s power – Makes sure no one branch is more powerful than the other – All the branches of gov’t ARE EQUAL.
  12. 12. Amending the Constitution • The Constitution is a “living” document because we can change it • Amendment - a change/edit to the Constitution – 27 amendments to the Constitution – First 10 amendments = the Bill of Rights (1791)
  13. 13. How to Amend the Constitution MAIN WAY: • Amendment suggested and passed by 2/3 of Congress then passed by 3/4 of the state legislatures (38 states)
  14. 14. The Bill of Rights • Your protections against the gov’t • 1.) Freedom of: speech, religion, assembly, press, petition • 2.) right to bear arms • 3.) no quartering (housing) troops • 4.) right to privacy • 5.) due process, double jeopardy, self- incrimination (remain silent)
  15. 15. • 6.) right to public and speedy trial, counsel (lawyer), trial by jury • 7.) civil (non-criminal cases) • 8.) no cruel and unusual punishment; excessive bail and fines • 9.) people have rights not in Constitution • 10.) powers not given to federal gov’t are reserved to the states
  16. 16. Other Noteworthy Amendments • 13th - abolished slavery • 14th - applied due process (fairness) to state laws; citizenship • 15th – no racial discrimination in voting • 19th - women got the right to vote • 22nd - president has 2 term limits • 26th - 18 years+ to vote
  17. 17. Explore the Constitution • GO THROUGH ARTICLES 1-3 AND MAKE NOTES: – What makes up each branch – The qualifications to be in each branch – The powers of each branch – PUT DOWN REFERENCES FOR EACH – EX: Congress declares war (Art. I Sec. 8 Cl. 11)
  18. 18. Ch. 3 Quiz • Legislative branch • Executive branch • Judicial branch • Popular sovereignty • Federalism • Judicial review • Limited government • Separation of powers • Checks and balances • Rule of law
  19. 19. Influences on the U.S. Constitution JOHN LOCKE (1632-1704) • Believed that rights like life, liberty, and property could not be taken away • To keep peace, people needed to create a contract with their gov’t • Common people generally unfit to rule
  20. 20. MONTESQUIEU (1689- 1755) • Believed that the best kind of gov’t had legislative, executive, and judicial powers that were all separate, equal, and kept each other in line • Supported people’s right to rule
  21. 21. JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1712-1788) • Skeptical of democracy (esp. direct) - it is chaotic and unrealistic • The best gov’t is one under which people prosper • Gov’t will eventually abuse its power and break its contract with its people • All gov’ts eventually end (there is no perfect gov’t)

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