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  1. 1.  The Constitution is the United States’ fundamental law  It is also “the supreme Law of the Land” meaning it is the highest form of law in the United States.
  2. 2.  It sets out the basic principles upon which government in the US was built and operates today.  Length/Size of:  Relatively brief document  7000 words  6 pages long
  3. 3.  Constitution is broken into (3) parts: 1. The Preamble 2. 7 numbered sections called Articles 3. The 27 Amendments
  4. 4.  Article I  Legislative Branch  Article II  Executive Branch  Article III  Judicial Branch  Article IV  State Relationship
  5. 5.  This part of the Constitution deals with: How formal amendments may be added.
  6. 6.  This part of the Constitution states: The Constitution is the nation’s supreme law. Oath of office
  7. 7.  This part of the Constitution deals with: The ratification of the Constitution.
  8. 8.  In the US, all political power resides in the people and is the only source for any and all governmental power.  Where does the National Government get its power? People/States
  9. 9. Define Constitutionalism Government must be conducted according to constitutional principles
  10. 10. Legislative, executive and judicial powers are distributed (separated) among 3 distinct and independent branches of the government.
  11. 11.  Framer’s purpose: Limit the powers of government
  12. 12.  The (3) branches of Federal government are tied together by a system of checks and balances  What does this mean?  Each branch can “check” the power of another
  13. 13.  Power divided between the legislative and executive branch between the 2 major parties.  Impact on government:  NOTHING gets done.
  14. 14.  Power of the courts to determine whether what government does is in accord with what the Constitution provides.  Definition:  Power to declare a government action illegal, null and void.
  15. 15.  Framers wanted a stronger central government.  And also wanted to keep the concept of self- government.
  16. 16.  The United States Constitution has been in force for over 200 years, making it the oldest written constitution in the world.
  17. 17.  Big difference is that the US is not the same country as it was in 1789.  Population over 300 million  50 States  World leader
  18. 18. 1. 1st Method: Proposal by Congress, ratification by state legislatures (used 26/27)
  19. 19.  2nd Method: Proposal by Congress, ratification by state conventions (used once)  21st Amendment: Congress felt conventions would reflect people’s views better than state legislatures.
  20. 20. 3rd Method: Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state conventions (never used) 4th Method: Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state legislatures (never used)
  21. 21.  More than 10,000 joint resolutions have been proposed to Congress since 1789.  Only 33 have been sent to states.  Failed Resolutions:  Equal Rights Amendment  Forbid abolishing slavery
  22. 22.  The first 10 Amendments to the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights – proposed in the 1st session of Congress in 1789.  Why were they proposed so quickly?  So the Anti-Federalists would ratify the Constitution.
  23. 23.  These amendments set out the great constitutional guarantees:  Of freedom of belief and expression,  of freedom and security of the person,  and of fair and equal treatment before the law.
  24. 24.  Change in Electoral College procedure: 1 vote for President and 1 vote for Vice President  Reason: Election of 1800 ended in a tie between members of same political party.
  25. 25.  13th Amendment  Abolish Slavery  14th Amendment Equal citizenship and protection under law  15th Amendment No denial of right to vote based on race Civil War Amendments
  26. 26. 18th Amendment 26th Amendment  Prohibition of selling, manufacturing , transporting alcohol.  Minimum voting age no higher than 18.
  27. 27.  Many changes have been made in the Constitution which have not inv0lved the Amendment process.  There are (5) ways this change can happen.
  28. 28.  Congress has been a major agent of constitutional change in two important ways: 1. passed laws to spell out some of the Constitution’s brief provisions 2. added to the Constitution by the way it has used many of its powers
  29. 29. Judiciary Act of 1789 Presidential Succession  Allows for Congress to set up lower federal courts.  Constitution says Vice-President takes over for President ; but Congress decides after that.
  30. 30.  The manner in which various Presidents have used their powers has also contributed to the growth of the Constitution.  Power to declare war:  Congress has this power; but every president has used military without Congressional Declaration of War.
  31. 31.  Define: pact made by the President directly with the head of a Foreign government.  Treaty = agreement with foreign country approved by Congress.  Executive agreements are used more often:  WHY? treaties are more cumbersome.
  32. 32.  The nation’s courts interpret and apply the Constitution in many cases they hear.  Marbury v. Madison
  33. 33.  No mention of political parties in the Constitution; yet they have been a major source of constitutional change.  Most Framers were opposed to political parties, but they have shaped the way are government operates.
  34. 34.  Neither the Constitution nor law provided for the nomination of a candidate for president.  Electoral College  Body that makes formal selection of President  What role do parties play in Congress?  Much of the business is organized and conducted based on the political parties  The President makes appointments with an eye on party politics.
  35. 35.  Unwritten custom may be as strong as written law, and many customs have developed in our governmental system.  There are many examples of this…
  36. 36.  The Cabinet (advisory body to President) is made up of the heads of the 15 executive departments  Custom established the precedent that the vice- president became president when there was a death in the office – What ended this custom?  The 25th Amendment  Senatorial Courtesy  President will ask senators from a state about a presidential appointee from that state.  Custom for Presidents to serve (2) terms:  22nd Amendment