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Chapter 3. The U.S. Constitution . Section 1- Basic Principles. The Framers designed the Constitution on five basic principles: Popular sovereignty Limited Government Separation of Powers Checks and Balances Federalism

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Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

Chapter 3

The U.S. Constitution

Section 1 basic principles

Section 1- Basic Principles

  • The Framers designed the Constitution on five basic principles:

    • Popular sovereignty

    • Limited Government

    • Separation of Powers

    • Checks and Balances

    • Federalism

      • Popular Sovereignty means that the governments authority comes from the people. This principle can be found through out the US Constitution.

Principles of the constitution

Principles of the Constitution

Section 1 basic principles1

Section 1- Basic Principles

  • Popular Sovereignty

    • For a government to truly serve the people, it must be based on popular sovereignty. It means that the government’s authority comes from the people.

    • The principle can be found throughout the constitution- i.e. The Preamble

Section 1 basic principles2

Section 1- Basic Principles

  • Limited Government

    • Restricts the governments power.

    • The Constitution limits government by establishing guidelines for how the government may act.

    • Section 9- Article 1: Lists powers that the national government

Section 9 of article 1

Section 9 of Article 1

  • The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

  • The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

  • No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

  • (No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.)(Section in parentheses clarified by the 16th Amendment.)

  • No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

  • No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

  • No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

  • No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

Section 1 basic principles3

Section 1- Basic Principles

  • Separation of Powers

    • Makes sure that no one branch has too much power.

    • Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the constitution.

Section 1 basic principles4

Section 1- Basic Principles

  • Checks and Balances:

    • The Constitution also prevents the concentration and abuse of power by giving each branch of government the authority to check or restrain, the powers of the two other branches.

Section 1 basic principles5

Section 1- Basic Principles

  • Checks and Balances:

    • Judicial Review: The judicial branch also has an important role in the system of checks and balances. While federal judges are nominated by the president and must be approved by the senate, federal courts can check the powers of the legislative and executive branches through judicial review.

    • Judicial Review- is the power of the courts to decide if laws and other government actions are valid under the US Constitution.

Checks and balances in the federal government

Checks and Balances in the Federal Government



  • The Constitution is designed to protect the rights of the states by establishing a federal system of government.

  • A federal system is where powers are divided among a national, state, and local government.

  • The Constitution specifically prohibits states from exercising certain powers that belong to the national government.

Section 2 amending the constitution

Section 2- Amending the Constitution

  • The framers also created means by which the Constitution could be amended. There are two ways to propose an amendment.

    • The First way is by a vote in Congress.

    • The second is by a national convention that is called by Congress at the request of at least 2/3rds of the state legislatures * A method that has never been used.

Section 2 amending the constitution1

Section 2- Amending the Constitution

  • There are two ways to ratify amendments to the Constitution.

    • The first is through a vote of the state legislatures. At least 3/4ths of the states must approve the amendment before it becomes part of the Constitution.

    • The second method requires approval of special conventions in at least 3/4ths of the states.

Section 2 amending the constitution2

Section 2- Amending the Constitution

  • Amending the constitution is difficult, which has helped limit the number of constitutional amendments to just 27!

  • The first ten Amendments- The Bill of Rights (think of federalists vs. Anti-federalists) protect individual liberties as well as powers of the states.

  • Who wanted the Bill of Rights?

  • Later Amendments extending voting rights and the governments power.

Bill of rights

Bill of Rights

Section 3 a flexible document

Section 3- A flexible Document

  • Because it is a flexible document, the Constitution allows government to adapt to new circumstances.

  • Under the constitution, government actions, political parties, and custom and tradition have all helped government adapt to changing times.

    • Government actions include court decisions, congressional legislation, and executive actions.

    • Political parties play an important in elections and in organizing the daily operations of Congress.

    • Tradition and custom strongly influence how government carries out its functions.

Section 4 the constitution and the public good

Section 4- The Constitution and the Public Good

  • The framers created a constitution that prevents factions from taking control of the government.

  • They did this by establishing a system of checks and balances and by taking advantage of the great diversity of interests in the large US republic.

  • This great diversity of interests also helps government choose policies that promote the public good.

Section 4 the constitution and the public good1

Section 4- The Constitution and the Public Good

  • Policies that serve only narrow, selfish interests are unlikely to gain majority support among so many competing interests.

  • Although the Constitution may make government less effective at times, the freedoms and rights it guarantees ensure that government ultimately serve the public good.



  • ESSAY QUESTION: Practice writing your response to the following question- it may be on the test and it will be worth 10 points!!!! (There are three parts to the question)

  • Why did the Constitutions framers fear political parties? Did their fear come true, and does their fear of political parties still reign true today? **Be specific- answer why, how, who, and what!

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