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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:

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

2 Why Does the Constitution Matter?
The Constitution matters for these reasons: It is the law of the land 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

3 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!

4 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

5 The Six Basic Principles of the Constitution
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

6 The Six Basic Principles of the Constitution

7 The Six Basic Principles of the Constitution
2. Limited Government Also called constitutionalism, and rule of law Government is not all-powerful Nixon Pelosi Reid

8 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 Each branch has its own powers and responsibilities

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

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

11 If I had gotten a few more checks…
I’d be the President.

12 With that statement, a lonely tear will slide down John Kerry’s face every night, for the rest of his life.

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

14 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

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

16 The Amendment Process

17 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

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

19 2 Ways to Propose an Amendment
1. 2/3 vote in both houses of Congress All 27 Amendments were proposed this way 2. Constitutional Convention requested by 2/3 of the states Has not ever been used

20 2 Ways to Ratify an Amendment
1. 3/4 of state legislatures approve it 26 of the 27 Amendments were ratified this way 2. 3/4 of conventions called by the states approve it Only the 21st Amendment was ratified this way

21 The First Ten Amendments…
“What’s wrong with giving us a Bill of Rights? Will it take up too much paper? “ Patrick Henry

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

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

24 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

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

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

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

28 The 4th Amendment Protection Against Unreasonable Search and Seizure

29 The 5th Amendment No Double Jeopardy (Can’t be charged with the same crime twice) Protection against self-incrimination Guarantee of Due Process of Law

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

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

32 The 8th Amendment Protection Against Cruel and Unusual Punishment

33 The 9th Amendment Rights Retained by the People
In other words, just because a right isn’t listed here in the Constitution doesn’t mean that people don’t have that right

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

35 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

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

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

38 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

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

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

41 Party Practices Political parties did not exist at the nation’s start, but they have become an almost necessary element

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

43 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 judge’s state Cabinet – 15 advisors for the president are not in the Constitution

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