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Chapter 3: The Constitution of the United States of America.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3: The Constitution of the United States of America."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Chapter 3: The Constitution of the United States of America

3 Why Does the Constitution Matter? The Constitution matters for these reasons: It is the law of the land It is the law of the land It has lasted as a stable and secure government for 220 years with only minor changes required It has lasted as a stable and secure government for 220 years with only minor changes required Other countries now model their Constitutions off of ours Other countries now model their Constitutions off of ours

4 A Brief Outline The Preamble – lays out the purpose and introduces the Constitution The Articles – the substance of governmental law The Amendments Uncle Sam needs you to study harder!

5 The Seven Articles I. The Legislative Branch II. The Executive Branch III. The Judicial Branch IV. Relations Among States V. The Amendment Process VI. National Debts, National Supremacy, Oaths of Office VII. Requirements for Ratification

6 1. Popular Sovereignty – supreme power rests with and only with the people Note – Founding Fathers did not believe in pure popular sovereignty… they feared direct democracy of the masses Note – Founding Fathers did not believe in pure popular sovereignty… they feared direct democracy of the masses The Six Basic Principles of the Constitution

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8 2. Limited Government Also called constitutionalism, and rule of law Also called constitutionalism, and rule of law Government is not all-powerful Government is not all-powerful Nixon Pelosi Reid

9 The Six Basic Principles of the Constitution 3. Separation of Powers U.S. uses a presidential government, where the executive and legislative branches are chosen separately U.S. uses a presidential government, where the executive and legislative branches are chosen separately Each branch has its own powers and responsibilities Each branch has its own powers and responsibilities

10 The Six Basic Principles of the Constitution 4. Checks and Balances Each branch is not totally independent of the others Each branch is not totally independent of the others

11 The Six Basic Principles of the Constitution 4. Checks and Balances They have powers to override each other when necessary They have powers to override each other when necessary

12 If I had gotten a few more checks… Id be the President.

13 With that statement, a lonely tear will slide down John Kerrys face every night, for the rest of his life.

14 The Six Basic Principles of the Constitution 5. Judicial Review Courts may determine whether or not what the President or Congress does is Constitutional

15 The Six Basic Principles of the Constitution 5. Judicial Review If court declares an act unconstitutional, the act is not a law, and the decision cannot be overridden

16 The Six Basic Principles of the Constitution 6. Federalism The national government is given certain powers by the Constitution The national government is given certain powers by the Constitution Whatever is left is a power for the states to use Whatever is left is a power for the states to use

17 The Amendment Process

18 Two Kinds of Amendments Formal Amendment Process – an actual written, numbered amendment to the Constitution Informal Amendment Process – changes made over time without passing a Constitutional Amendment

19 Formal Amendment Step 1 – Must Be Proposed Step 2 – Must Be Ratified

20 2 Ways to Propose an Amendment 1. 2/3 vote in both houses of Congress All 27 Amendments were proposed this way All 27 Amendments were proposed this way 2. Constitutional Convention requested by 2/3 of the states Has not ever been used Has not ever been used

21 2 Ways to Ratify an Amendment 1. 3/4 of state legislatures approve it 26 of the 27 Amendments were ratified this way 26 of the 27 Amendments were ratified this way 2. 3/4 of conventions called by the states approve it Only the 21 st Amendment was ratified this way Only the 21 st Amendment was ratified this way

22 The First Ten Amendments… Whats wrong with giving us a Bill of Rights? Will it take up too much paper? Patrick Henry

23 The Bill of Rights These are awesome! And you get to memorize them!

24 The 1 st Amendment Freedom of Religion Freedom of Speech Freedom of the Press Right to Assembly Right to Petition

25 2 Parts to Freedom of Religion Constitution never uses the words, separation of church and state Free Exercise Clause – allows people to freely practice religion Establishment Clause – prevents government from establishing or endorsing any particular religion

26 The 2 nd Amendment The Right to Bear Arms Not the Right to Bare Arms

27 Typical High School Boy Questions? So does this mean I can do whatever I want with guns?

28 The 3 rd Amendment No Quartering of Soldiers in Times of Peace

29 The 4 th Amendment Protection Against Unreasonable Search and Seizure

30 The 5 th Amendment No Double Jeopardy (Cant be charged with the same crime twice) Protection against self- incrimination Guarantee of Due Process of Law

31 The 6 th Amendment Right to a Criminal Trial by Jury Trial must be speedy, public Trial must be speedy, public Must be in the state where the crime was committed Must be in the state where the crime was committed Right to legal counsel Right to legal counsel

32 The 7 th Amendment Right to a Civil Trial by Jury Any case over $20 Any case over $20

33 The 8 th Amendment Protection Against Cruel and Unusual Punishment

34 The 9 th Amendment Rights Retained by the People In other words, just because a right isnt listed here in the Constitution doesnt mean that people dont have that right In other words, just because a right isnt listed here in the Constitution doesnt mean that people dont have that right

35 The 10 th Amendment Powers Granted to the States All powers that are not given to the national government are reserved for the states All powers that are not given to the national government are reserved for the states

36 Informal Amendments The vast majority of changes to the Constitution have not changed the words in the Constitution There are five ways these changes have been made

37 Basic Legislation Congress laws provide specific details about the vague purposes and ideas in the Constitution

38 Basic Legislation Congress also changes its own powers over time, based on the words of the Constitution

39 Executive Action Presidents are always looking for ways to stretch and grow their powers Thus, presidents today are much more powerful than in the past

40 Court Decisions Since Marbury v. Madison, the court has had the power to declare acts of the president and Congress unconstitutional

41 Court Decisions This power is called judicial review, and the court uses it to tell us what they interpret the Constitution to mean

42 Party Practices Political parties did not exist at the nations start, but they have become an almost necessary element

43 Party Practices The electoral college used to decide together who would be the president. Now, they just rubber stamp the choice of voters

44 Custom Many customs have developed that we follow just as strongly as laws Senatorial Courtesy – when nominating a judge, the president always asks the permission of the two Senators from the judges state Senatorial Courtesy – when nominating a judge, the president always asks the permission of the two Senators from the judges state Cabinet – 15 advisors for the president are not in the Constitution Cabinet – 15 advisors for the president are not in the Constitution


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