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The Constitution Everything you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask.

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Presentation on theme: "The Constitution Everything you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Constitution Everything you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask.

2 Important Documents Magna Carta: king had to obey laws, how to limit governments power English Bill of Rights: protected citizens rights, right to trial by jury Mayflower Compact: first document to establish self-government in North America Articles of Confederation: established first federal government and provided a congress to pass laws for the U.S. All states were represented, 100% state vote for amendments Created to better unite the 13 states as a nation

3 Major Principles of the Constitution Federalism: divides power between the central & state governments Believed state gov. would better understand needs of people Constitutionalism: individual rights, powers/responsibilities of the gov., limits gov. power (checks & balances), separation of powers, allows for amendments Dual Sovereignty: state and federal governments are recognized as independent powers Separation of Powers: divides gov. into 3 branches Checks and Balances: each branch can limit the power of the others. For ex., Presidential veto, Congressional override (2/3 vote) This way, no one branch becomes too powerful. Majority Rule: Gov. does what is best for the majority of the people, natural rights of life and property are protected from the strong Monarchism: kings are descendants of gods, divine right to rule, did NOT guide the authors of the Const. Republicanism: right of the people to elect leaders to serve and protect their interests promoting the common welfare

4 The Bill of Rights Guarantees individual liberties, added to protect states and its people from potential gov. abuse protects ALL people in U.S. First: right to free speech, unless false and damages a persons reputation, gov. cannot support any one religion Fourth: no unreasonable searches & seizures, officials need a warrant & probable cause to search places and/or things Fifth: rights of the accused, due process, people are NOT given the right to be free until the trial is over. Eighth: people will not pay more than is reasonable for breaking a law, or be tortured for committing a crime Tenth: reserves powers to the states not given to the fed. gov.

5 Federalists/Federalist Papers Federalists supported the Const., strong central gov., Anti-federalists believed the Const. created a too-powerful gov. Federalist Papers: primarily authored by James Madison, written in support of the Const., gave Fed. gov. not too much and not too little power Federalist Papers #47: stated that a tyrannical gov. would emerge unless gov. power was separated (separation of powers)

6 Powers of Congress (Legislative Branch) Enumerated powers: punish counterfeiters, create post offices, declaring war, coin money, but cant make laws on education or marriage Sets up federal courts inferior to Supreme Court to meet the needs of the people Has jurisdiction over impeachment trials Elastic Clause, Article 1, Sec. 8, clause 18: allows Congress to create, any laws necessary (stretching its power) in order to carry out all other laws

7 Powers of the President (Executive Branch) Carries out/enforces the law Can command the military, grant pardons to criminals, appoint judges to Supreme court (with Senate approval), but CANNOT declare war Can veto a bill created by Congress, which checks their power

8 Powers of the Supreme Court (Judicial Branch) Interprets/explains laws Has jurisdiction (power) over cases involving an ambassador, cases between states, and trials involving the U.S., but NOT over ALL crimes, such as in impeachment cases Declares laws unconstitutional, checking the power of Congress

9 Important leaders and their Ideas George Washington: President of the Constitutional Convention James Madison: Father, or architect of the Constitution, also authored most of the Federalist Papers Thomas Jefferson: wrote Dec. of Independence, states that gov. gets its power from the people being governed. Also, that people can alter or abolish their gov. if it no longer protects their rights Also wrote Statute for Religious Freedom, which established principles of religious freedom and the separation between church and state, he believed people should be able to choose their religious beliefs

10 Laws of the Constitution Framers of the constitution counted slaves as 3/5ths of a person to determine state representation and taxes Slave trade could not be banned for 20 years after the signing of the Const. Indian Tribes were considered to be sovereign and independent of the U.S. Laws of the Federal gov. are supreme above all others. Const.: a living document, its always changing to meet the needs of the people

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