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The Constitution of the United States

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1 The Constitution of the United States

2 An Outline of the Constitution
The Constitution sets out the basic principles upon which government in the United States was built. The Constitution is a fairly brief document. The Constitution is organized into eight sections: the Preamble and seven articles. The original document is followed by 27 amendments.

3 Articles of the Constitution

4 Basic Principles The principle of popular sovereignty The principle of limited government The principle of separation of powers

5 Popular Sovereignty Asserts that the people are
the source of any and all government power Government can exist only with the consent of the governed. The people hold the ultimate authority

6 Republicanism People elect their representatives
A representative democracy lets the people elect leaders to make decisions for them.

7 Federalism Power of government is divided between the national government (federal) and the state government. There is constant debate over who should have more power – the states or Washington. When federal law and state law do not agree, federal law has to be followed.

8 Limited Government Framers wanted to guard against tyranny
each individual has rights that government cannot take away Government is limited to the power given them in the Constitution. The Constitution tells how leaders who overstep their power can be removed

9 Separation of Powers is the principle in which the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government are three independent and coequal branches of government. No one branch holds “too much” power Legislative branch - makes the laws Executive branch - carries out the laws Judicial branch - interprets the laws

10 Checks and Balances Each branch of government holds some control over the other two branches. There are ways for each branch of government to “check on” the other branches to make sure each branch does not take power they do not have.

11 Individual Rights Basic rights (unalienable rights) are guaranteed by our Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments to the Constitution). We have many rights like freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, and the right to a fair trial.

12 Legislative Branch Made up of Senate and House of Representatives
Make our laws Appropriate Money Regulate Immigration Establish Post Offices and Roads Regulate Interstate Commerce and Transportation Declare War

13 Executive Branch The President of the United States Chief Executive
Chief of State Chief Legislator Commander in Chief of all the military (army, navy, air force, Marines).

14 Judicial Branch Supreme Court and other Federal Courts
Preserve and protect the rights guaranteed by the Constitution Considers cases involving national laws Declares laws and acts “unconstitutional”

15 Checks and Balances the system that allows the legislative, executive, and judicial branches to (stop and check) check, or restrain, the actions of one another.

16 Executive Checks Propose laws to Congress Veto laws made by Congress
Negotiate foreign treaties Appoint federal judges Grant pardons to federal offenders

17 Legislative Checks Override president’s veto Ratify treaties
Confirm executive appointments Impeach federal officers and judges Create and dissolve lower federal courts

18 Judicial Checks Declare executive acts unconstitutional
Declare laws unconstitutional Declare acts of Congress unconstitutional The Supreme Court holds the final check


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