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Major Principles of Government

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Presentation on theme: "Major Principles of Government"— Presentation transcript:

0 Principles Underlying the Constitution
Objective: I can explain how the U.S. Constitution incorporates basic principles which help define the government of the United States as a federal republic including its structure, powers, and relationship with the governed.

1 Major Principles of Government
Details in the Constitution fall under 5 fundamental principles popular sovereignty; rule of law; separation of powers; checks and balances; and federalism These principles are the foundation on which our government is built.

2 Major Principles of Government
Article IV guarantees the American people “a Republican Form of Government.” Republic can mean any representative government headed by an elected president or similar leader rather than a leader who inherits the position

3 Major Principles of Government
However, to the framers a republic was a representative democracy Representative democracy=power belongs to the people, who express their will through elected representatives This idea was important to the early English colonists who came to America.

4 Popular Sovereignty The idea that the power of gov’t lies with the people Popular in this case=the population or public; Sovereignty=the right to rule

5 Popular Sovereignty Decl. of Ind. is a statement about popular sovereignty It says that gov’ts should draw their powers “from the consent of the governed” Same idea echoed in the “We the People” phrase in the beginning of the Constitution

6 Popular Sovereignty Constitution includes several provisions that protect and ensure or guarantee, the sovereignty of the people. The will of the people is expressed most strongly through elections. By a majority vote, citizens decide who will represent them in Congress. Through the Electoral College, the people also choose the president and vice president.

7 Popular Sovereignty Elected officials are always accountable to the people. Elections are regularly scheduled, and voters can reject and replace representatives who serve them poorly.

8 Partner Questions What is popular sovereignty?
What are two examples of popular sovereignty? How are the peoples’ sovereignty protected in the Constitution?

9 Rule of Law Framers believed gov’t should be strong, but not too strong Included in the Constitution the principle of limited government, which means that government can do only what the people allow it to do

10 Rule of Law “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself” James Madison, The Federalist, No. 51

11 Partner Question What does James Madison’s quote mean? Explain

12 Rule of Law Under the Constitution, the gov’t is also limited by the rule of law. This means that the law applies to everyone, even those who govern. No one may break the law or escape its reach.

13 Partner Question What is limited government? What is the rule of law?

14 Separation of Powers To protect against abuse of power and the possibility of one person or group gaining too much power, the Framers divided the federal gov’t into 3 branches, each with diff. functions

15 Separation of Powers The Framers were influenced by the ideas of French philosopher Baron de Montesquieu Montesquieu believed that the best way to safeguard the liberty of the people was to clearly separate the legislative, executive, and judicial functions of gov’t and assign, or appoint, each to a separate branch of gov’t This division of authority is called separation of powers

16 Partner Questions What is the separation of powers?
How many branches are there in the Constitution? Identify each branch found in the Constitution.

17 Checks and Balances Even with the separation of powers, the Framers feared that one branch of gov’t could dominate the other two. In order to prevent any one of the three branches from becoming too powerful, the Framers of the Constitution also included a system of checks and balances.

18 Checks and Balances Under this system, each branch of gov’t is able to check, or limit, the power of the others.

19 Partner Questions What is checks and balances?
Look at the chart on page 88 of checks and balances-circle=HOMEWORK Answer questions 1 & 2

20 Federalism Federalism=power is shared by the national gov’t and the states. Each level of gov’t-national and state-has independent authority over people at the same time Americans must obey both federal and state laws

21 Federalism Three Types of Power Enumerated or Expressed Powers
Powers specifically granted to the national gov’t Reserved Powers Powers that the Constitution does not give to the national gov’t are kept by the states Concurrent Powers Powers that both levels of gov’t can exercise

22 Federalism Expressed Powers (National Gov’t)
Coin Money, Maintain army and navy, Declare war, Regulate trade between states and with foreign nations, Carry out all expressed powers

23 Federalism Reserved Powers (State Gov’ts)
Regulate trade within a state, protect public welfare and safety, establishing schools, making rules for marriage and divorce, conduct elections, establish local gov’ts

24 Federalism Concurrent Powers (National and State Gov’ts)
Establish courts, enforce laws, collect taxes, borrow money, provide for general welfare, Set up prisons

25 Partner Questions What is federalism? What is expressed powers?
What is reserved powers? What is concurrent powers? ***Be Sure to Know Examples of Expressed, Reserved, and Concurrent Powers***

26 The Supremacy Clause In a federal system, the laws of a state and the laws of the nation may conflict. To deal with this possibility, the Framers included the supremacy clause. Found in Article VI, the supremacy clause states that the Constitution and other laws and treaties made by the national gov’t “shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”

27 The Supremacy Clause Because the Constitution is the highest law, the national gov’t is not supposed to act in violation of it. Likewise, states may do nothing that goes against either the Constitution or federal law

28 Partner Question What is the supremacy clause?
Can laws conflict with the Constitution? Why or why not?

29 The Supremacy Clause “I am persuaded no constitution was ever before so well calculated as ours for...self-government.” Thomas Jefferson’s letter to James Madison



32 Partner Question pg. 90 1. Write a paragraph about the U.S. Constitution using the following group of words-popular sovereignty, rule of law, separation of powers, checks and balances, expressed powers, reserved powers, concurrent powers.

33 Partner Questions pg. 90 2. Why did the Framers include the principles they did in writing the Constitution? How is the power to govern shared under the principle of federalism?

34 Partner Questions pg. 90 What are the five principles of government embodied in the United States Constitution? Explain each of the listed principles in the Constitution-Popular Sovereignty, Rule of Law, Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances

35 Partner Questions pg. 90 In what ways has the system of checks and balances helped avoid conflict between the branches of government?

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