The constitution


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The constitution

  1. 1. The Constitution: Simply put.
  2. 2. Fundamental Philosophy of theConstitution #1: Separation ofPowersThe powers of government (legislative, executive, judicial)are deliberately divided up into separate and equalbranches.The governments powers are divided in such a way toinsure that no one person or group has too much power."Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."
  3. 3. The Legislative BranchIn any government, someone has to have the power to makethe rules.Under the Constitution, that power rests with the UnitedStates Congress.
  4. 4. Controversy #1Fierce debate took place between large and small statesover how the states would be represented in Congress.Large states like _______ wanted to the number ofrepresentatives each state had to depend on __________.Small states like ______ wanted each state to have anequal amount of representatives.
  5. 5. The Solution: The Connecticut CompromiseAccording to this plan, the Congress would have two houses(bicameral legislature). In the lower house, called the __________________, each statehad representatives based on how many people lived in thatstate. More population = more representatives.The upper house, called the __________, would have two Senatorsfrom each state, regardless of population. Originally, the plan wasfor state legislatures to choose Senators, but that was laterchanged.
  6. 6. Controversy #2How would slaves count towards the total population?Northern states did not want them to count at all.Slaves were legally counted as property and property shouldnot count towards population.Southern states wanted them to count just like everyoneelse.
  7. 7. The Solution: The 3/5s Compromise3/5s of "all other persons" would count as population.(Indians would not count at all)If a states had 5000 slaves and 1000 whites, the populationwould be figured this way:population = white population + (3/5 * slave population)1000 + (3/5 * 5000) = population1000 + 3000 = population4000 = population
  8. 8. Answers to commonly asked questions about the House:-There are 435 Representatives from all the 50 states.-California has the most (53),followed by Texas (39),New York (29)and Florida (25).Mississippi has 4.
  9. 9. Congress main jobs.Congress‘ main job is to make laws to govern the nation.Congress also has other powers specifically given to it bythe Constitution.
  10. 10. Congress other jobs"The power of the purse" - Congress controls the Federalbudget, coins money, taxes and regulates commerce(trade).To establish and maintain a Navy and a post office.To declare war and approve treaties with other countries.BUT...Congress cannot pass any ___________,______________, nor suspend the right of __________(unless in cases of rebellion, invasion or for public safety)
  11. 11. The Executive BranchIn any government, someone has to have the power to "enforce,""execute" or "carry out" the law.Under our Constitution, that person is the President. His second incommand is the Vice-President
  12. 12. The PresidencyThe President and Vice-President are elected every four years bythe electoral college.The electoral college is made up of electors from each state.The number of electors each state has depends on the statespopulation.Voters do not vote for a candidate, but his/her electors. In moststates, its "winner takes all" - whoever wins the state gets all theelectors regardless of the margin of victory.
  13. 13. Electoral MathTo be President, a candidate must have a majority ofelectoral college votes, NOT popular votes. There havebeen 4 times a candidate won the popular vote, but lost theelection.Presidents John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford B. Hayes(1876), Benjamin H. Harrison (1888), and George W.Bush(2000) all won elections despite losing the popular vote.An elector can vote against the candidate they are pledgedto vote for, although 24 states have laws against this.
  14. 14. U.S. PresidentsThere have been 44 Presidents of the United States.George Washington was the first and only presidentelected unanimously.Barack Obama is the current president. He was 1st electedin 2008 and officially became president in January of2009.
  15. 15. Presidential PowersThe President cannot "do anything." There are limits to hispower.He is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, but hecannot declare war.He can propose new laws, but he cannot vote on them.The Vice-President serves as President of the Senate, buthe can only vote to break a tie.
  16. 16. The Judicial BranchIn any government, someone has to be able to settledisputes over the meaning of the laws.Under our Constitution, that power lies with the SupremeCourt and the lower Federal courts.
  17. 17. The Supreme CourtToday, the Supreme Court consists of 9 judges, calledJustices. There is a Chief Justice and 8 associate Justices.All Supreme Court Justices (and lower Federal Court judges) areappointed for life by the President. But their appointments have tobe approved by a 2/3 majority of the Senate.
  18. 18. Supreme Courts Power The Supreme Court only hears cases that deal with adispute over the meaning of the Constitution. It cannotmake a law nor enforce a law.If a law is declared unconstitutional, then the court hasruled that the particular law violates theConstitution. Since the Constitution is the "Supreme Law ofthe Land," any law that violates it is considered rejectedand cannot be legally enforced.The Court cannot overturn anything in the Constitution.
  19. 19. Important Supreme Court cases through the years.Marbury v. Madison - established the principle of judicialreview....that the court could overturn a law. (Article III)Brown v. Board of Education - said that racial segregation ineducation was unconstitutional. (14th Amendment)Gideon v. Wainwright - said that if you cannot afford anattorney, the court must provide one. (6th Amendment)Roe v. Wade - Said that the states did not have a legalright to outlaw abortion. (14th Amendment)
  20. 20. Checks and BalancesEach Branch has a power over the other one (check) butthat power is balanced by a power that the other Branchhas over it (balance).Examples: Congress can pass laws, but the President canveto (reject) them. Congress can override the veto with a2/3rds vote, but the Supreme Court can declare the lawunconstitutional. Of course, Congress could then turnaround and make the law a Constitutional Amendment, whichautomatically makes it constitutional.