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A Tradition of Democracy

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1 A Tradition of Democracy
Chapter Three A Tradition of Democracy The U.S. Constitution ~~~~~ A Flexible Document


3 A Flexible Constitution
Changing times may call for changes in the government The framers (writers) of the Constitution … knew that the plan they were creating would have to adapt to a growing nation planned a system that could adapt to meet changing conditions and changing needs The U.S. Constitution truly is a "living" document

4 American Then and Now 1790 13 states 2013 4 million people 50 states
14 territories 310 million people

5 Providing for Change One of the Constitution’s most important features is its flexibility Framers wrote the document to be adaptable to situations they could never have imagined There are two ways in which the Constitution and the government can be adapted to the changing needs and conditions of the country Formal process = amendment Informal process = government acts and customs

6 Changing the Constitution
Amendment = written change to the Constitution 27 amendments added since 1789 Article 5 - Amendment Process four possible ways to successfully add an amendment to the Constitution Proposing Ratifying Congress by a ⅔ vote in both houses ¾ of state legislatures (38 out of 50) ⅔ of state legislatures (34 out of 50) can ask Congress to call a national convention ¾ of state conventions (38 out of 50)

7 Removing Amendments After an amendment has become part of the written Constitution it can only be repealed, or canceled, by another amendment. 18th Amendment 1920 Alcohol Prohibition 1933 repealed by the 21st Amendment only amendment to use state conventions method to ratify

8 Changes in Government * Some changes in the federal government have come about through custom and tradition president’s cabinet political parties * When part of the Constitution is interpreted in a new way the federal government can change Congress may interpret a certain clause in the Constitution as giving it the authority to pass a particular law minimum wage Unwritten Constitution = Government traditions and customs seldom written down or passed into law Supreme Court determines constitutionality of interpretations

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