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Foundations of American Government

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As the war raged, the founding fathers came together to form the foundations ... establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Foundations of American Government


1
Foundations of American Government
2
What is a state?
  • Population
  • Territory
  • Sovereignty
  • Government

3
Do the colonies match this definition?
  • No, not without independence.

4
Revolution!
  • As the war raged, the founding fathers came
    together to form the foundations of our
    government
  • First Continental Congress
  • Second Continental Congress
  • The ideas for their new government came from old
    ideas

5
John Locke
  • English Philosopher

6
The 17th Century Renaissance Man
  • Philosopher
  • Author
  • Doctor
  • Scientist
  • Educator
  • Religious expert
  • Government official

7
Two Treatises of Government
  • Government is fundamentally designed to protect
    property
  • Distinguishes the various functions of government
  • Executive, Legislative and Judicial
  • Consent is the only legitimate grounds for civil
    government
  • The right of the people to replace their
    representatives

8
Foundations of Democracy
  • Fundamental Worth of the Individual
  • Equality of All Persons
  • Equality of opportunity.
  • Equality before the law.
  • Majority Rule and Minority Rights
  • Necessity of Compromise
  • Individual Freedom
  • Relative freedom The right to swing my fists
    ends where the other mans nose begins.

9
Articles of Confederation
  • A reaction to the government of Britain
  • Formed a firm league of friendship
  • Each state kept its own sovereignty, freedom and
    independence
  • The government had one branch (not a very strong
    tree) the legislative - Congress

10
Powers of Congress (AofC)
  • Make war and peace
  • Make treaties
  • Set up a monetary system
  • Settle disputes among the states
  • Fix uniform weights and measures

11
Powers of Congress (AofC)
  • Make war and peace (without an army, unless it
    was supplied by the states)
  • Make treaties (with no one, since America was not
    respected by anyone)
  • Set up a monetary system (that the states did not
    obey)
  • Settle disputes among the states (the states
    didnt care what Congress wanted)
  • Fix uniform weights and measures (states didnt
    pay attention to this either)

12
Weaknesses of Congress
  • Could not tax!
  • Could not regulate trade between the states!
  • Could not make the states obey the Articles of
    Confederation or the laws made by Congress
  • Could not amend the A of C

13
Constitutional Convention
  • Framers
  • George Washington
  • Facilitator and peacekeeper
  • James Madison
  • Took copious notes, Father of the Constitution
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Strong voice for the power of the states, but in
    France
  • Aaron Burr
  • Strongly opposed to federalism
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • Creator of the national bank and strongly in
    favor of federalism
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Wise and respected sounding board
  • John Adams
  • Strong voice, became the second president

14
Constitutional Convention
  • Virginia Plan
  • Bicameral, population-based
  • New Jersey Plan
  • Unicameral, equal representation
  • Connecticut Compromise (Great Compromise)
  • Bicameral one housepopulation, one houseequal
    representation

Constitution Bundle of Compromises
15
Six Basic Principles of the Constitution
  • Popular Sovereignty
  • Limited Government
  • Separation of Powers
  • Checks and Balances
  • Judicial Review
  • Federalism

16
Popular Sovereignty
  • People are the only source of governmental power
  • The government gets power from the consent of
    those that it governs
  • The Declaration of Independence talked about the
    importance of popular sovereignty

17
Limited Government
  • Government is not all powerful
  • Government can only do what the people give it
    power to do
  • Government must be conducted according to
    constitutional principles
  • Rule of Law government and its officers are
    subject to the law, never above it!

18
Separation of Powers
  • Three mostly separate branches that act almost
    independent of one another
  • Legislative
  • Executive
  • Judicial

19
Checks and Balances
  • The three branches are tied together by a complex
    system of checks and balances.
  • Each branch has the power and responsibility to
    check the operations and balance the power of the
    other two. (pg. 58)

20
Judicial Review
  • The power to decide if a law is constitutional
  • This power gives the Supreme Court the right to
    find a governmental action unconstitutional which
    would make it null and void

21
Federalism
  • The division of power among a central government
    and several regional governments
  • The central government (Federal) and the regional
    governments (States) share some powers and have
    some exclusive powers as well.

22
Preamble to the Constitution
  • We the People of the United States, in Order to
    form a more perfect Union, establish Justice,
    insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the
    common defence, 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.

23
PREAMBLE
PURPOSE
24
First Political Parties
  • Formed as a result of the debate over the
    Constitution Two major issues
  • increased power of the federal government
  • lack of a Bill of Rights identifying individual
    rights
  • Federalists
  • argued that the Articles lack of a strong
    government limited the U.S.
  • Anti-Federalists
  • objected to nearly the entire document,
    especially to no mention of God, denial of states
    to print money and to the ratification process

25
Amending the Constitution
  • The Constitution can be changed to fit the times
  • A change to the Constitution is called an
    amendment

26
Formal Amendment
  • Four ways to formally amend the Constitution
  • Proposed by Congress (2/3 vote) ratified by ¾ of
    the states legislatures
  • Proposed by Congress (2/3 vote) ratified by
    conventions in ¾ of the states
  • Proposed in a national convention called by
    Congress ratified by ¾ of the states
    legislatures
  • Proposed in a national convention called by
    Congress ratified by conventions in ¾ of the
    states
  • Only the first two ways have been used to make
    written changes to the Constitution

27
Informal Amendments
  • Changes in how the Constitution is understood
    not a change in the written words of the
    Constitution
  • 5 processes for informally amending the
    Constitution
  • Passage of basic legislation by Congress
  • Actions taken by the President
  • Decisions of the Supreme Court
  • The activities of political parties
  • Custom

28
Basic Legislation
  • Passed laws to spell out several of the
    Constitutions skeletal provisions
  • Examples
  • Federal Court System
  • Cabinet
  • Added to the Constitution by using many of its
    powers
  • Example
  • Commerce power

29
Executive Action
  • Manner in which a president uses his power.
  • Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces
  • Only gives Congress the power to proclaim war,
    but the president has sent our troops into combat
    more than 200 times with out a declaration.
  • Executive Agreements
  • Treaties between our country and others must be
    approved by Congress, but the president has the
    power to make executive agreements which has the
    same power as a treaty

30
Court Decisions
  • The Supreme Court and their lower courts are
    responsible for interpreting the Constitution
  • Informal Amendments come from their
    interpretations.

31
Party Practices
  • The Framers didnt mention parties in the
    Constitution.
  • Political Parties formed and they have affected
    how we conduct elections in this country.
  • No mention of national conventions to nominate
    candidates, but we have them
  • Electoral College now a rubber stamp of the
    popular vote

32
Custom
  • Examples
  • Presidents Cabinet is made up of the heads of
    the Executive Departments
  • Vice-president becomes president upon the death
    of a president
  • Two-term limit of the presidency
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