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We The People THE CONSTITUTION Roots of the Constitution n More freedom in colonies n Administration of colonies was expensive, especially protection.

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Presentation on theme: "We The People THE CONSTITUTION Roots of the Constitution n More freedom in colonies n Administration of colonies was expensive, especially protection."— Presentation transcript:



3 Roots of the Constitution n More freedom in colonies n Administration of colonies was expensive, especially protection (Seven Years’ War) n Great Britain taxed the colonies to meet costs. n Resistance from colonists –Taxation without representation

4 Response n First Continental Congress (1774) –Major concern was to oppose activities by the British n Second Continental Congress (1775) –More concerned w/ gaining independence n Revolutionary War n Declaration of Independence –Based large on Locke’s writing (social contract theory) –Right of rebellion –Issues of denial of personal freedom and liberty

5 Development of a Government Part I n Concerned w/ strong, national government. n Articles of Confederation –Set up a confederation - a loose association of independent states that agree to cooperate on certain matters –Each state had one vote in national congress –Requirement of 9 states to pass any measure; unanimous to amend Articles n Weak central and strong state governments

6 Failure of the Articles n National government did not have power to tax n There was no central leader of the nation n Government could not regulate interstate and foreign commerce n Could only be amended by unanimous consent n Shay’s Rebellion

7 Development of a Government Part II n The problems of the Articles led to the calling of the Constitutional Convention –Purpose was to revise the Articles –Instead they began to create a new constitution (treason??) –Pledge of secrecy n Virginia Plan versus the New Jersey Plan

8 Conflict and Debate Virginia Plan n 3 branches of gov., legislative, executive, judiciary n 2 house legislature n Representation based on population n Legislature would select executive(s) n Big state support New Jersey Plan n Single house legislature n States have equal representation n Multiperson executive elected by legislature without veto power n Small state support

9 The Great Compromise n Conflict between large and small states particularly as it related to representation n Great Compromise provided for –Two-house legislature –House of Rep. would be based on population; revenue raising acts had to originate in the House –Equal representation in the Senate; selected by state legislatures and not the people n Three-Fifths Compromise

10 What about the Executive? n Founders did not want popular election, distrusted people’s judgment n Small states against election by legislature n Developed the Electoral College n Impeachment for removal

11 Basic Principles of the Constitution n Federalism n Separation of Powers n Checks and Balances

12 Federalism n Division of power between central government and regional units n Constitution lists the powers given to the national government and denied to the states n All others remain with the states

13 Separation of Powers n Three distinct branches of government –Executive (president) = Law-enforcing –Legislative (Congress) = Lawmaking –Judicial (Courts) = Law-interpreting n Ensures power does not fall in a single branch’s hand n In reality, we have separate institutions sharing power

14 Checks and Balances n Gives each branch some control over the other branches n Prevents the exercise of power by any one branch of government n E.G., Congress passes a law, but the president can veto; Congress can then override with a 2/3 majority vote

15 Article I -- Legislative Article n Bicameral (two-chamber) Congress n Provides enumerated (stated) powers n Necessary and Proper Clause or Elastic Clause –gives Congress the ability to execute the enumerated powers. »“ make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.”

16 Article II -- Executive Article n Establishes president’s term of office (4 years) n Procedures for electing n Qualifications n Duties and powers –Commander-in-Chief –Making treaties –Appointing government officers

17 Article III -- Judicial Article n Very vague n Established a Supreme Court as supreme court in the land –Did not establish size, or procedures to follow n Congress created a federal court system n Judges serve life terms (unless impeached) n Does not provide right to judicial review, this was implied later in court case.

18 Articles IV - VII n Article IV –Full faith and credit -- states must honor laws of other states n Article V –methods of amending Constitution n Article VI –Supremacy Clause -- when in conflict, national laws take precedent over state and local laws n Article VII -- Ratification process

19 Debate and Ratification n Viewpoints of two conflicting groups: – Federalists (supporting ratification) and Antifederalist (opposing ratification) n Federalist Papers –Written to defend the Constitution and promote ratification (Jay, Hamilton, Madison) –Federalist #10 –Federalist #51 n Bill of Rights –First ten amendment that protect basic freedoms

20 Changing the Constitution n Proposal –Proposal by 2/3 majority of the House and Senate OR –National convention summoned by Congress at the request of 2/3 of the state legislatures (never used) n Ratification –Legislature in 3/4 of the states OR –Conventions in 3/4 of the states (used only once, 21st) n Amendment Categories –structural changes, expanding rights, public policy, overruling Supreme Court decisions.

21 Informal Changes n Court Interpretation –Supreme Court interprets the Constitution and their interpretation may change. n Social and Cultural Change –Congress took on more power after Depression

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