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Civics In Action. Citizenship Hand Book. American Republic textbook Pages 217-253. The United States Constitution. I am proud to be an American!. The Preamble. Wow!. To form a more perfect union. The states work together as one unified nation, not as separate nations.

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Civics In Action

Citizenship Hand Book

American Republic textbook Pages 217-253


The United States Constitution

I am proud to be an American!


To form a more perfect union

The states work together as one unified nation, not as separate nations.

To establish justice

The justice system requires that the law be applied fairly to every American.

To ensure domestic tranquillity

The government can ensure domestic tranquillity, or peace and order at home.

To provide for the common defense

To protect citizens against foreign attack, the national government can raise armies and navies. However, the military is under civilian, or nonmilitary, control.

To promote the general welfare

The national government promotes the general welfare, or the well-being of all its citizens.

To secure the blessing of liberty

A major goal of the Constitution is to protect the liberty, or freedom, of Americans.

The Preamble to the US Constitution


We the People

of the United States

  • Everyone in the United States of America

in order to form a more

perfect Union

  • We should work together to be a unified Nation

establish justice

  • Laws should be applied fairly to every American

The Supreme Court Building


insure domestic


  • We should have peace and order in the United States

provide for the

common defense

  • Every country has the right to protect its citizens against foreign attack

promote the

general welfare

  • The country has the responsibility to promote the well-being of the citizens

and secure the blessings

of liberty to ourselves and our posterity

  • The people of the United states will remain free

do ordain and establish

the Constitution of the

United States of America

  • We publish the Constitution of the United States of America for everyone

The Legislative Branch

Makes laws

Lay & collect taxes

Control Government spending


  • Congress is a watchdog over the Executive Branch
  • Congress is responsible for representing their CONSTITUENTS
  • New Bills are introduced in Congress each year


2 houses

House of Representatives


  • Standing Committees –in House & Senate- specialize in a specific topic
  • Select Committees –temporary - deal with issues requiring special attention
  • Joint Committee – both house meet on a specific issue
  • Conference Committee – has a special function
  • Kill the bill, Pigeon hole the bill or prepare it for consideration
  • 435 voting members
  • 5 nonvoting members
  • Number is determined by states' population
  • 25 yrs old
  • 2 terms
  • 100 Senators
  • 2 from each state
  • 30 yrs old
  • 6 year terms/staggered every 2 years

Chief Executive –President

  • Chief Diplomat – foreign policy, appoints ambassadors, negotiates treaties
  • Commander in Chief – of the armed forces, can use military to help or offer assistance in crisis, HE CANNOT DECLARE WAR, can send troops for 60 days to all parts of world but must notify Congress
  • Chief of State – serves as symbolic role as representative of all Americans, receives foreign ambassadors or heads of state, bestows honors on Americans
  • Legislative Leader – proposes laws to Congress, Gives State of the Union Address

The Executive Branch

  • 14 executive departments
  • Executive Office of the President
  • Cabinet
  • All help the President carry out & enforce the Nation’s laws

The Judicial Branch


The Supreme Court’s power to examine laws and actions of local, state and National governments and to cancel them if they violate the Constitution

Supreme Court – Article III of Constitution

created it, 9 Justices (their main job is to

hear and rule on cases)

Appeals Courts – reviews district court decisions

Can overturn verdict or order a retrial


District Courts – lowest level/criminal & civil

cases (91)


Popular Sovereignty

The principle that government gets its authority from the people, therefore people have a right to change or abolish their government.

Limited Government

The principle that government has only the powers that the Constitution gives it. Everyone, no matter how important, must obey the law.

Separation of Powers

The idea of limiting government power by dividing it among different branches of government.

Checks and Balances

Each branch of government has power to check, or limit, actions of the other branches.


The principle of dividing power between the federal government and the states.


A form of government in which citizens elect representatives to carry out their will.

Individual Rights

Individual rights include freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to trial by jury.

Principles of the Constitution


The Federal System

National & State Government

State Government

National Government

  • Regulate trade
  • Coin money
  • Provide and army/navy
  • Conduct foreign affairs
  • Set up federal courts
  • Regulate trade in the state
  • Establish local government systems
  • Conduct elections
  • Establish public school systems
  • Enforce the laws
  • Establish courts
  • Collect taxes
  • Borrow money
  • Provide for the general welfare

The Bill of Rights and Other Amendments

1.Safeguards individual rights—freedom of religion, speech, the press, the right to assemble peacefully, the right to petition the government to change its policies.

2.“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

3.Congress may not force citizens to put up troops in their homes.

4.Citizens are protected from unlawful searches of their homes and property.

5.People cannot be forced to incriminate, or give evidence against, themselves.

6.People are guaranteed the right to a speedy and public trial by a fair jury. The accused have a right to know the charges against them and who is making the charges


7.Provides for juries in civil (deals with $ over $20.00), or non criminal, trials .

8.Forbids excessive bail or fines and “cruel and unusual punishments.”

9.Citizens’ rights are not limited to those listed in the Constitution.

10.All powers not given to the national government or denied to the states are reserved for the states or for the people.


13.Abolished slavery.

14.Guaranteed citizenship to former slaves.

15.Declared that states may not deny the vote to any citizen on the basis of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

19.Gave women the right to vote.