Presentation on theme: "United States Constitution 101"— Presentation transcript:
1 United States Constitution 101 An Introduction & Overview to the US ConstitutionUnited States Constitution 101
2 What is the US Constitution? The supreme law of the United States.It is the foundation and source of the legal authority underlying the existence of the United States of America and the Federal Government of the United States.It provides the framework for the organization of the United States Government.
3 Who Wrote It?James Madison is considered “the father of the Constitution.”His important contributions:The Virginia PlanSeparation of PowersBill of RightsTook notes on Constitutional Convention
5 Why was it written?After the Revolutionary War, the Articles of Confederation set up the structure of the US Government.The federal government was extremely weak and this created many problems.
6 When/Where was it written? May 25th to September 17th, 1787PhiladelphiaCalled the “Constitutional Convention.”
7 Virginia Plan: Big State Plan Created a bicameral legislatureelected lower chamberan upper chamber appointed by thelower houseLegislature - powers to elect a national executiveLegislature - appoint a national judiciary (court)Problem - representation was set by population
9 New Jersey Plan: Small State Plan Unicameral legislature where every state received equal representation.A “one state, one vote” plan,Congressional authority to levy taxes, regulate tradeCongressional authority elected an executive body that would then appoint a judiciary
10 Great Compromise:Hybrid of VA and NJ Plans:Bicameral legislature:House of Reps based on populationSenate based upon equal representation
11 Three-Fifth’s Clause: Slavery was illegal in most northern states, but it was essential in the SouthSouthern states wanted slaves counted in their populations, as this determined the number of members sent to the House of RepresentativesSlaves count as 3/5’s of a person for representation purposes.
12 Ratification DebateNeeded 9 of 13 states to ratify or official approve of the Constitution before it went into effect.A huge debate emerged between two sides:FederalistsAnti-Federalists
13 Federalists v. Anti-Federalists Supported a weaker central government – felt too much power was taken away from the statesOpposed the ConstitutionWanted a Bill of Rights includedSamuel Adams, Patrick HenryFederalists:Supported the Constitution and a strong central governmentAlexander Hamilton, James Madison, John JayFederalist Papers – series of articles written in defense of the Constitution
14 Ratification Officially adopted after ratified by New Hampshire. Once the new government convened, they added a Bill of Rights to the Constitution.
15 Structure of the Constitution Preamble:Statement of purposeArticles:I: Legislative BranchII: Executive BranchIII: Judicial BranchIV: Relations Among the StatesV: Amendment ProcessVI: Federal PowerVII: Ratification
16 Structure of the Constitution Amendments:27 Total1st ten are the Bill of Rights
20 Article I: Legislative Branch Important Powers:Make lawsSet taxesDeclare warOverride VetoesBorrow moneyRegulate international and national tradePrint moneyBicameral:Senate2 Senators for each stateHouse of RepresentativesBased on populationReps serve for 2 year termsSenators serve for 6 year terms
22 Article II: Executive Branch Important powers:Commander-in-ChiefGrant pardonsMake treatiesAppoint federal officersEnsure laws are executedPresident and Vice President are elected to 4 year termsQualifications:At least 35 years old14 year resident of the USNatural born citizenElected by the Electoral CollegeOnly 2 terms in office
24 Article III: Judicial Branch Supreme Court judges serve for life unless impeached.Judicial power rests with US Supreme Court and other courts created by CongressImportant Powers:Decides cases of Constitutional law and federal lawCases involving ambassadors go straight to Supreme CourtJudicial Review comes later (1803 – Marbury v. Madison)
27 Other Important Articles: Article V: Amendments:Amendments are proposed when 2/3 of House and Senate deem it necessaryAmendments are proposed when 2/3 of states deem it necessaryAmendments must be ratified by ¾ of state legislatures or by conventions in ¾ of statesArticle VI: Federal PowerSupremacy Clause: Federal law is supreme to state lawNo religious tests for public office
28 Informal Methods of Constitutional Change Congressional legislationPresidential actionJudicial reviewInterpretation, custom, and usage
29 Amending the Constitution: 11,000 amendments have been considered by Congressonly 33 have been submitted to the states after being approvedonly 27 have been ratified since 1789amendments have usually been accompanied by time limits for ratificationThe National Convention Provisionif two-thirds of states request a national convention400 requests have been receivedno national convention has been held since 1787
31 The Bill of RightsA Bill of Limits: the package was assembled by Madison, who culled through almost 200 state suggestionsThere were no explicit limits on state government powersThe Bill of Rights was applicable only to the national government until the Fourteenth Amendment incorporated some of these rights
32 Important Amendments: Bill of Rights Freedom of religion, of speech, of the press, to assemble, and to petition
46 Other Important Amendments: Reconstruction Amendments 13th Amendmentabolished slavery14th AmendmentDue process and equal protection under the lawAll persons born in US are citizens15th AmendmentRight to vote regardless of race, color, or previous servitude
47 Other Important Amendments: 18th AmendmentProhibition of alcohol19th Amendment:Women’s suffrage21st Amendment:Repeals prohibition22nd Amendment:Presidential term limits24th Amendment:Prohibits poll taxes for voting26th Amendment:lowers voting age to 18
48 What are the basic principals of the Constitution? Popular SovereigntyGovernment power resides in the peopleLimited governmentGovernment is not all powerful, can only do what the people let it.Separation of PowersHelps prevent one branch from becoming too powerfulChecks and BalancesFederalismDivision of power among national and state governments