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Download The Constitution Chapter 3. Facts about the Constitution Written: 1787 Took Effect: 1789 “The Supreme Law of the Landâ€‌ – Highest form of law in the United

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The Constitution

The ConstitutionChapter 3Facts about the ConstitutionWritten: 1787Took Effect: 1789The Supreme Law of the LandHighest form of law in the United StatesProvides the Framework of our government7,000 words in the ConstitutionArticles: the 7 numbered sections of the ConstitutionI: Legislative BranchII: Executive BranchIII: Judicial BranchIV: Relations among the StatesV: Amending the ConstitutionVI: National debts, supremacy of national law, oaths of officeVII: Ratifying the ConstitutionPreamble: introduction to the ConstitutionAmendments: the 27 additions to the ConstitutionThe Basic Principles of the ConstitutionThere are six basic principles found in the Constitution.

Popular SovereigntyLimited GovernmentSeparation of PowersChecks and BalancesJudicial ReviewFederalismPopular SovereigntyIn the U.S. the people hold ALL political power.They are the SOURCE for any and all government powerThe government must have the CONSENT of the peopleThe national government draws its power from the people

Limited GovernmentThe government is NOT ALL POWERFULThe government can only do the things that the people have given it the power to do.THE GOVERNMENT MUST OBEY THE LAWConstitutionalism: the government must be conducted according to constitutional principlesRule of Law: the Government and its officers are always subject to the law, NEVER ABOVE IT.Separation of PowersThe powers of the government are divided among THREE distinct and independent branches.Legislative: Congress (lawmaking body)Executive: President (law executing, law enforcing, law administrating powers)Judicial: Supreme Court/Fed. Courts (Interpret and apply the laws of the United States to cases)

Checks and BalancesThe Constitution gives each of the three branches its own field of authorityThe three branches are tied together through the Checks and Balances system.Each branch is subject to a system of checks (restraints) by the other branches.Examples of Checks and Balances:Congress may pass lawsbut the President can veto them. The President can veto laws but Congress can override the veto with a 2/3 vote. The President and Congress may agree on a law. but the Supreme Court can declare a law unconstitutional. The President can appoint Judges .but the Senate must approve them. Supreme Court judges have life terms. but they can be impeached.

Checks and Balances

Judicial ReviewJudicial Review: the power of the courts to determine whether what the government does is in accord with what the Constitution allows.If something the government does goes against the Constitution, the courts can declare itUNCONSTITUTIONAL: to declare illegal, null and void, of no force and effectMarbury vs. Madison: the Supreme Court case that established the practice of judicial reviewFederalismFederalism: The division of power among a central government and several regional governmentThis allows the states to keep some powers.A Living DocumentThe Constitution was written over 200 years ago.The country and people have changed in those 200 years. The Constitution is, and is not, the same document it was in 1787.Some words have been changed, some have been eliminated, some things have been addedThe process of allowing the Constitution to be changed makes it a living documentIt can change as the times changeThe Formal Amendment ProcessAmendment: changes in the Constitutions written wordsThere are four methods by which the Constitution can be amended.

FIRST METHODSECOND METHODAmendment proposed by 2/3 vote in each house of CongressRatified by of State legislatures26 of 27 amendments have been adopted in this way.Amendment may be proposed by CongressRatified by of state conventions (meeting held in each state for purpose of discussing and voting on the proposal)THIRD METHODFOURTH METHOD2/3 of the State legislatures ask Congress for a National ConventionA National Convention is held at the request of CongressNational Convention proposes the amendment of State legislatures ratify the amendmentA national convention may propose an amendmentThe amendment could then be ratified by of conventions held in each state.The Formal Amendment Process

Proposed AmendmentsThere is only one restriction on possible amendmentsNo state, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.Nearly 15,000 joint resolutions calling for amendments have been proposed in Congress since 1789.Only 33 have been sent to the States, 27 have been ratified.Proposed Amendments that didnt make it into the Constitution:1810: Amendment would have voided the citizenship of anyone accepting a foreign title or honor.1861: Amendment would have prohibited forever any amendment relating to slavery1924: Amendment that would have given Congress the power to regulate child labor.1972: Amendment would have proclaimed the equal rights of womenThe AmendmentsThere are 27 Amendments to the ConstitutionThe first 10 amendments are called the BILL OF RIGHTSThe Bill of RightsBill of Rights:Freedom of Speech, Press, Assembly, Religion, PetitionRight to bear armsProhibited the quartering of soldiers in citizens homesProtection from illegal search and seizureDue process rights in court cases, protection from self-incriminationRight to a speedy trialRight to a civil case in amounts over $20Protection from cruel and unusual punishmentProtection of other rights of citizens not mentioned in the ConstitutionPowers not given to the United States by the Constitution are reserved to the states and the peopleThe Amendments11th Amendment: A citizen from one state cannot sue a citizen in another state in federal court.12th Amendment: Presidential electors will vote for President and Vice President on separate ballots.The Civil War/Reconstruction Amendments13th Amendment: Abolished slavery14th Amendment: Provided citizenship rights to former slaves. Defined Citizen as anyone born or naturalized in the United States.15th Amendment: The right to vote cannot be denied because of race, color, or previous condition of servitudeThe Amendments16th Amendment: Gives Congress the power to collect income taxes17th Amendment: Senators will be elected by the people of each state18th Amendment: PROHIBITION, the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol is prohibited.19th Amendment: The right to vote cannot be denied because of a persons sex (Women can vote)The Amendments20th Amendment: Shortened the period of time between when the elections took place and officials are sworn into office.Congress: Sworn in January 3, instead of March 4President: Sworn in January 20 insead of March 421st Amendment: Repealed prohibition. The sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol is legal again.22nd Amendment: Limits the President to 2 terms in office, and no more than 10 years total

The Amendments23rd Amendment: Washington D.C. gets 3 electoral votes24th Amendment: Eliminated the Poll Tax 25th Amendment: Established the process of Presidential Succession/DisabilityIf the President dies, the Vice President takes over, etc.Details what happens if the President is disabled26th Amendment: Reduces the voting age from 21 to 1827th Amendment: Congress can increase their salary, but dont get it until after the next election.

Other Ways to Change the ConstitutionThere are 5 other ways to change the Constitution:The passage of basic legislation by CongressActions taken by the PresidentKey decision of the Supreme CourtActivities of Political PartiesCustomLegislationCongress has been a part of constitutional change in two ways:They have passed laws to spell out several brief provisionsThe Framers left it this way so Congress could fill in the detail.Congress has added to the Constitution by the way in which it has used many of its powersCongress defines terms found in the Constitution by how they exercise their powersActions of the PresidentThe Constitution says that only Congress can declare war. But the President is the Commander in Chief of the military.Some Presidents have used the power to wage war without a declaration of war from Congress.Executive Agreement: a pact made by the President directly with the head of a foreign state.Treaty: A formal agreement between two or more sovereign states.Executive Agreements allow the President to get around the Constitutional requirement of Senate approval for a treaty.Supreme Court DecisionsThe Supreme Court interprets and applies the Constitution in the cases they hear.

Political Party PracticesThe Constitution does not provide for the nominations of candidates who run for President. Political parties hold national conventions to nominate their parties candidates.Congress is organized and run on the basis of party. (Majority/Minority Party)Appointments are made with politics in mind.Example: The President is a Democrat, he picks a Secretary of State who is a Democrat.CustomSome customs in government are just as strong as written law.The Cabinet (advisors to the President) is not in the Constitution, it is a custom.It was custom that the Vice President take over when the President died, until the 25th Amendment.Senatorial Courtesy: Custom that the Senate will not approve a Presidential appointment opposed by a majority party senator from the state in which an appointee will serve.NO THIRD TERM: This was a custom established by Washington. No President had served more than two terms until Franklin D. Roosevelt. 22nd Amendment made the two term limit law.

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