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Structure of the Constitution

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Presentation on theme: "Structure of the Constitution"— Presentation transcript:

1 Structure of the Constitution

2 Preamble (Introduction)
Goals To form a more perfect union To establish justice To ensure domestic tranquility What It Means to Us All states work together as a unified nation. Everyone should be treated equally and fairly under the law. The government has the responsibility to ensure peace and order at home.

3 Preamble (Introduction)
Goals To provide for the common defense To promote the general welfare To secure the blessings of liberty What It Means to Us The government has the responsibility to protect its citizens against foreign attack. The government has the responsibility to to promote the well-being of all its citizens. The government should value and protect the rights of its citizens.

4 Articles The main body of the Constitution is divided into seven sections called articles. Article 1 – Powers and limits of Congress Article 2 – Powers and limits of the President Article 3 – Powers and limits of the Courts Article 4 – Relations between States Article 5 – Amendment Process Article 6 – Federal priority in disputes “Supreme Law of the Land” Article 7 – Ratification Process

5 Amendments A formal change in the Constitution
There have been 27 amendments to the Constitution. The first 10 amendments, passed in 1791, are called the Bill of Rights.

6 Proposing an Amendment Ratifying an Amendment
The Amendment Process Proposing an Amendment Two Methods Congress can propose an amendment if both houses vote for a change to the Constitution. The legislatures of 34 states can call for a national convention to formally propose an amendment Ratifying an Amendment Two Methods An amendment can be ratified by the approval of 38 state legislatures. An amendment can also be ratified through the action of state conventions.

7 Principles of the Constitution
Popular Sovereignty Limited Government Separation of Powers The people are the primary source of the government’s authority. The government has only the powers that the Constitution gives it. The Constitution divides the government into three branches, and each branch has its own duties.

8 Separation of Powers Congress Passes Laws
Can override President’s veto Approves treaties Can impeach and remove President and other high officials Prints and coins money Raises and supports armed forces Can declare war Regulates foreign and interstate trade

9 Separation of Powers The President Carries out Laws
Proposes laws Can veto laws Negotiates foreign treaties Serves as commander in chief of armed forces Appoints federal judges, ambassadors, and other high officials Can grant pardons to federal offenders

10 Separation of Powers The Supreme Court Interprets Laws
Can declare laws unconstitutional Can declare executive actions unconstitutional

11 Checks and Balances Congress Passes Laws
Checks on Executive Branch Can override President’s veto Confirms executive appointments Can impeach and remove President Appropriates money Ratifies treaties Can declare war Checks on Judicial Branch Creates lower federal courts Can impeach and remove judges Can propose amendments to overrule judicial decisions Approves appointments of federal judges

12 Checks and Balances The President Carries out Laws
Checks on Legislative Branch Can propose laws Can veto laws Can call special sessions of Congress Makes appointments Negotiates foreign treaties Checks on Judicial Branch Appoints federal judges Can grant pardons to federal offenders

13 Checks and Balances Supreme Court Interprets Laws
Check on Executive Branch Can declare executive actions unconstitutional Check on Legislative Branch Can declare acts of Congress unconstitutional

14 Principles of the Constitution
Federalism Republicanism Individual Rights The division of power between the federal government and the states. Instead of direct participation in government, citizens elect representatives to carry out their will. The Constitution protects individual rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to trial by jury.

15 How the Government Works Legislative Branch
Senate 2 per state Serve 6 years Must be 30 or over Citizen for 9 years Resident of state 100 Members Vice President presides and can vote if there is a tie House of Representatives At least 1 per state Based on population Serve 2 years Must be 25 or over Citizen for 7 years Resident of state 435 Members Speaker regulates debates and agenda

16 How the Government Works Legislative Branch
The most important power of Congress is the power to make the nation’s laws. Either house of Congress may introduce a bill. After debate and changes, the bill is voted on. If both houses vote to approve the bill, it then goes to the President to be signed. If the President signs the bill, it becomes law. The President can veto the bill. Congress may override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote. Much of the work in Congress is done through committees, such as defense, transportation, education, etc.

17 How the Government Works Executive Branch
Qualifications for President Must be a natural born citizen Must be at least 35 years old Must have been a resident of the United States for 14 years Term Limits A President cannot be elected to more than two terms since the ratification of the 22nd Amendment in 1951. A person who serves out the term of someone else for a period of 2 years or more cannot be elected to more than one additional term.

18 The Executive Branch The executive branch is headed by the President and includes 15 departments, each headed by a secretary. The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. He can: Propose laws Veto bills Negotiate treaties Grant pardons to federal offenders Appoint federal judges, ambassadors, and other high officials

19 The Electoral College The Electoral College chooses the President based on the popular vote in each state. The number of electors in each state is determined by the number of senators and representatives. The candidate with the most popular votes “wins” the states’ electoral votes. California has 55 electors.

20 How the Government Works Judicial Branch
Supreme Court The Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S.A. Justices are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate There are 9 Supreme Court justices, who are appointed for life. The court is the nation’s final court of appeal. It hears and decides fewer than 100 cases each year. The Supreme Court’s most important power is judicial review, the power to determine what the Constitution means.

21 The Judicial Branch Most federal cases begin in district courts.
A party that disagrees with the court decision may appeal the decision to an appellate court. An appellate court reviews the decisions of district courts to decide whether the lower court judges interpreted and applied the law correctly. Most cases are tried under state jurisdiction because they involve state laws.

22 State and Local Governments
Powers of the National Government Powers Reserved to the States Regulate interstate and foreign trade Set standard weights and measures Create and maintain armed forces Make copyright and patent laws Establish postal offices Establish foreign policy Create federal courts Coin money Declare war Admit new states Create corporation law Regulate trade within state Maintain schools Establish local governments Make laws about marriage and divorce Conduct elections Provide for public safety

23 State and Local Governments
Administer smaller units such as, counties, cities, and towns Most of the money is spent on schools. They are required to meet State education standards. Provide firefighters, police officers, and garbage collectors. Maintain local roads and hospitals, provide sewers and water, run libraries, oversee parks and recreation facilities, and conduct safety inspections of buildings.

24 Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship
Becoming an American Citizen To become a citizen of the United States, you must fulfill one of the following three requirements: You were born in the U.S. or have at least one parent who is a citizen of the U.S. You were naturalized. You were 18 years old or younger when your parents were naturalized. To become naturalized, a person must live legally within the U.S. for at least five years. They can then apply for citizenship. He or she must take a citizenship examination and undergo a series of interviews. Finally, the applicant takes the citizenship oath before a judge.

25 Responsibilities of Citizens
A citizen must: Obey federal, state, and local laws; Pay their fair share of taxes; Serve on juries if called; Defend the nation if called. Good citizens should: Vote in federal, state, and local elections; Stay informed on important issues; Serve the community; Help to create a just society.

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