Presentation on theme: " While signing the Constitution legend has it Ben Franklin had tears streaming down his face. ◦ GW’s chair had sun ◦ Rising or setting- rising!"— Presentation transcript:
While signing the Constitution legend has it Ben Franklin had tears streaming down his face. ◦ GW’s chair had sun ◦ Rising or setting- rising!
Preamble, or intro, to Constitution lists 6 major goals of American govt. 6 goals: 1. To form a more perfect union 2. To establish justice 3. To insure domestic tranquility 4. To provide for the common defense 5. To promote the general welfare 6. To secure the blessings of liberty
1.Form a more perfect union ◦ Framers felt states had to agree to operate as 1 country & cooperate on major issues. 2. Establish justice ◦ Const. provides a national system of courts to: Protect peoples’ rights Hear cases about violations of federal law Settle disputes btwn. states.
3.Insure domestic tranquility ◦ Constitution provides a strong central govt. to keep peace among the people. 4. Provide for the common defense ◦ Constitution gives federal govt. power to maintain armed forces & protect the citizens.
5. Promote the general welfare ◦ Constitution provides ways for govt. to promote general well-being of the people. 6. Secure the blessings of liberty ◦ Constitution guarantees people’s basic rights. ◦ For current & future generations
Const rests on 7 major principles: (1) popular sovereignty, (2) republicanism, (3) limited government, (4) federalism, (5) separation of powers (6) checks and balances (7) individual rights.
Popular sovereignty means “the authority of the people” or people rule ◦ U.S. govt. gets its power from the people. Under republicanism people choose their govt leaders.
Limited govt. makes certain that govt. only has powers the people grant/give it. Federalism is a system in which power to govern/rule is shared btwn. national govt. & states.
Constitution defines 3 types of powers. ◦ Enumerated powers belong only to federal govt. ◦ Reserved powers are powers retained by states. ◦ Concurrent powers are powers shared by state & federal govts.
First 3 articles of Const establish rules for 3 branches : ◦ Executive- President ◦ Legislative- Congress ◦ Judicial- Supreme Court To keep 1 branch/person from becoming too powerful 3 branches ÷ powers/duties
Framers established system of checks and balances- each branch of the govt can check/limit power of other branches.
The Framers Were Geniuses ◦ Smart enough to know they weren’t the smartest ever & didn’t know everything ◦ Made a process to amend or change Const. Gave Congress power to grow w/ times ◦ Only 27 amendments to Const. (counting 1 st 10- Bill of Rights)
The amendment process discourages frequent or minor changes to Const. An amendment can be proposed in 2 ways: ◦ by vote of 2/3 of both houses of Congress ◦ by 2/3 of state legislatures asking for a special convention on the amendment.
· Principle of individual rights guaranteed by Bill of Rights (1 st 10 amendments to Constitution)
Since 1789 more than 9,000 amendments have been proposed! This makes it even more amazing that only 27 have been ratified ◦ Only 17 since 1791 Some of the Bill of Rights: ◦ 1 st amendment- freedom of speech, press, assembly, petition & religion ◦ 2 nd amendment- right to bare arms ◦ 4 th amendment- no illegal searches & seizures ◦ 5 th amendment- rights of the accused ◦ 6 th amendment- right to trial by jury
Civil War Amendments ◦ Amendments 13-15 ◦ they happened right after Civil War ◦ they were created to help former slaves 13 ended slavery 14 guaranteed citizenship & Const. rights for African Americans 15 right to vote for African American men
Other Voting Amendments ◦ 19 th amendment gave women vote in 1919! ◦ 26 th amendment set voting age to 18
“Elastic clause” of Const. mean that Congress has certain implied powers, powers not specifically defined in Const. Power to make all “necessary and proper” laws
Congress has used the “commerce clause” of Const. to expand its powers in a number of areas. Commerce Clause ◦ Article 1 section 8 clause 3- Commerce Clause Power to regulate trade This has been necessary to change w/ the times Examples: regulation of airline industry, radio & TV & nuclear energy.
Constitution describes role & powers of president in general terms. precedents ◦ Much of what president does is based on precedents or actions of previous presidents Cabinet Washington set up 1 st Cabinet – group of advisors Every prez. since has done same- now there are 15 Cabinet departments
Although not mentioned in Constitution, judicial review has become major power of judicial branch. ◦ Judicial review means to ◦ Judicial review means to judge whether acts of Congress or prez. are constitutional ◦ Phrase evolved from Article 3 section 2 which states Supreme Court has right to hear “all cases… arising under this Constitution” ◦ Marbury v. Madison- case where SC decided they had right to decide whether laws violated const.
Article I outlines Congress Congress has 2 houses: ◦ House of Representatives (2 year terms) ◦ Senate (6 year terms)
House of Reps has: ◦ 435 voting members ◦ 5 nonvoting delegates District of Columbia (Washington DC), Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, & Virgin Islands. ◦ # of reps from ea/state is determined by state’s population.
Senate consists of 100 senators, 2 ea/state. Role of Congress is to ◦ make nation’s laws ◦ control govt. spending. Congress appropriates, or sets aside, funds for govt. ◦ Govt. cannot spend any money unless Congress oks it
Congress monitors executive branch. ◦ House of Representatives can impeach (bring formal charges against) any federal official it suspects of wrongdoing. ◦ Senate holds trials for those impeached Senate has some important powers that House doesn’t ◦ ratifies treaties (2/3 vote) ◦ confirms presidential appointments
All members of Congress must represent their constituents, people of their home states & districts. ◦ Letters ◦ Phone calls ◦ Emails ◦ Petitions ◦ Reelection
Both houses use committees to evaluate proposed legislation (laws). ◦ Standing committees- permanent committees (ex: agriculture, education…) sub-committees- more specific
Joint committees- members from both House & Senate conference committees- works out compromise when similar bills are proposed in House & Senate ◦ Sometimes House & Senate form temporary committees to address special issues. select committees
1000s of bills (proposed laws) proposed each yr. ◦ Once bill is approved by House & Senate, it goes to prez. for approval. If bill is signed, it becomes law. If prez. vetoes bill, it goes back to Congress, Congress can override president’s veto Pretty rare Needs 2/3 vote (67 in Senate/ 290 in House)
or Source- Kids in the House-the office of the clerk
Article II outlines executive branch Executive branch includes ◦ president, ◦ vice president ◦ various executive offices, departments & agencies. President is chief executive & responsible for carrying out nation’s laws.
President is chief diplomat, directing foreign policy, appointing ambassadors, & negotiating treaties. w/German chancellor Merkel w/French president Sarkozy w/British PM Brown
President is commander in chief. ◦ In this role, prez.can use military to intervene, or offer assistance in crises at home or around world. ◦ President cannot declare war; only Congress can declare war. ◦ appoints & removes top military officials
As chief of state, prez. represents all Americans. ◦ The face world sees ◦ Greets foreign leaders ◦ Visits foreign countries President serves as legislative leader by proposing laws to Congress. suggests new laws veto
◦ Independent agencies manage federal programs in many fields. CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) FCC (Federal Communications Commission) ◦ A govt. corporation is govt. agency that is run like a privately- owned business Post office Amtrak
Executive Office of the President (EOP) consists of individuals & agencies that directly assist president. ◦ Cabinet consists of executive depts. responsible for ea/area of govt. 15 secretaries/ executive departments
Article III outlines Supreme Court & court system ◦ Does not describe duties of Supreme Court ◦ Has developed from laws, through tradition, & as country’s needs & circumstances have changed. Federal court system is made up of: ◦ Supreme Court ◦ district courts ◦ appeals courts
District courts consider civil & criminal cases that come under federal, rather than state, authority. ◦ Civil- private citizen sues; claims against govt. & cases involving constitutional rights- $ is usually penalty if guilty ◦ Criminal- crime; govt. brings charges – prison time if guilty Appeals courts review district court decisions when losing side has asked for review of verdict
Supreme Court hears & rules on cases that have been appealed to it. 9 justices- 1 Chief & 8 associate justices hears approx. 120 of 4,000 cases/yr. majority wins, but both sides must give reasons for decision majority opinion dissenting opinion In doing so, Court is political institution because it often determines national policy.
Top row: (left to right): Stephen G. Breyer (Clinton), Clarence Thomas (Bush 41), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Clinton), and Samuel A. Alito (Bush 43). Bottom row: (left to right): Anthony M. Kennedy (Reagan), John Paul Stevens (Ford), Chief Justice John G. Roberts (Bush 43), Antonin G. Scalia (Reagan), and David H. Souter (Bush 41),
Judicial review is Supreme Court’s power to examine laws & actions of local, state, & national govts & to cancel them. ◦ Supreme Court can also review presidential policies ◦ settle disputes ◦ interpret laws ◦ protect guaranteed rights
Miranda v Arizona ◦ Ernesto Miranda was arrested, interrogated & confessed Later he said he didn’t know he had right to an attorney & didn’t have to speak to police ◦ Case went to Supreme Court Decided that people arrested needed to be made aware of their rights- Miranda rights
Rights of American citizens fall into 3 broad categories: ◦ right to be protected from unfair actions of govt. ◦ to have = treatment under law, ◦ to have basic freedoms. Due process of law means that govt. must follow procedures established by law & guaranteed in Constitution.
All Americans, regardless of race, religious beliefs, or political beliefs, have right to be treated same under law. Basic freedoms include freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, & right to petition (all 1 st Amendment).
1st Amendment- allows citizens to criticize govt., forbids govt. from endorsing religion, & ensures citizens’ rights to practice religion they choose. 9th Amendment- rights of Americans are not limited to those mentioned in Constitution.
Americans must work to protect their rights. Govt. can establish laws to restrict certain standards to protect health, safety, security, & moral standards of a community.
A citizen- person who owes loyalty to & is entitled to protection of state or nation. A person of foreign birth can become citizen through process of naturalization. Citizens of US are expected to carry out certain duties & responsibilities. ◦ Duties are things citizens are required to do by law ◦ Responsibilities are things citizens should do
Citizens’ duties include obeying law, paying taxes, defending nation, & serving on juries. Laws: ◦ help maintain order ◦ protect health, safety, & property of all citizens ◦ make it possible for people to live together peacefully.
Constitution guarantees all Americans right to trial by jury of their peers. Citizens are responsible for: ◦ voicing their opinions about govt. matters ◦ keeping informed of their rights ◦ respecting diversity ◦ accepting responsibility for their actions ◦ supporting their families
Voting is most important responsibility of U.S. citizens. Citizens can belong to special interest groups, who present arguments supporting or opposing bills that are up for discussion. Citizens can join a political party & help choose candidates to run for various political offices. U.S. citizens should respect rights of others w/whom they may disagree.