2 Preamble To the whole Constitution -An IntroductionTo the whole Constitution-Gives the purposes and goals of government-We, the people of the United States, in Order to from a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
3 Describes the Legislative Branch -Divides Congress into two Houses Article 1-Describes the Congress and its powersDescribes the Legislative Branch-Divides Congress into two HousesBicameral: House of Reps., Senate-Sets qualification and terms of members-Describes law making process-Specifically denies certain powers to Congress – does not give it too much power-Delegates certain powers to Congress – enumerated powersEx.: taxation, borrow money, regulate commerce, coin money, declare war, establish military, do anything “necessary and proper”Article I describes U.S. CongressThe House of Representatives is based on populationThe Senate is based on equal representation, with two Senators from every state (today)
4 -Describes the Executive Branch President and Vice President Article 2-Describes the Executive BranchPresident and Vice President-Term and Qualifications-Electoral method described (later amended) – Electoral College-commander in chief-make treaties, appoint officials upon approval-Execute the laws of the United States-Impeachment processRemoved from office for illegal actions (President/VP)Article 2 describes how the Executive Branch will be set up, including the qualifications, method of election, and term limits for the President and Vice President. It also defines the impeachment process, which will remove an official from office for wrong doing. The most recent President to be impeached was Bill Clinton.
5 Article 3 describes how the U.S. Courts will work. -Describes the Judicial BranchDescribes the Court system-Term and qualification of judges-Jurisdiction of Federal Courts-Right to Trial by Jury in Federal Cases-Crime of Treason is definedGoing against your countryEspionage: spyingOnly crime defined in the ConstitutionArticle 3 describes how the U.S. Courts will work.
6 Article 4-Describes the relationship of states to one another and the central governmentDescribes federalism: multiple levels of government working together-Full Faith and Credit clause describes the legal relationship between statesStates will recognize and follow each other’s laws-Extradition process describedSending prisoners back to state to have trial-Addition of new states and territories-Guarantee of Federal protection from invaders for all statesCriminals who break a law in one state, try to flee to another state, and get caught in another state, will be sent back to the original state for their trial. This process is called extradition.
7 Article 5-Describes the amendment processAmend means to changeDescribes how to change the Constitution-sets up the two methods of proposing an amendmentHow to get a change to the Constitution heard-sets up the two methods of ratifying a new amendmentHow to get that change approved and added to the Constitution
8 National State Local Article 6 -Describes the supremacy of the Constitution and the national governmentNational government more powerful than any other level-Statement that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the nation (Supremacy Clause)States cannot challenge national laws, national always wins-requirement of an oath of office in all State and Federal positions to support the Constitution
9 -Describes the process of ratification of this Constitution Article 7-Describes the process of ratification of this ConstitutionDescribes how this new Constitution will be approved-Set up the approval method for the Constitution9 out of 13 must ratify“The Tenth Pillar of Ratification”~appeared in South Carolina newspaper after ratification
11 Constitution is over 200 years old Constitution still functions because of its flexibility(A Living Document)The Constitution was only meant to be a blueprint or framework
12 Proposing Amendments -Described in Article 5 -Must first be proposed -two methods of proposing an amendment2/3 of Both Houses of Congress2/3 of the members of the House of Reps. and Senate must agree to propose (ask for) a changeNational Convention called by 2/3 of states33 states must call a convention-only method ever used is 2/3 of Congress
13 Ratifying Amendments -Must first be proposed -must be ratified by 3/4 of the states38 states must approve the new Constitutional amendment-Two methods of ratifyingby state legislaturesLet the Congress of the state vote as representatives for the peopleby state conventionsInvite citizens themselves to vote-Difficult processonly make changes when really needed – only been amended 27 times in over 200 years
15 Necessary and Proper Clause -Necessary and Proper Clause- Statement in Article I of the Constitution that allows Congress to stretch its enumerated powers to do almost anything in the best interests of the citizens---Elastic Clause-Article 1 describes the power but does not define the power specificallyCaused many arguments about what Congress can/not do-most interpretation occurs with this phrase-Implied Powers-Powers that are not specifically written in the Constitution but are interpreted to exist-Constitution is a flexible documentThe Constitution’s “necessary and proper” clause, also known as the “Elastic Clause” allows Congress to stretch its powers to do what they feel is what the country needs at the time. For example, after WWII, Congress used these powers to begin an Air Force.
16 Interpretation -Three types of Interpretation strict—based on actual wording of ConstitutionIf it does not specifically say you can, then you cannotloose—based on implied meanings of passagesIf it does not specifically say you cannot, then you canoriginal intent —based on what founding fathers meant the Constitution to say-Final Interpretation of the Constitution- Handled by the Supreme CourtJudicial review-This opinion changes over time alsoSome people believe the Constitution should be interpreted strictly, meaning that unless the document specifically says Congress or the federal government can do something, then they cannot. Others believe the opposite is true, saying that unless the Constitution specifically says you CANNOT do something, then you can. Still others believe in interpreting the document exactly as the writers intended it to be. The final interpretation today is handled by the Supreme Court.