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Chapter 3: The Constitution

Chapter 3: The Constitution

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Chapter 3: The Constitution

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  1. Chapter 3: The Constitution Jacobs 2013

  2. 3.1 The Six Basic Principles • Learning Targets: • Outline the important elements of the Constitution • List the six basic principles of the Constitution • Why it matters: • The Constitution is a brief, straightforward document that has guided American government for over 200 years. Its authors wrote it based on the principle that political power resides with the people, that the National Government should be limited, and that there should be three branches to limit the power of anyone of those three branches.

  3. Outline of Constitution • Basic framework on the structure and procedures of our government • The Constitution is brief (7000 words) • Page 758 in your book • This document has lasted over 224 years and counting! • It is strong because it is basic, organized, and short!

  4. Short vs. Long Constitutions Write the answers to these questions down in note form as we answer them as a class. • What are benefits of short constitutions? • What are the downsides of short constitutions? • What about the benefits and downsides of long constitutions? • The longest constitution of any nation is that of India. It has 444 articles in 22 parts, 118 amendments and is 117,369 words in its English translation. • The US Constitution has 7 articles and 27 amendments and 7000 words.

  5. Parts of the Constitution • Preamble: this is the introduction of the document outlining the purposes of the US Government. • Articles: the seven numbered sections that detail the structure and procedure of the US Government

  6. Structure of the Constitution

  7. Look at the chart you just copied. How do the first three articles differ from those that follow?

  8. Six Basic Principles There are 6 ideas explicitly built into the US Constitution: • Popular sovereignty • Limited government • Separation of powers • Checks and balances • Judicial review • Federalism

  9. Descriptions of Basic Principles • Popular sovereignty: the people are the source of any and all government power and the government can exist only with the consent of the governed. • Limited government: government is restricted in what it may do, and each individual has rights that government cannot take away • Separation of powers: principle in which the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government are three independent and coequal branches of government

  10. Descriptions of Basic Principles continued • Checks and balances: the system that allows the legislative, executive, and judicial branches to check, or restrain, the actions of one another. • Judicial review: the power of a court to determine the constitutionality of governmental action. • Federalism: system of government in which the powers of government are divided between a central government and several local governments

  11. Breaking it down • Popular sovereignty means the National (and local) Government gets it power from the people of the US and the people of the US have given the government power using the Constitution • Limited government means that the government can only do what the people allow them to do and the government must obey the law (much of this comes from clear prohibitions: see Article I, Section 9/10; Amendments 1-10, 14-15, 19, 24, and 26) • Constitutionalism: government must be conducted according to constitutional principles

  12. Breaking it down continued • Separation of powers means that the framers did not one branch to become all-powerful so they split powers between branches • Article I, Section 1 details legislative powers • Article II section 1 details executive powers of the President • Article III section 1 details powers of the Supreme Court and inferior courts • Checks and balances serve as constitutional restraints to ensure one branch does not over power the other two. • Veto- the power of the executive to reject the will of the legislature • Cheeks and balances diagram and activity

  13. Recent Checks in the News • Certain positions in the executive branch are appointed by the President (like the head of the CIA, or the Chair of the Fed) • Because Congress approves this appointment, the President often has to find someone strong, not overly partisan, and usually someone fairly well-known • The Chairman on of the Fed will be leaving office soon and the POTUS has a list of people that he would like to have the job • Why a list? • Why effect does it have on the relationship between the branches when the President and the majority in Congress are from the same party? • Larry Summers withdraws as candidate for Chairman of Fed

  14. Breaking it down one last time • Judicial review- the power of a court to determine the constitutionality of governmental action (i.e. laws, policies) • Unconstitutional- a law or policy determined to be illegal, and void by the a court • This power is held by federal courts and by most State courts • Marbury v. Madison (1803)- important court case that set the precedent for the idea of judicial review. (more info in Ch. 18) • Federalism- division of power among a central government and several local/regional governments • Essential in avoiding a overly strong central government that would take away the rights of the States

  15. Quick Quiz 1. Article II of the Constitution establishes the powers of the (a) executive branch. (b) legislative branch. (c) States. (d) judicial branch. 2. The principle of popular sovereignty asserts that the (a) government should be divided into three branches. (b) monarch is the supreme ruler. (c) means of production should be owned by the proletariat. (d) people are the source of any and all government power.

  16. Quiz yourself at home (3.1) Use the code mqa-1031 (Get the app, it is virtual flashcards with matching games etc. to help you know terms and ideas)

  17. 3.2 Formal Amendment Learning Targets: • Identify the four ways to formally change the Constitution • Explain the formal amendment process and how it illustrates popular sovereignty and federalism • Identify and explain the 27 Amendments to the US Constitution • Identify and explain the historical significance of the Bill of Rights Why it Matters The Framers of the Constitution realized that, inevitably, changes would have to be made in the document they wrote. Article V provides for the process of formal amendment. To this point, 27 amendments have been added to the Constitution.

  18. Why has the Constitution lasted so long? • When the Constitution was written the population of the US was 4 million (about the size of Colorado today) • Our population is well over 300 million now and we have 37 more States in the union • The Constitution has lasted because of the ability to fix it and create amendments

  19. Formal Amendment Process • Amendment- a change in, or addition to, a constitution or law • Article V in the Constitution sets out two methods for the proposal of an amendment and two methods for the ratification of constitutional amendments • Formal amendment- changes or additions that become part of the written language of the Constitution itself.

  20. 4 Methods for a Formal Amendment

  21. Formal Amendment Process • *Method 1:An amendment may be proposed by a 2/3rds vote in EACH house of Congress and then be ratified by 3/4ths of the State legislatures. (38 States =3/4ths) • 26/27 amendments were done this way • Method 2: An amendment may be proposed by Congress and then ratifiedby conventions, called for that purpose, in ¾ of the States. • Only the 21st Amendment was done this way (repeal of Prohibition)

  22. Formal Amendment Process • Method 3: An amendment may be proposed by a national convention, called by Congress at the request of 2/3 state legislatures (34), and then ratified by ¾ of State legislatures. • Method 4: An amendment may be proposed by a national convention and ratified by conventions in ¾ of the States. • The Constitution itself was adopted in a similar way

  23. Importance of Amendment Process • Formal Amendment process emphasizes the idea of federalism. • Proposals take place at the national level • Ratification is a State-by-State matter • When an amendment is made, that action represents the will of the people (popular sovereignty)

  24. Potential Problems Review the primary method for amending the Constitution. What are some potential problems for this process? Who might not like it and why?

  25. Court Cases • Hawke v. Smith (1920)- The Supreme Court ruled that States did not have to requirea vote of the people of the State before it ratifies an amendment. • Kimble v. Swackhamer (1978)- A state legislature can call for an advisory vote by the people before it acts, but it is not required. If a vote is taken, the legislature is not required to vote in the same way.

  26. Proposed Amendments • When Congress passes a resolution proposing an amendment they do not send it to the President to be signed or vetoed even though the Constitution requires that they do • Article I, Section 7, Clause 3 states this must happen but this is an example of how the Constitution has been amended without a formal amendment(this is more of a custom)

  27. Proposed Amendments Cont. • States who reject ratification can change their minds later • States who ratify amendments cannot reject them at anytime after that. • 15000 joint resolutions calling for amendments have been proposed since 1789. Only 33 have been sent to States

  28. Proposed but Not Ratified • Some amendments were never ratified • In 1861 an amendment was proposed to prohibit any future amendments relating to slavery. It was never ratified… • In 1972 the Equal Rights Amendment was proposed by Congress. It fell 3 States short of ratification and died in 1982. • Generally Congress sets a 7 year period for States to ratify amendments. ERA was given a 3 year extension

  29. Bill of Rights • The first 10 amendments that ensure your individual rights • Proposed because of fear that the Constitution would make central gov’t too powerful • Ratified by late 1791

  30. Later Amendments • Read pages 76-77 for more information on later amendments

  31. 3.2 Sample Questions 1. A formal amendment • (a) changes the Constitution by passing laws. • (b) changes the written language of the Constitution itself. • (c) allows States to secede from the United States. • (d) none of the above. 2. Many of the basic rights of citizens are constitutionally guaranteed in • (a) English common law. • (b) the Declaration of Independence. • (c) the Magna Carta. • (d) the Bill of Rights.

  32. Poster Activity

  33. Warm Up • Write an argument for or against the use of social media by school districts to keep track of students and their activities. Tell me why it should or shouldn’t be allowed in your opinion.

  34. Social Media-Is it Private? • Social media makes understanding your rights in a modern world a little trickier. If you are putting private information out for you friends and everyone to see, should it be covered by the Constitution? Is it private information or not? •

  35. 3.3 Constitutional Change by Other Means Learning Targets: • Identify how basic legislation has changed the Constitution over time • Describe the ways in which the Constitution has been altered by executive and judicial actions • Analyze the role of party practices and custom in shaping the Constitution Why it Matters: The 27 formal amendments to the Constitution have not been a major part of the process by which that document has kept pace with more than 200 years of far-reaching change in this country. Rather , constitutional change has more often occurred as a result of the day-to-day, year-to year workings of government.

  36. 5 Ways the Constitution is Changed w/o amendments Now we will go through these individually

  37. 5 Ways to make an Informal Amendment • Congress passes laws to explain many of the Constitution's brief provisions. (added flesh to the bones) • President takes actions that contribute to Constitution growth (i.e. using armed forces abroad in combat w/o declaration of war) • Supreme court decides the constitutional interpretation of laws • Activities of political parties (i.e. national conventions etc.) • Custom • The President’s Cabinet- comprised of the heads of the 15 executive departments, advise president, this is not in the Constitution but is done out of custom

  38. Other Customs examples • For 150 years Presidents abided by the informal “no-third-term tradition” • FDR broke this in 1940 and again in 1944 • 22nd Amendment was the direct result (1951)

  39. Example of Executive Decision • An executive agreementis a pact made by the President directly with the head of a foreign state.

  40. Section 3 Review 1. An informal amendment can be established by • (a) actions taken by the President. • (b) custom. • (c) key decisions of the Supreme Court. • (d) all of the above. 2. An executive agreement is • (a) a promise from the President to the legislature. • (b) a pact made by the President directly with the head of a foreign state. • (c) a decision made by the President and his cabinet members. • (d) the contract the President signs when he accepts the office. Want to connect to the Magruder’s link for this section? Click Here! 1 2 Chapter 3, Section 3

  41. Online Review Options • Check out Chapter 3.3 for MacGruders Government on Quizlet • Try the self-tests at • Web-codes: mqd-1033 and mqa-1034