Popular Sovereignty (people rule) Basic Principles 3 The Preamble to the Constitution begins with this bold phrase, “We the People...” These words announce that in the United States, the people establish government and give it its power. The people are sovereign. Since the government receives it power from the people, it can govern only with their consent.
How do we rule? Basic Principles 4 Voting and Participation. Voting: The people’s power comes in the form of democracy. We have the right to push into a touch screen our choices for our government. Participation: Running for elected positions and serving in government. Influencing your representatives in government.
Limited Government (pt1) Because the people are the source of government power, the government has only as much authority as the people give it. The rule of law applies. All citizens must obey the Constitution of the United States. 5 Basic Principles Authority
The limits on what the government can do, allows more protection of citizens’ rights. Limited Government (pt2) Much of the Constitution, in fact, consists of specific limitation on government power. Bill of Rights Protections for citizens means limits on government power. Article I Section 9 What Congress can’t do. Article II Clause 2 “but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.” 6 Basic Principles
Separation of Powers Basic Principles 7 Government power is not only limited: it is also divided. Government Power Limited Power
Separation of Powers The Constitution assigns specific powers to each of the three branches: Legislative (Congress), Executive (President) and Judicial (Supreme Court). 8 Basic Principles (Congress) ( President) ( Supreme Court)
Checks and Balances The system of check and balances extends the restrictions established by the separation of powers. 9 Basic Principles Each branch of government has the built-in authority and responsibility to restrain the power of the other two branches. This system makes government less efficient, but also prevents tyranny by one branch. (p68 in text)
Judicial Review One branch’s power to restrain the others was not provided in the text of the Constitution. The Judicial Branch’s ability to deem government acts (treaties, appointments, and legislation) unconstitutional grew from a famous court decision. Marbury v Madison (1803) 11 Basic Principles Before Marbury v. Madison(1803), all big profile cases were to be heard in courts created by Congress, according to the Judiciary Act of 1789. Congress called the shots.
Marbury v Madison (1803) Basic Principles 12 During the Adams administration, William Marbury sought the position of Justice of the Peace in Washington DC He was approved by the Senate, and (soon-to-be-leaving office), John Adams signed the appointment. In 1800 Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams. Time ran out and the appointments were left to Jefferson. President Jefferson tells Secretary of State James Madison to not deliver the appointments that had not yet been delivered. (Marbury’s included) Marbury sues Madison for not delivering his appointment to office, and uses the Judiciary Act of 1789 as his basis to be heard specifically in the Supreme Court.
Judicial Review Declared Chief Justice John Marshall declares the Judiciary Act unconstitutional as grounds to decide jurisdiction. (Congress can’t tell the Supreme Court what cases to hear.) By doing this, the Court had declared the acts of another branch unconstitutional. This power had not come from the Constitution, but through this decision. Judicial Review is born. Supreme Court’s power to review government acts, including cases with government officials, states, treaties.. 13 Basic Principles
Federalism A federal system divides power between a central government and smaller, local governments. This sharing of power is intended to ensure that the central government is powerful enough to be effective, but not threaten States or citizens. It also allows individual States to deal with local problems at the local level—so long as their actions are constitutional. 14 Basic Principles Federal Government State and Local Governments
Federalism The effect of a federal system of government is the differences of laws in each state. Examples: Speed limits Sale of alcohol Licensing Teachers Lawyers Marriage Basic Principles 15