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Limits to Government Power (For a 12th Grade Government Class)

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1 Limits to Government Power (For a 12th Grade Government Class)
by Angela Skelonc ED 448

2 Why Limit Power? Long difficult struggle against British tyranny ended just 4 years before the constitutional convention opened Delegates wanted to prevent such tyranny in the new government of the United States They tried to limit the concentration of power in only part of the government

3 The Constitution Divided Power Into Three Types Of Power
Delegated Power Reserved Power Concurrent Power

4 Delegated Power Power given exclusively to the national government
by the Constitution

5 Examples of Delegated Powers
Declare War Print Money Regulate Interstate and Foreign Commerce Establish Postal System

6 Reserved Power Powers that the Constitution did not specifically grant to the national government were reserved for the State                                             

7 Examples of Reserved Power
Create Corporation Laws Establish and Maintain Schools Establish and Maintain Local Governments Regulate Interstate Commerce                                             

8 Concurrent Power Concurrent power is power that both the national government and the state governments have to share                                            

9 Examples of Concurrent Power
Borrow Money Provide for Health, Safety, and Welfare Administer Criminal Justice Set Minimum Wage Charter Banks Levy Taxes                                            

10 The Separation of Power Was Not Enough
Fear of having a tyrannical government like in England made delegates divide the Central Government’s power even further Following Montesquieu’s ideas, delegates created three branches for the central government to make sure no branch could gain too much power Each branch had a specific purpose

11 Separation of Powers Was Not A New Idea
State Constitutions already had separate branches Articles of Confederation had created a legislature but not a court system or an executive Montesquieu had published his ideas of a separate authority in government in his book, The Spirit of the Laws, published in 1748

12 Separation of Power

13 3 Branches of Government and Their Purpose
Legislative Branch Also known as Congress Makes the Laws Executive Branch Headed by the President Enforces the Laws Judicial Branch Also known as the Courts Interprets the Laws and Ensures they are Applied on a Fair and Equal Basis

14 Checks and Balances Made to reinforce the separation of powers
Allowed each branch of government to check the power of the other This was based on another idea of Montesquieu

15 What Did Montesquieu Believe?
For a government to function properly it had to possess Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Authority - in other words – the government had to be able to make, enforce, and interpret the laws of the land To prevent tyranny these functions should be divided among three branches of government The powers and duties of each branch should be carefully defined and separated so no branch could gain too much power

16 Presidential or Executive Power
Appoint Cabinet Officers, Federal Judges, and Ambassadors But, had to be approved by the Senate Can Make Treaties with Foreign Governments But, Senate has to Approve Them Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces But, Congress has Sole Authority to Declare War

17 Legislative Power Pass Legislation and Appropriate Money
But, President can Veto But, the Judicial Branch can Declare Legislation Unconstitutional Create Lower Federal Courts and Judgeships Can Impeach and Remove a President or Judges Approve Appointment of Federal Judges

18 Judicial Powers Declare Executive Actions and Laws Unconstitutional
Can Declare Legislation Unconstitutional

19 System of Checks and Balances
EXECUTIVE BRANCH President May Check the Judicial Branch Granting pardons to those who are convicted of federal crimes May Check Congress Vetoing bills passed by Congress Sending messages to Congress Appealing to the people LEGISLATIVE BRANCH Congress May Check the President Impeaching the President Overriding a veto Refusing to approve Presidential appointments and treaties Impeaching judges Changing the number of justices on the Supreme Court Proposing an amendment to the Constitution if law found unconstitutional by Supreme Court THE JUDICIAL BRANCH Supreme Court Interpreting laws and treaties Ruling that laws and executive acts are unconstitutional May check Congress Declaring laws unconstitutional

20 Limiting the Power Did Not End With the Government
In the end the delegates were satisfied with the combination of federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances would prevent tyranny by the national government Many delegates also feared tyranny by the people The finished Constitution reflects this concern

21 Reasons for Limiting Direct Power of the People
Delegates believed that Representatives were better educated and informed about issues than the people People would have a hard time selecting national leaders wisely Communication was slow and unreliable Voters could not be familiar with national candidates and their views People would make rash decisions based on fears and emotions

22 Limiting Direct Power of the People
Voters elected representatives to govern the country Voters choose only the members of the House of Representatives directly State Legislatures select members of the Senate Electoral College – an indirect way of electing the President and Vice President States choose electors who vote for President and Vice-President Number of electors equal the state’s total number of representatives in Congress

23 At the End of the Constitutional Convention
Delegates felt they had created a document that balanced the powers of the national government properly The new government could act with firmness and vigor when needed Systems of Separation of powers and checks and balances insured that the government would not abuse its power

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