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A Guide to Teaching the United States Constitution

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1 A Guide to Teaching the United States Constitution
This project was funded by a Robert H. Michel grant in conjunction with the Dirksen Congressional Center

2 The United States Constitution: A Teaching Guide
Created by Jeffrey Aas Bemidji High School Bemidji, Minnesota 2003

3 Introduction to the U.S. Constitution
Written in Philadelphia Original intent was to revise the Articles James Madison was the “Father” of the Constitution 39 men signed it in 1787

4 The Preamble—The Introduction to the Constitution
Two main Questions found in the Preamble: 1. Why they are writing it? (to form a more perfect union) 2. What are the goals to be reached? (establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty)

5 Constitution How the Constitution is divided:
1. Articles—the major divisions 2. Sections---divisions of an article 3. Clauses---divisions of a section

6 Article I---Legislative Branch
Section One—What is a Congress? 1. Bicameral Legislature---There are two houses, a Senate and House of Representatives. Section Two---House of Representatives 1. Clause One A Representative serves a two year term

7 2. Clause Two---What are the Qualifications for a. member of the U. S
2. Clause Two---What are the Qualifications for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives? •25 years old •7 year citizen of the United States •Resident of the state one is elected in

8 3. Clause Three--Who determines the amount of
3. Clause Three--Who determines the amount of Representatives each state will receive? (Congress) Why does California have more members in the House of Representatives than Minnesota? (Discuss the Great Compromise) What if half of California’s population moved to Minnesota? Reapportionment---Creating new districts every ten years to adjust for population changes

9 Reapportionment---How it Works
Take a census every ten years Congress totals the number of Reps. each state will get (that total must equal 435) Congress will notify the state legislatures of any changes State legislatures will determine new district boundaries New districts will allow for new elections for the House of Reps

10 Clause Three continued
Gerrymandering--Redrawing district lines to favor a political party One man – one vote (each district has to have about the same number of people) Seven states with one U.S. Representative: (North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, Delaware, South Dakota)

11 Clause Four-- What happens if a Representative dies in office?
Usually a governor will issue an election to fill the vacancy Clause Five---Where does the impeachment process start? The House of Reps. will start the impeachment process Andrew Johnson---First U.S. President to be impeached, but fell one vote shy of the Senate’s conviction Richard Nixon---Resigned before official impeachment could take place Bill Clinton---Impeachment articles were passed by the U.S. House of Reps, but the Senate found him NOT guilty of those articles

12 House Officers - 108th Congress
Speaker of the House (J. Dennis Hastert) - Controls the discussion of the floor Majority Leader (Tom Delay) - Helps the speaker & leads his party Majority Whip (Roy Blunt) - Helps majority leader Minority Leader (Nancy Pelosi) - Serves as a watchdog over the majority party Minority Whip ( Steny Hoyer)—Helps minority leader

13 Section Three---The Senate
Clause One - How is a Senator different from a member of the House of Representatives? Senators term is 6 years 1 voter per Senator 2 Senators per state (all states get the same amount) Originally Senators were chosen by state legislatures Today chosen by direct election (17th Amendment)

14 Clause Two--Is it possible for both Senators from one state to be up for re-election at the same time? (No) All of the members from the first Senate did not get a 6 year term. The founding fathers wanted the Senate to have experienced members so they created a staggered election. First class = 2 year term Second class = 4 year term Third class = 6 year term Never will the Senators term from one state be up for re-election at the same time

15 Clause Three - What are the qualifications for a Senator?
30 years old 9 year citizen of the United States Be a resident of the state you are elected from Clause Four— The Vice-President (Dick Cheney) of the U.S. is the President of the Senate (very little power and seldom is seen on the Senate Floor ) President of the Senate (Cheney) only votes if there is a tie

16 Clause Five -Officers of the Senate - 108th Congress
President of the Pro Tempore (Ted Stevens) - presides temporarily when vice-president is not available (very little power) Majority Leader (Bill Frist) - controls the agenda of the majority party Majority Whip (Mitch McConnell) - helps the majority leader Minority Leader (Tom Daschle) - A watchdog function over the majority party Minority Whip (Harry Reid) - helps the minority leader

17 Trial of Impeachments - Does the Senate actually serve as the Jury in impeachment proceedings? (Yes)
Senate tries impeachments (acts as a jury) House of Reps. introduces the Articles of Impeachment House needs a majority (218) vote to bring up charges Senate needs 2/3s majority (67) to convict

18 Clause Seven—What happens if someone is impeached?
A guilty conviction on the Articles of Impeachment is removal from office A U.S. President cannot be pardoned if found guilty by 2/3s of the Senate (part of the checks and balance system)

19 Section Four - When Does Congress Meet in Washington, D.C.?
Clause one - When are the national elections held? At one time federal elections were not uniform. Some states held them on different days and months. National Election Day was set by Congress (1st Tuesday after the first Monday of November)

20 Clause Two - So When does Congress Meet?
Must meet one time a year (Why?) 1933—20th Amendment established January 3rd as the meeting date (a two year working period)

21 Section Five—Rules of Procedures
Clause One - Can an elected official be removed from office? (Yes) Each House determines the qualifications of their members Brigham Roberts—1901, polygamist from Utah, The Senate refused to seat him Victor Berger—1919, Socialist from Wisconsin, The House refused to seat him Adam Powell—1967, African-American who allegedly misappropriated federal funds The House refused to seat him Powell v McCormack(1969) - SC allowed Powell his seat in the House of Representatives

22 Clause Two—Does the House and the Senate following the same proceedings and rules? (No)
House of Reps and the Senate have different rules Filibuster—Delaying a bill through the use of discussion Senate has Filibusters, House is more stringent on how they control debate so they do not Strom Thurmond—longest filibuster, 24 hours 18 minutes Cloture rule—rule in the Senate that will end a filibuster if 60 Senators agree to vote for the closing of debate Censure—punishing a member of Congress, take away some of their power or seniority

23 Clause Three - Can I get information about how a member of Congress voted? (Yes)
Congressional Journal—Published at the end of the session, contains the bare facts about the session Congressional Record—Published daily, includes word for word what people had to say Sunshine Law—All meetings must be open to the public and all records about the session are open to the public as well

24 Clause Four - Can the House and the Senate adjourn at different times?
Adjourn—to stop meeting Consent—Need consent of the other house if you are going to adjourn for more than three days (law making process would stop if only one house adjourns, usually joint adjournment)

25 Section Six—Privileges and Restrictions
Clause One - What is the salary and benefits for a member of Congress? Compensation—members of Congress will be paid ($150,000 per year) Congressional immunity-can’t be arrested for minor crimes when traveling to or from Congress (breach of peace, treason, felony, are not exempt from this immunity) Slander—saying something that is not true, they can do this in the House and Senate (done so that speech is not limited or censored) Franking—free mail service

26 Other Privileges Salary Travel expense account Office in D.C. and their state Special allowance for stationary, phone calls, faxes Pension Some tax exemptions 15% of salary for speaking engagements Unlimited income from book royalties

27 Clause Two - Can a member of Congress also be a federal judge? (No)
Separation of Powers—can’t hold two offices at once from different branches of government

28 Section 7 Method of Passing Bills
Clause One - Where do tax bills start? All tax bills start in the House.

29 Clause Two - How does a bill become a law?
Procedures vary slightly in each house and all bills must go through committee work before they get to the floor. Here is a simple overview: First method—passes one house by majority vote, passes second house by majority vote, goes to president, president signs it into law Second method—passes one house by majority vote, passes second house by majority vote, goes to president, president vetoes, goes back to house it originated in and must pass by 2/3 vote, then goes to next house and must pass by 2/3 vote to become a law Third method-- passes one house by majority vote, passes second house by majority vote, goes to president, president delays action for ten days excluding Sundays, becomes law

30 Pocket Veto - What if Congress adjourns and a bill has not been signed by the President?
Passes one house by majority vote, passes second house by majority vote, goes to president, delays action for ten days excluding Sundays, within that time Congress adjourns, BILL DOES NOT BECOME A LAW (Reagan had 8 pocket vetoes) Clause Three - Can the Congress express their opinion without creating a formal law? (Yes) Resolution—a formal expression of opinion or will Simple resolution—deals with the matters of one house Concurrent—deals with both houses Joint—deals with both houses and goes to the president for approval

31 Section Eight Powers Delegated to Congress
Clause One - Why can Congress collect taxes? Congress can collect taxes for three purposes: Pay off debts Provide defense Provide for the common welfare

32 Clause Two - Can Congress Borrow Money?
They can borrow money on the credit of the United States (selling bonds is one example) Debt—Total amount of money that the government owes ( currently over $6 trillion) Deficit—Yearly amount of money that the government owes Clause Three - Can Congress regulate trade? Interstate—Trade between two or more states Intrastate—Trade within a state Congress can only regulate interstate trade

33 Clause Four—Naturalization and Bankruptcy
Natural born citizen—born in the United States Naturalized citizen—foreigner becoming a citizen by following rules set by Congress Jus soli - “law of land” - if you are born here you are a citizen Jus sanguinis - “law of blood”- if one of your parents is an American citizen then you are as well A naturalized citizen can never be President of the U.S. Bankruptcy—courts declare bankruptcy

34 Clause Five - Can a bank make money? (No)
Congress will make money Congress will set up our weights and measures 1831—English system (foot-pound-mile) 1866—if states wanted to, they could go on the metric system We are the only large country not on the metric system Clause Six - Congress will punish counterfeiters Minting edge - lip on penny and nickel

35 Clause Seven - Mail Service
Federal government will establish a mail service Clause Eight Congress promotes inventions Copyrights—Secures rights of ownership for the life of the owner (publications and literature) Patents—Secures the rights of inventors generally for 20 years

36 Clause Nine Congress establishes and abolishes courts Clause Ten Congress can punish for crimes committed on the water Clause Eleven Only Congress can declare war—power to many people as opposed to one Marque and Reprisal—allowing pirates (Treaty of Paris outlaws this) War Powers Resolution (1973) - Attempted to limit presidential power of war

37 Clause Twelve Congress controls the power of the purse regarding the military Can’t allow stock piling of money Clause Thirteen Congress can maintain a navy Clause Fourteen Congress establishes rules for the military Court martial - Court proceedings that follow military laws

38 Clause Fifteen Congress governs state militias (National Guard) National guard can be deployed for three reasons: Execute laws of the union Suppress insurrections (riots) Repel invasions Clause Sixteen Congress allows the states to appoint National Guard officers and train their own soldiers

39 Clause Seventeen—Who controls the District of Columbia?
Washington, in the District of Columbia, is a federal city under the control of Congress Since 1973, people of the city elect their own officials Clause Eighteen—Necessary and Proper Clause Congress has the power to establish any rules they deem necessary and proper Elastic Clause—expands the powers of Congress

40 Section Nine—Powers Denied to the Federal Government
Clause One - What about the issues of slavery? Congress stopped the importation of slaves in 1808 Use the word “such persons” as opposed to “slaves” Clause Two - Can I be thrown in jail for having blue eyes? (No) Habeas corpus - “you have the body” - You have the right to test the legality of your detention - judge is not concerned with guilt or innocence The writ can be suspended in times of rebellion, invasion, or the public safety requires it (Abraham Lincoln during Civil War)

41 Clause Three Congress cannot pass a bill of attainder (legislative act against a named person) Congress makes a law that says Mike Sims is a thief and will serve 25 years in prison - This is Unconstitutional!! Congress cannot pass an ex post facto law (after the fact) Betty Boone sells fireworks on July 4th - On July 10th, Congress passes a law that makes it illegal to sell fireworks and tries to punish Betty for what she did on July 4th Clause four Congress cannot put a direct tax on an individual (16th amendment overrides this) Clause five Congress cannot tax an export

42 Clause Six Import taxes must be the same at all ports. Clause Seven Congress controls the federal budget Clause Eight - Can I receive a title of Duke or Earl of the U.S.? Titles of nobility will not be granted Any gifts from foreign countries must approved by Congress

43 Section Ten Powers Denied to the States
Clause One - Can Minnesota create an alliance with Canada? (No) States cannot form treaties or alliances with any other states or countries States cannot coin money

44 Clause Two States can not tax imports or exports with the consent of Congress Clause Three States can not harbor troops in times of peace States can not engage in war

45 Article II—Executive Branch
Section One—President & Vice President Clause one—How long is the President in office? Four year terms 1951—22 Amendment changed it to a maximum of 2 terms or ten years FDR served the most years in office (12) Grover Cleveland served 2 nonconsecutive terms (22nd & 24th President of the United States)

46 2. Clause Two - How is the U.S. President elected?
Electors—Presidential voters Electoral college—system used to elect the President, founders didn’t want a pure form of democracy, wanted a representative democracy 538=total number of Presidential electors, must have 270 to become president Purpose of the electoral college---give each state somewhat equal representation

47 Clause Three—former method of electoral college (changed by 12th Amendment)
Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each had the same number of electoral votes (73) Tie would go to the House of Representatives and each state gets one vote, still have to get a majority Election of Popular Votes Electoral Lincoln 1, 866, Douglas 1,375, Breckenridge 847, Bell ,

48 Close Elections in History
Popular Votes Electoral Votes Hayes (1876) 4,033, Tilden (1876) 4, 284, Bush (2000) 50,456, Gore (2000) 50, 996, Clause 4 - When does the Electoral College vote? Official ballot for President is cast by the Electoral College Electoral College—cast votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December

49 Clause Five—What are the qualifications for U.S. President?
35 years old, 14 year resident, natural born citizen 1st seven presidents were not natural born 1st natural born was Martin Van Buren Youngest—Teddy Roosevelt=42 Youngest elected—John Kennedy=43 Oldest—Ronald Reagan=69 Clause Six - Changed by the 25th Amendment The amendment provides for involuntary removal of the President from his power.

50 Clause Seven - Can the Congress decrease the President’s salary midway through the term? (No)
Can not increase or decrease during the term Can not receive any other salary from the federal government during the term Pays taxes on the income Salary doubled to $400,000/ year Clause Eight - The Presidential Oath Any judge can swear a president into office, most common is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Calvin Coolidge—Sworn in by his father - a Justice of the Peace LBJ—sworn in on Air Force One by a Dallas judge “So help me God.”---Washington added this to Oath

51 Section Two Powers of the President
Clause One—What are the Military Powers? President is the head of the military - Commander in Chief President can grant pardons to criminals who have committed federal crimes Clause Two—Treaties and Appointments President needs approval by the U.S. Senate to create certain and specific treaties and appointments Clause Three - What if an ambassador dies when the Senate is in recess? The President can fill position by temporarily

52 Section Three What are the Duties of the President?
State of the Union Address - The President explains the condition of the country - usually in January President can convene and adjourn Congress in the event of a special circumstance Main job is to see that the laws are faithfully executed

53 Section Four--Impeachment
President, Vice President, and all civil officers can be impeached Can only be impeached for three things: treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Judges are civil officers that are the most often convicted of impeachment Members of the Congress are expelled by their own house, they do not go through the formal impeachment process

54 Article III—Judicial Branch Section One—Federal Courts
Clause One - Who interprets the law? Judicial branch interprets the law (Courts) Legislative makes the law (Congress) Executive enforces the law (President) Judicial powers—the power to hear cases Federal Judges are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate


56 Section Two—Jurisdiction of the Federal Courts
Clause One—Jurisdiction Jurisdiction—power and right to apply law Plaintiff—one who brings charges Defendant—one being charged Criminal case—when government is plaintiff (California vs. O.J. Simpson) Civil case—between two or more people (O. J. Simpson vs. Goldman family)

57 Clause Two - How does a case reach the Supreme Court?
SC has two kinds of jurisdiction: a. Original—a case is first heard by the SC b. Appellate—cases that are appealed by a lower court (Most cases come to the SC through appellate jurisdiction) Thousands of cases are brought to the SC each year About 75 are heard each year Writ of Certiorari—an order from a higher court to a lower court to see the records and proceedings of a previous case

58 Clause Three—Conduct of Trials
Guarantees a trial by jury in federal courts Extradition—returning a fugitive to the state in which the crime was committed

59 Section Three--Treason
Clause One - What is treason? Only crime defined in the Constitution (helping a nation’s enemies or carrying out war against your country) 2 ways of being convicted: 1. Confession in court room 2. Having two witnesses testify against you Clause Two - What is the penalty for treason? Treason can only happen during time of war Maximum penalty is death Espionage, Sabotage, conspiracy to overthrow the government are all similar to treason but happen during times of peace

60 Article IV—Relations Among the States Section One—Official Acts
Clause One - I live in Minnesota do I have to follow the rules of North Dakota? (Yes - full faith and credit) Each state shall respect legal action of another state (marriage licenses, speed limits, fines, drivers license)

61 Section Two—Privileges of Citizens
Clause One - Can I buy a lake home in Minnesota if I live in Illinois? (Yes) State cannot discriminate against you because you are a citizen of another state Clause Two—Extradition Bringing back a fugitive (interstate rendition) “shall”—tradition, custom, and the courts have interpreted this to mean “may” Governors can refuse to return a fugitive

62 Clause Three—Fugitive slaves (nonexistent) - Changed by amendment after the Civil War.
“persons” refer to slaves If a slave escapes from a slave state to a free state, the slave is not free

63 Section Three—New States
Clause One - How does a state become admitted to the Union? Only Congress can admit states Clause Two - Congress will make all laws for all U.S. territories

64 Section Four - Guarantees of the State
The federal government guarantees each state a republic Republic—Representative democracy where we elect officials to represent our concerns The government will protect us from invasions

65 Article V Methods of Amendments
1st Method - need 2/3 of Congress to PROPOSE an Amendment 2nd Method - need 2/3 of the state legislatures to ask Congress for a national convention to propose an Amendment (this method has never been used) Need 3/4 of all states to actually ratify or APPROVE an Amendment. This is done by state legislatures or a special ratifying convention. Over 4000 proposed Amendments since the early 1800s Only 27 have been ratified 1st Ten Amendments were a package deal, 18 and 21 cancel each other out, leaves 15 separate Amendments that went through the process

66 Article VI—General Provisions
Section One - Could the new government evade debts owed as a result of the Revolutionary War? New government can’t evade old debts Section Two - Is the federal law the supreme law of the land? Yes - State law cannot override a federal law Section Three—all officers, state and federal, must take an oath to support the U.S. Constitution Can’t have a religious requirement has part of the Oath

67 Article Seven--Ratification
Section One— Convention—calling of delegates from each state to ratify the Constitution Must have nine states to approve the Constitution

68 CLOSURE Constitution was finished September 17, 1787
55 total delegates during the convention 42 were present on the final day but only 39 people signed the Constitution The following two years provided debate for ratification The United States Constitution took effect April 30 , 1789 when George Washington was sworn in as President

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