Presentation on theme: "Structure of the Constitution"— Presentation transcript:
1 Structure of the Constitution Chapter 3, Lesson 3
2 Is more than just a plan for government! The Constitution…Is the highest authority in the nationIs the basic law of the United StatesIs where we find explanations of the three branchesIs a symbol of our nationStands for our basic ideals such as personal liberty and democracyIs more than just a plan for government!
3 Three Parts of the constitution PreambleStates the goals and purposes of the governmentBegins with, “We the people…”Seven ArticlesDescribe the way the government is set up27 AmendmentsAdditions and changes to the Constitution
4 Tells us that the power of the government comes from the people The preambleConsists of one single, powerful sentence that begins and ends as follows,“We the people of the United States… do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”Tells us that the power of the government comes from the people
5 The middle part of the Preamble states six purposes of government. 1. To “form a more perfect union”2. To “establish justice”3. Ensure domestic tranquility4. To “provide for common defense”5. To “promote the general welfare”6. To “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”
6 The seven articlesArticle 1 outlines the Legislative branchArticle 2 outlines the Executive branchArticle 3 outlines the Judicial branchArticle 4 explains the relationship between the federal and state governmentsArticle 5 describes when and how the Constitution can be changedArticle 6 declares the Constitution the “supreme law of the land.”Article 7 describes how the Constitution was to be ratified
7 The amendmentsAmendment- a change to the ConstitutionThe first 10 amendments make up the Bill of RightsThousands of amendments have been considered over the last years, but only 27 have been ratifiedWhy? The framers made it very difficult to change the Constitution on purpose because they didn’t want the Constitution to be amended without the overwhelming support of the people.They wanted the Constitution to be easier to change than the Articles because they wanted it to be able to change with social conditions
8 How is our constitution unique? It has less than 7,000 words, making a short constitution compared to those of other countriesIt does not go into a lot of detailHow could this flexibility and lack of detail be a strength?
9 Amending the Constitution There are two steps to amending the Constitution: proposal and ratification.Two types of proposal: 1) Act of Congress by a vote of 2/3. 2) National convention called by 2/3 of the state legislatures.Once an amendment has been proposed, it must be ratified by 3/4 of the states. Ratification can be voted on by the state legislature (state congress) or by a special state convention.
11 Interpreting the constitution The framers knew that they world would change in ways they could not predict so they kept the Constitution as general as possible.The “necessary and proper” or elastic clause allows Congress to stretch their powers to meet the needs of modern society (technology). Not everyone agrees on how far these powers should stretch.Some people believe that Congress should be allowed to make any laws that the Constitution does not forbid and that fit its purposes. These people have a “loose” interpretation of the Constitution.Others think Congress should only make the kinds of laws mentioned in the Constitution. These people have a “strict” interpretation of the Constitution.
12 Who does the interpreting? The final authority for interpreting the Constitution is the Supreme Court. Over the years they have interpreted it strictly and loosely.What determines how the Court interprets the Constitution?Congress and the President also interpret the Constitution by taking actions not directed by it. Ex. The Constitution does not say the President can propose budgets to Congress, but all of them have.Interpretations change as society changes. Ex. The Constitution does not say anything about political parties, but they are an important part of our political system.