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Chapter 7, Section 3. A More Perfect Union. Ideas That Shape the Constitution. Republic : a nation in which voters elect representatives to govern them Americans were the first people to write a constitution setting up a government Many ideas in the Constitution came from other people.

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Chapter 7 section 3

Chapter 7, Section 3

A More Perfect Union


Ideas that shape the constitution
Ideas That Shape the Constitution

  • Republic: a nation in which voters elect representatives to govern them

  • Americans were the first people to write a constitution setting up a government

  • Many ideas in the Constitution came from other people


League of the iroquois
League of the Iroquois

  • Used as a model for their idea of unity

  • Member nations governed themselves but joined together for defense

  • At the Constitutional Convention an Iroquois treaty was read, which began “we the people, to form a union…”

  • Similar language was used in the preamble of the United States Constitution


Ideas from europe
Ideas from Europe

  • England:

    • Magna Cartaincluded limiting power of the ruler

    • Representative government

    • English bill of Rights: protected the right of individuals


Ideas from europe1
Ideas from Europe

  • Enlightenment: to improve society through the use of reason

    • John Locke: 1690 published Two Treatises on Government

  • 2 ideas

    1. All people had natural rights to life, liberty, and property

    2. Government is an agreement between the ruler and the ruled

    • Ruler must enforce laws and protect the people

    • If a ruler violates the people’s natural rights the people have a right to rebel


Ideas from europe2
Ideas from Europe

  • Framers of the Constitution drew up the Constitution as a contract between the people and their government


Ideas from europe3
Ideas from Europe

  • Montesquieu: 1748 published The Spirit of Laws

  • Urged that the power of government be divided amongst 3 separate branches

    • Legislative, executive, judicial

    • Separation of powers: division was designed to keep any person or group from gaining too muchpower

    • Powers of government should be clearly defined to keep individuals or groups from using government power from their own purposes


A federal system
A Federal System

  • How should they divide power between the national government and the states?

  • Federalism: division of power between states and the national government

  • People elect both national and state officials

  • National government acts for the national as whole.

  • States have power over many local matters








The supreme law of the land
“The supreme law of the land”

  • The Constitution is the supreme law of the land

  • In any disputes between states or states and the national government, the Constitution is the final authority


Separation of powers
Separation of Powers

  • Created to keep the government from becoming too powerful


The legislative branch
The Legislative branch

  • Congress: to make laws

    • House of Representatives

      • Elected for 2 year terms

    • Senate

      • 6 year terms

  • Article 1 of the Constitution sets out the powers of Congress

  • Collect taxes, regulate foreign and interstate trade, declare war, and raise and support armies


The executive branch
The executive branch

  • Some objected to the executive branch (memories of King George III)

  • Madison argued an executive was needed to balance the legislature


The executive branch1
The executive branch

  • Article 2 of the Constitution sets up the Executive branch

  • Headed by the president

    • Vice President

    • Any advisor appointed by the President

    • Serve 4 year terms

    • Carry out all laws passed by Congress

    • Commander and chief of the armed forces

    • Foreign relation


The executive branch2
The executive branch

  • Article 3 of the Constitution calls for a Supreme Court and allows Congress to set up other federal courts

    • Hear cases that involve the Constitution or any laws passed by Congress

    • Also cases arising between 2 or more states


Electing the president
Electing the President

  • 1700s news traveled slowly, how would voters get to know a candidate for president?

  • Electoral college; made up of electors from every state

    • Electors meet and vote for the President and Vice president


A system of checks and balances
A System of Checks and Balances

  • Checks and balances: each branch of the federal government has some way to check or control the other two branches


Checks on congress
Checks on Congress

  • Bill: proposed law

    • Congress passes a bill which then goes to the president to be signed in to law


Checks on congress1
Checks on Congress

  • Vetoing: rejecting a bill

  • The president can check the power of Congress by rejecting a bill

  • Overriding: overruling the President’s veto

    • Congress can then check the president by overruling the President’s veto

    • 2/3 of both houses must vote for the bill again

    • A bill can become a law without the signature of the president


Checks on the president
Checks on the president

  • Senate must approve presidential appointments

  • Ex. Ambassadors to foreign countries, federal judges

  • President can negotiate a treaty with other countries

  • Treaty only becomes a law with 2/3 of the Senate’s approval


Checks on the courts
Checks on the Courts

  • President appoints judges that must be approved by the Senate

  • Congress may remove judges from office


A living document
A Living Document

  • This system has been working for more than 200 years

  • It is a living document because it can be changed to meet new conditions in the United States


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