Chapter 3 the u s constitution
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Chapter 3 – The U.S. Constitution. Question: How do the different parts of the Constitution work to create limited government and a functional democracy?. Parts of the Cosntitution. Preamble Seven Articles Amendments. Preamble.

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Chapter 3 the u s constitution

Chapter 3 – The U.S. Constitution

Question: How do the different parts of the Constitution work to create limited government and a functional democracy?

Parts of the cosntitution

Parts of the Cosntitution


Seven Articles



  • Preamble – Introduction that explains why it was written and it’s purpose.

  • “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense,[1] promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

  • What does this mean?

Seven articles
Seven Articles

  • Seven Articles – divisions of the constitution, each containing a different topic.

    • Articles I, II, and II create the three branches of government.

    • Article IV explains the relationship between the states and national government.

    • Article V explains how the Constitution can be amended.

    • Article VI establishes the Constitution as “Supreme Law of the Land”

    • Article VII addresses ratification and when the Constitution takes effect.

Quick check for writing
Quick check for writing…

  • Review a copy of the Constitution provided by me, and write a short (1/2 page) reflection on the structure and organization of the Articles.

    • Notice that the Articles themselves are broken down into sections.


  • The Amendments – changes that were made to the original constitution.

    • The Constitution has 27 total amendments

    • Bill of Rights – First Ten Amendments to the Constitution.

      • These were added before the original Constitution could even be signed.

    • The Amendment process allows the Constitution to be flexible enough to allow for change as the nation grows and changes.


  • What are the three parts of the Constitution?

  • What is included in each part of the Constitution?

  • How many articles are in the Consitution?

  • How many amendments are in the Consitution?

    • Which articles are a part of the Bill of Rights?

Major principles of the constitution

Major Principles of the Constitution

Popular Sovereignty


Separation of Powers

Checks and Balacnces

Judicial Review

Limited Government

Popular sovereignty
Popular Sovereignty

  • Rule by the People

  • All the authority that the government has comes from the consent of the people.

    • If the people don’t vote in support of something the government does, then the government can’t do it.


  • Power of the government is divided between national and state governments.

  • This complicated system was created because the states were afraid of giving the national government after what had happened with Great Britain.

    • The national government can act a s a whole, while states still have the authority over many local matters.

Separation of powers
Separation of Powers

  • Power of the government is divided into three separate branches, each with specific powers.

    • Legislative Branch – Congress

    • Executive Branch – President

    • Judicial Branch – Supreme Court

Checks and balances
Checks and Balances

  • Each branch of government exercises some control over the other branches of government.

    • Congress passes laws, but the President can check congress by vetoing congressional legislation.

    • Congress can override a President’s veto.

    • The courts can determine congressional laws unconstitutional.

    • Judicial branch is appointed by the President, but confirmed by Senate (a house in congress)

  • Review chart on pg. 66

Judicial review
Judicial Review

  • The ability of the courts to say that laws and actions of the government are not valid.

    • Declare laws unconstitutional

    • The power of judicial review is not specifically stated in the Constitution, but is implied by article III.

    • The official power was gained in the court of Marbury V. Madison in 1803.

Limited government
Limited Government

  • The Constitution specifically lists the power of government that are allowed and those that are prohibited.

  • In addition the constitution has some power over things not listed in the Constitution as well.


  • What are the principles of the Constitution?

    • Why is each of these principles important to the Constitution and the creation of the United States?

Three branches of government

Three Branches of Government




The legislative branch congress has the power to make laws
The Legislative BranchCongress has the power to make laws

  • Has Expressed Powers – those specifically stated in the constitution, AKA Enumerated Powers.

    • Borrow money, Levy taxes, Regulate commerce, Coin money, Punish counterfeiting

    • Declare war, raise and support the armed forces, organize the militia

    • Naturalize citizens, organize the post office, set up the court system

    • Elastic Clause – allows the congress to stretch its powers to meet situations that the founders did not anticipate.

The executive branch the president has the power to enforce the law
The Executive BranchThe President has the power to enforce the law

  • “The executive power shall be vested in the President of the United States of America”

    • This statement in the Constitution gives the President a great deal of power that is not specified by the consitution.

  • Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces

  • Appoint the heads of executive departments

  • Parole people convicted of crimes

  • Make treaties, with Senate approval

Presidential powers continued
Presidential Powers Continued…

  • Appoints ambassadors, and federal court judges

  • Delivers the “State of the Union Address”

  • Call Congress to special session

  • Meets with the heads of states

  • Commissions military officers

  • Ensures that laws passed, are faithfully executed

The judicial branch the supreme court has the power to interpret the law
The Judicial BranchThe Supreme Court has the power to interpret the law

  • The Federal courts hear cases on appeal from lower courts or original cases; federal laws, treaties, international law, bankruptcy, and interpretations of the Constitution.

  • State courts hear cases involving state laws that involve criminal and civil disputes.

Shared power and conflict
Shared Power and Conflict

  • The three branches of government are designed to work together, but in many cases the power of one branch limited the power or authority of another. This system of checks and balances often caused conflict between branches.


  • What are the three branches of government and who makes up each branch?

  • What power does each branch of government have?

  • What causes conflict between the three branches of government?

Checks and balances1

Checks and Balances

The ability of all three branches of government to check the power of the other two branches. This guarantees that no branches of government will gain too much power.

Congress can
Congress can…

  • Check the Executive Branch (President)

    • Congress can veto the president

    • Congress can override a presidential veto

    • Congress can create executive agencies

  • Check the Judicial Branch (Congress)

    • Congress can impeach judges

    • Congress can determine judges salaries

    • Congress can set the size of the Supreme Court

The president can
The President Can…

  • Check the Legislative Branch (Congress)

    • The president can recommend legislation

    • The President can veto bills passed by Congress

    • The President can implement laws passed by Congress

  • Check the Judicial Branch (Supreme Court)

    • The President can appoint federal judges

    • The President can enforce court orders

The supreme court can
The Supreme Court Can…

  • Check on the Executive Branch (President)

    • The Supreme Court can declare Presidential acts unconstitutional

    • The Supreme Court determine if the executive branch is administering laws properly

  • Check on the Legislative Branch (Congress)

    • The Supreme Court can interpret congressional statutes

    • The Supreme Court can determine acts of congress unconstitional.


  • How can the Judicial Branch check the other two branches?

  • How can the Legislative Branch check the other two branches?

  • How can the Executive branch check the other two branches?

  • Why are checks and balances necessary in government?

Amending the constitution

Amending the Constitution

The Amendment process allows for the Constitution to be changed over time. This gives the Constitution the ability to be flexible enough to stand the tests of time. If it was not flexible, it would be impossible for it to change as the United States changes.

Proposing amendments 2 ways
Proposing Amendments2 ways

  • 2/3 vote of the house and senate – this is the only method that has actually been used to this date.

  • 2/3 of all states ask congress to call a convention – this was tried 2 times, but both times failed.

Ratifying approve amendments 2 ways
Ratifying (approve) Amendments2 ways

  • Legislatures in ¾ of states can ratify the amendment – this is the most common method

  • States hold special conventions and ¾ of the conventions will ratify it – this method has only been used 1 time.

In short
In short…

  • All amendments need to be proposed by 2/3 of congress or 2/3 of the states.

  • All amendments need to be ratified by ¾ of the state legislatures or ¾ of the states special constitutional conventions.

  • See chart on pg. 77 of you government text

Indirect ways the constitution can change
Indirect ways the Constitution can change

  • The Constitution gives each branch of government a certain amount of authority over various areas of government.

  • Changes can be make when the branches of government make changes…

    • Congress can make new laws

    • The Supreme Court can interpret the laws to mean different things, as necessary for the time.

Presidential changes
Presidential Changes

  • Modern Presidents use the Executive agreement rather that treaty process to conduct foreign affairs.

    • Treaty – formal agreement between two countries that is signed into law by the Senate.

    • Executive Agreement – agreement between the heads of two countries that does not need Senate approval.

      • Why would a President rather use an executive agreement than a treaty?

How the court has changed
How the Court has changed

  • Judicial Review – process of the Supreme Court to interpret the meaning of the Constitution and apply that meaning to various issues.

    • Was first used in the Marbury V. Madison case and has been used since.

  • People disagree about how the court should use the power of judicial review

    • Judicial Restraint – court should avoid taking the initiative on social and political issues.

      • Gives the courts less power over society

    • Judicial Activism – court should actively help to solve difficult social and political issues.

      • Gives the courts more power over society.


  • Which method is most used to propose a constitutional amendment?

  • Which method is most used to ratify a constitutional amendment?

  • What are some other examples of how the constitution has allowed for change and changed since it was written?

  • Which do you support; judicial restraint or judicial review and why? Write a short reflection

The 27 amendments

The 27 Amendments

Bill of Rights

Civil Rights Amendments

Other Amendments

Bill of rights
Bill of Rights

  • First Ten Amendments to the Constitution

    • These amendments are the ones that give us all our personal freedoms.

    • The Constitution would not have been signed by Anti-federalist states without a bill of rights to guarantee freedom from government abuse.

Civil rights amendments
Civil Rights Amendments

  • Thirteenth Amendment – outlawed slavery in all states

  • Fourteenth Amendment – serves to protect the rights of freed enslaved people, today it protects all citizens

    • All citizens have equal protection under the law

  • Fifteenth Amendment – Prohibits the government from denying a person the right to vote based on race.

    • Women still could not vet vote

Other amendments
Other Amendments

  • Each Amendment clarifies the constitution and changes or specifies the law.

  • 27 Amendments have been made to the Constitution since it was originally written.

    • The last 17 (excluding the 10 in the Bill of Rights) have all been added after the Constitution was ratified.

Chapter 3 is complete
Chapter 3 is complete

Before you take your chapter test review the 27 Amendments. The Bill of Rights Amendments are all included on your chapter test, and many other Amendments are included on your constitution test that you will also be taking.

You may continue on to watch the slide show of the 27 Amendments to the Constitution for further review on this topic and the Amendments.