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THE LIVING CONSTITUTION The oldest written Constitution in the world, also one of the shortest. Only has 4,543 words. Each article is very specific Constitutions.

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Presentation on theme: "THE LIVING CONSTITUTION The oldest written Constitution in the world, also one of the shortest. Only has 4,543 words. Each article is very specific Constitutions."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE LIVING CONSTITUTION The oldest written Constitution in the world, also one of the shortest. Only has 4,543 words. Each article is very specific Constitutions. Americans revere the Constitution—nine of ten adults are proud of it—even when they do not know what is in it.

2 THE CONSTITUTION  The Constitution is one of the major structural factors that has influenced the evolution of American government.  Only 27 formal amendments have been added in more than 200 years. zStudents should be able to describe the basic structure of the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

3 © 2004 Michael Ventura/Folio The Final Document zPopular sovereignty zA republican government zA limited government zSeparation of powers zA federal system where both the national and the state governments each had their own sphere of influence

4 Limited government  The Constitution lists specific powers of the national government (Article I, Section 8) and specifically denies others (Article I, Section 9).  The Bill of Rights imposes restraints on the national government by protecting fundamental rights of citizens.

5 FEDERALISM  Division of Powers  Relatively strong central government.  Supremacy clause (Article VI, Section 2)  Important powers assigned to the national government  Elastic clause (Article I, Section 8)  States remain important

6 Checks on majority rule  The people rule only indirectly  Bicameral legislature, with varying terms of office and different constituencies  Indirect election of the President and Senate (changed by Amendment XVII)  Presidential appointment of judges and confirmation by the Senate  Cumbersome and difficult amendment process

7 Separation of powers & checks and balances  During the American Revolution, American leaders worried primarily about the misrule of executives and judges.  Those who drafted the Constitution were more afraid of the danger of legislative tyranny.  The framers turned to the idea of mixed or balanced government, which had been popularized by the French philosopher Montesquieu.

8  Executive, legislative, and judicial powers in different branches (separation of powers).  No branch can control all powers or dominate the other branches.  Legislative, executive, and judicial powers check one another and share power (checks and balances). Separation of powers & checks and balances

9 Separation of Powers & Checks and balances

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11 CHECKS ON THE PRESIDENCY  A single executive  Indirect election by an electoral college  The House of Representatives would choose a president if no one received a majority of electoral votes.

12 CHECKS ON THE PRESIDENCY Two U.S. Presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, have been impeached. Nixon resigned before impeachment.

13 Modifications of Checks and Balances  The rise of national political parties  Expansion of the electorate and the move toward more direct democracy  Establishment of agencies deliberately designed to exercise legislative, executive, and judicial functions  Changes in technology  The growth of presidential power

14 Modifications of Checks and Balances Direct Primary Election in which voters choose party nominees Initiative Procedure whereby a certain number of voters may, by petition, propose a law or constitutional amendment and have it submitted to the voters Referendum Procedure for submitting to popular vote measures passed by the legislature or proposed amendments to a state constitution Recall Procedure for submitting to popular vote the removal of officers from office before the end of their term

15 Judicial Review and the “Guardians of the Constitution” Judicial Review: the power to strike down a law or a government regulation that judges believe conflicts with the Constitution. Origins of Judicial Review Federalists supported judicial review Marbury v.Madison (1803) Judiciary becomes the guardian

16 Informal Change: The Unwritten Constitution Congressional Elaboration Presidential Practices Executive Orders Executive Agreements Executive Privilege Right to confidentiality Impoundment Judicial Interpretation Political Parties Customs Advisors to the President Senatorial courtesy

17 Changing the Letter of the Constitution Approaches Originalist - envisions the document as having a fixed meaning that might be determined by a strict reading of the text or the framers’ intent Adaptive - used to interpret the Constitution understanding the document to be flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the times zStudents should know the methods for Proposing and for Ratifying Amendments

18 The foundations for a national free enterprise economy  Concern that a system “too much upon the democratic order” would threaten private property  Constitutional protections for property rights  Article IV, Section 1  Article VI, Section 1  Article IV, Section 2  Constitutional provisions aiding the emergence of a national free enterprise economy  Article 1, Sections 8-10

19 The Changing Constitution, Democracy, and American Politics  The Constitution is the basic rule book for the game of American politics.  Constitutional rules  Apportion power and responsibility among governmental branches  Define the fundamental nature of relationships between governmental institutions  Specify how individuals are to be selected for office  Tell how the rules themselves may be changed


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