2 I. Roots of the Constitution After four months, the delegates created a new constitution that allowed for a strong central government of the United States.Our framers studied other governments, and political philosophers which influenced our Constitution including ancient Greece, Magna Carta, John Locke, De Montesquieu and the Enlightenment period.Our Constitution is a contract between the government and the people…it is our plan of government.James Madison is known as the “Father of the Constitution.”
3 II. The Federal SystemFederalism means the sharing of power between the federal (national) and state governments.Constitution gave the Federal government broad powers: regulate trade, control the currency, raise an army and declare war. Federal gov’t could also pass laws that were “necessary and proper” for carrying out its responsibilities.Constitution also gave states powers as well, including pass and enforce laws (marriage and divorce laws), regulate trade within their borders, create schools, locate governments and other institutions that will help their citizens = Reserved powersConstitution gave both the federal and state governments the power to tax and build roads = Concurrent powers.Constitution is the supreme law of the land. No state can make laws that go against the Constitution. Why?
4 III. Organization of the Government: Federal government is divided up into 3 Separate Branches 1. Legislative Branch: makes the laws for the Federal Government. It is made of two houses: House of Representatives- based off of a state’s population and the Senate- each state would have two Senators. Both of houses combined is called Congress. Congress has the power to tax, coin money, regulate trade, declare war, raise and support armies, and make laws needed to fulfill the functions of the Legislative branch stated in the Constitution.
5 III. Continued2. Executive Branch: headed by the President to carry out the nation’s laws and policies. The president is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and conducts relations with foreign countries. The president has several cabinet departments that help him carry out laws and policies. Both the President and Vice President are elected into office by the Electoral College. Each state chooses electors to cast their vote for President and Vice President. How many electors does each state have? It is equal to the number of House of Representatives and Senators for each State. (For example: Indiana has 11 Electoral College votes.)
6 III. Continued3. Judicial Branch: Court System. The Federal government’s judicial power in in “one supreme court” and the Federal courts. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the nation.
7 IV. Checks and Balances: Separation of powers…Why? The framers of the Constitution did not want one branch of government to gain too much power over the other two. Therefore, they created a system of checks and balances.Examples of Checks and BalancesBoth the House and the Senate must pass a bill before it becomes a law and the president can “check” Congress by vetoing or rejecting the bill….meaning he refuses to sign the bill into law.
8 IV. ContinuedIf the President vetoes a bill, Congress can “check” the President by overriding the veto= Congress re votes on the bill but must have 2/3 majority in both House of Representatives and Senate to pass it. Then the President cannot reject it and it is signed into law.Another example: The President can appoint/select Supreme Court Justices but the Senate must approve them.
9 IV. Continued…Supreme Court can “check” the Congress and the President by ruling on the constitutionality of laws and presidential acts. We call this check: Judicial Review.
10 IV. ContinuedOur Constitution was an experiment , a first of its kind! It proved that people can change their government through discussion and choice rather than through war or force!
11 V. Constitutional Debate: While the convention created the Constitution, it had to be approved by the people (states). Nine of the thirteen states had to ratify (approved) the Constitution before it became law.States set up ratifying conventions where state legislatures decided to support the Constitution or not.
12 V. Constitutional Debate Federalists: Supporters of the new Constitution included G. Washington, B. Franklin, J. Madison, A. Hamilton, and J. Jay. Madison, Hamilton and Jay wrote the Federalist Papers to persuade the public to support the ideas of Federalism and the Constitution. They supported having a strong national government.
13 V. ContinuedAnti-Federalists: People who opposed the Constitution. They too wrote papers to persuade the public called the Anti- Federalist Papers. They believed that the new Constitution would take away the liberties of Americans. They also believed that the Constitution created a strong central government. They feared it ignore the will of the people and would favor the wealthy few over the common people. Also- no government could be trusted to the protect the freedoms of the people, therefore, several state conventions wanted a bill of rights attached to the Constitution. Abraham Yates, George Clinton and Richard Henry Lee were Anti Federalists.
14 VI. Adopting the Constitution December 7th, 1787: Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution .The 9th state to adopt/ratify was New Hampshire on June 21st, 1788 = in theory with the 9th state to adopt then the Constitution would go into effect .PROBLEM! The two largest states had not ratified it- New York and Virginia. Virginia finally ratified after being reassured that a bill of rights would be added to the Constitution (added in 1791).
15 V. ContinuedNew York ratified it in 1788 and then the two remaining states of North Carolina and Rhode Island soon followed.So ALL 13 states ratified/approved the Constitution.Do you think it was important to just get 9 of the 13 or all 13 states to ratify it? Why?