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Basic Concepts of American Government Government is designed to protect citizen’s rights while managing national interests.

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Presentation on theme: "Basic Concepts of American Government Government is designed to protect citizen’s rights while managing national interests."— Presentation transcript:

1 Basic Concepts of American Government Government is designed to protect citizen’s rights while managing national interests.

2 Basic Notions of Democracy Each individual has worth All individuals are equal The majority should rule but must respect minority rights Compromise is necessary Each individual must have the widest possible degree of freedom The nation’s free enterprise economy reinforces the belief in individual freedom

3 Constitutional Principles Popular Sovereignty Separation of Powers Checks and Balances Limited Government Federalism

4 Popular Sovereignty People are the most important source of governmental power The government operates with the consent of the people The people hold the power Influenced by the Declaration of Independence and Rousseau Framers of Constitution valued because of their experience with a king What role does popular sovereignty play today?

5 Separation of Powers Prevents any one group from or individual from becoming too powerful so they divided the power:  Executive branch  Legislative branch  Judicial branch Framers feared a powerful king

6 Checks and Balances System that allows each branch to exert some control over the other branches, so that no branch becomes all powerful Each branch has specified ways to check the power of the other branches

7 Legislative Checks Overrides presidential vetoes Approves presidential appointments Approves treaties Taxes to provide services Provides for defense/declares war Regulates money and trade Impeaches officials

8 Executive Checks Can veto laws Appoints high officials Conducts foreign policy Enforces laws and treaties Commander in chief of the military Recommends bills to Congress Reports the state of the Union to Congress

9 Judicial Checks Settles legal disputes between states Settles state and federal disputes Settles disputes between States and foreign countries Hears cases with ambassadors of foreign governments Settles disputes between individuals and Federal Government Can rule laws passed by Congress as Unconstitutional

10 Limited Government No government is all-powerful A government may only do those things that people have given it the power to do Influenced by the Magna Carta Constitution contains many listed restraints on government power What are some of the limits we have seen while studying the Constitution?

11 Federalism The division of power among a central government and several regional governments Federal/national government, state government, county government, school districts Levels of government have specified powers:  National powers  Concurrent Powers=shared between state and national  Reserved Powers=State powers

12 The Division of Power National PowersConcurrent Powers State Powers Coin Money Regulate interstate and foreign trade Raise and maintain armed forces Declare war Conduct foreign relations Levy and collect taxes Borrow money Establish courts Define crimes and set punishments Claim private property for public use Regulate trade and business within state Establish public schools Pass license requirements for professionals Regulate alcoholic beverages Conduct elections

13 Premises of Government Due Process Rule of law Equal protection under the law

14 Due Process Government can not deprive individuals of life, liberty or property without proper notice of impending actions as stated in the 14 th Amendment In whatever it does, government must act fairly and in accord with established rules

15 Rule of Law No one or thing is above the law Government and its officers are always subject to law

16 Equal Protection Under the Law Everyone is treated the same under the law (14 th Amendment) Can not be based on race, religion, gender, etc.

17 Supremacy Clause US Constitution and Federal laws are the highest in the land States can not make laws that are in defiance of a federal law

18 Report Card Your Assignment: Answer the following question by creating a report card for government. Question: How is our government doing in fulfilling its purposes and guidelines?

19 Instructions On a piece of white paper create a chart similar to this, but just pick 3 of the purposes/guidelines. Purpose/GuidelineLetter GradeExplanation (3 -5 sentence minimum with specific examples) Popular Sovereignty Separation of Powers Checks and Balances Limited Government Federalism Due Process Rule of Law Equal Protection


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