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Chapter 3: The Constitution

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1 Chapter 3: The Constitution
American Citizenship Chapter 3: The Constitution

2 Section 1 Six Basic Principles

3 An Outline of the Constitution
Contains roughly 7,000 words Preamble Articles First three articles deal with the three branches of the National Government Legislative Executive Judiciary Basic Organization and Powers

4 An Outline of the Constitution (Con’t)
Article IV States Powers and Relationship with National Government Article V Amendments Proposal and Ratification Article VI Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land Article VII Methods of Ratification of the Constitution Followed by 27 Amendments

5 Basic Principles Popular Sovereignty Limited Government
Governed by the People “We the People…” Preamble Limited Government Government is not all powerful Rule of Law Government and its officials are always subject to the law

6 Basic Principles (Con’t)
Separation of Powers Congress is the lawmaking body Executive is the law enforcing and executing branch Judiciary interprets and applies the laws Each Branch is separate and independent

7 Basic Principles (Con’t)
Checks and Balances Each Branch, though separate, yet also tied together They each contain powers to check the other branches powers Ex. Congress can pass laws and president can veto the law Makes Compromises vital

8 Basic Principles (Con’t)
Judicial Review The Power of courts to decide whether the government is in accordance with the law Determine if governments actions are unconstitutional To declare illegal, null and void Federalism The division of power among a central government and several regional governments (AKA States)

9 Section 2 Formal Amendments

10 Constitution A living and changing document
Change has come about in two ways Formal Amendment Changes or additions to language of Constitution Informal

11 Formal Amendment Process
Changes in its written words Two methods for proposal Two methods for ratification Four methods of Formal Amendments First Method May be proposed by 2/3 vote in each House of Congress and ratified by ¾ State Legislatures (38) 26 of 27 Amendments adopted in this manner

12 Formal Amendment Process (Con’t)
Second Method Proposed by Congress and ratified by conventions held for by ¾ of the States 21st Amendment ratified through this method Third Method Amendment proposed by a national convention, called by Congress, ratified by ¾ State Legislatures Never Done Before

13 Formal Amendment Process (Con’t)
Fourth Method Proposed by a national convention and ratified by ¾ of conventions in states Federalism Amendments proposed at national level Ratification at state level


15 Proposed Amendments 10,000 Proposed Only 27 Amendments exist today
Bill of Rights -1791 First 10 Amendments First Action by the Congress in 1791 A Major Compromise with Anti-Federalist Later Amendments Check Page 76 for Subject of Amendments


17 Section 3 Constitutional Change by Other Means

18 Basic Legislation Congress has given meaning to many of the constitution brief statements Judiciary Act of 1789 Homeland Security Etc.

19 Executive Action Also given meaning to Constitution Example
Use of troops without congressional declaration of war Executive Agreements Pacts between heads of state that don’t require approval from Senate Treaty Requires approval from Senate

20 Court Decisions Marbury v. Madison 1803
Claimed for Supreme Court the power to declare a law unconstitutional Chief Justice John Marshall helped define the role and power of the Supreme Court

21 Party Practice Constitution does not mention political parties
Big use of electoral college Group that makes formal selection of the nation’s president

22 Customs Powers and/or organizations not granted by constitution
Creation of the cabinet Succession of President to Vice President Amended later No Third Term until FDR Started by George Washington Required now by 22nd Amendment in 1951

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