Presentation on theme: "THE LIVING CONSTITUTION"— 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 CONSTITUTIONThe 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.Students should be able to describe the basic structure of the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.
4 Limited governmentThe 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 governmentElastic clause (Article I, Section 8)States remain important
6 Checks on majority rule The people rule only indirectlyBicameral legislature, with varying terms of office and different constituenciesIndirect election of the President and Senate (changed by Amendment XVII)Presidential appointment of judges and confirmation by the SenateCumbersome 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 Separation of powers & checks and balances 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).
11 CHECKS ON THE PRESIDENCY A single executiveIndirect election by an electoral collegeThe 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 partiesExpansion of the electorate and the move toward more direct democracyEstablishment of agencies deliberately designed to exercise legislative, executive, and judicial functionsChanges in technologyThe growth of presidential powerWhen parties are the same across the branches it can bridge the separation of powers a bit. Divided government leads to more separation—the branches are less trusting of each other.As the nation has aged, more people have been allowed to vote—more and more the people are checking the national government as well.New technologies, new media have allowed people more access to government to check it.
14 Modifications of Checks and Balances Direct PrimaryElection in which voters choose party nomineesInitiativeProcedure whereby a certain number of voters may, by petition, propose a law or constitutional amendment and have it submitted to the votersReferendumProcedure for submitting to popular vote measures passed by the legislature or proposed amendments to a state constitutionRecallProcedure 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 ReviewFederalists supported judicial reviewMarbury v.Madison (1803)Judiciary becomes the guardianJudicial review: The judiciary did not claim this power until years after the Constitution had been adopted. The document itself does not assign the power of interpreting its meaning, but Federalists generally supported a strong role for the courts and favored judicial review.In 1803, the Supreme Court gave itself judicial review in a landmark decision. Adams and the Federalists “packed” the judiciary which angered Jefferson as he took office. Marbury never received his commission and sued. The Judiciary Act of 1789 had given the Supreme Court the power to direct other officials to perform a duty. Marshall ruled that the Act was unconstitutional because Congress could not give power to another branch. Thus Marbury didn’t get his judgeship—which Jefferson wanted—but the Court got the power to say something is unconstitutional, which Jefferson had to agree with or he had to let Marbury have his position.
16 Informal Change: The Unwritten Constitution LO 3.1Over the years, the written Constitution has been filled out in numerous ways. Congressional elaboration is legislation that gives further meaning to the Constitution based on sometimes vague constitutional authority, such as the necessary and proper clause. When Congress uses impeachment, it is elaborating as the Constitution is very unclear.Presidents use executive orders, which carry the full force of law but do not require congressional approval. They also have used executive privilege, right to confidentiality, and impoundment (president takes funds).Judiciary establishes judicial review which has had far-reaching consequences.Political Parties have informally shaped what government does, i.e. reduced the importance of the electoral college.Many customs have developed in U.S. government that are not mentioned in the Constitution, i.e. the President’s Cabinet and other advisory groups. Senatorial courtesy is a custom in which the President seeks support from senators prior to a confirmation of an appointment to a government position.Informal Change: The Unwritten ConstitutionCongressional ElaborationPresidential PracticesExecutive OrdersExecutive AgreementsExecutive PrivilegeRight to confidentialityImpoundmentJudicial InterpretationPolitical PartiesCustomsAdvisors to the PresidentSenatorial courtesyBack to learning objectives16
17 Changing the Letter of the Constitution LO 3.1Changing the Letter of the ConstitutionTwo methods of proposing amendments. One is two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress or by national constitutional convention called by Congress at the request of two-thirds of the state legislatures.Two methods of ratifying amendments. One is three-fourths of legislatures agreeing or three fourths of states having ratifying conventions. All 27 amendments traveled from the first method of proposing to the first method of ratification except one, the 21st amendment which was ratified by conventions.ApproachesOriginalist - envisions the document as having a fixed meaning that might be determined by a strict reading of the text or the framers’ intentAdaptive - used to interpret the Constitution understanding the document to be flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the timesStudents should know the methods for Proposing and for Ratifying AmendmentsBack to learning objectives17
18 The foundations for a national free enterprise economy Concern that a system “too much upon the democratic order” would threaten private propertyConstitutional protections for property rightsArticle IV, Section 1Article VI, Section 1Article IV, Section 2Constitutional provisions aiding the emergence of a national free enterprise economyArticle 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 rulesApportion power and responsibility among governmental branchesDefine the fundamental nature of relationships between governmental institutionsSpecify how individuals are to be selected for officeTell how the rules themselves may be changed