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The Principles of the United States Constitution


Title: The Principles of the United States Constitution Author: Inst Last modified by: Julie Rzemien Created Date: 7/13/2000 8:54:36 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Principles of the United States Constitution

The Principles of the United States
  • PO 1. Describe how the following philosophies
    and documents influenced the creation of the
  • Magna Carta
  • English Bill of Rights
  • Montesquieus separation of power
  • John Lockes theories natural law, social
  • Mayflower Compact
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Articles of Confederation

  • Concept 2 Structure of Government
  • PO 1. Describe the following principles on which
    the Constitution (as the Supreme Law of the Land)
    was founded
  • federalism (i.e., enumerated, reserved, and
    concurrent powers)
  • popular sovereignty
  • Separation of Powers
  • checks and balances
  • limited government
  • flexibility (i.e., Elastic Clause, amendment

  • PO 2. Differentiate the roles and powers of the
    three branches of the federal government.

Early Influences
  • Magna Carta 1215, the English King is given
    limited power. He could not raise taxes without
    approval of the Great Council and he had to obey
    the law.
  • English Bill of Rights Sets out the rights of
    citizens and certain constitutional requirements
    where the actions of the Crown require the
    consent of the governed as represented in

Basis for our Government
  • Montesquieus separation of powers - legislative,
    the executive, and the judiciary. These should be
    separate from and dependent upon each other so
    that the influence of any one power would not be
    able to exceed that of the other two, either
    singly or in combination.
  • John Lockes theories - advocated governmental
    checks and balances and believed that revolution
    is not only a right but an obligation in some

Development in America
  • Mayflower Compact Pilgrims agree to consult
    each other about laws and to work together for
    success of the colony
  • Declaration of Independence Created a new
    nation, separate from England
  • Articles of Confederation Created a weak
    national government because states had final
  • Shays Rebellion Showed the flaws in the
    Articles of Confederation

I. Popular Sovereignty
  • The people hold the ultimate authority
  • A representative democracy lets the people elect
    leaders to make decisions for them.
  • John McCain and Jon Kyl are our elected officials
    in the Senate. We have 8 representatives in the

II. Limited Government
  • Framers wanted to guard against tyranny
  • Government is limited to the power given them in
    the Constitution.
  • The Constitution tells how leaders who overstep
    their power can be removed

III. Federalism
  • The division of power between State and National
  • Some powers are shared
  • The National Government has the supreme power

Powers of the Government
  • Enumerated - a list of specific responsibilities
    which state the authority granted to the United
    States Congress.
  • Reserved 10th Amendment limits the authority of
    government to the powers stated in the
    Constitution. All other power is reserved for the
    states and the people.
  • Concurrent Shared powers (collect taxes, borrow
    money, maintain courts, make laws, provide for
    the welfare of the people)

IV. Separation of Powers
  • No one holds too much power
  • Legislative branch makes the laws
  • Executive branch carries out the laws
  • Judicial branch interprets the laws

Legislative Branch
  • Senate and House of Representatives
  • Make our laws
  • Regulate Immigration
  • Establish Post Offices and Roads

Powers of the Legislative Branch
  • Coining money.
  • Maintaining a military.
  • Declaring war on other countries.
  • Regulating interstate and foreign commerce

Executive Branch
  • The President of the United States
  • Chief Executive
  • Chief of State
  • Chief Legislator
  • Commander in Chief

Powers of the Executive Branch
  • Power to manage national affairs and the workings
    of the federal government
  • Commander-in-chief of the armed forces
  • Can veto any bill passed by Congress and, unless
    two-thirds of the members of each house vote to
    override the veto, the bill does not become law.
  • Nominates federal judges, including members of
    the Supreme Court

Judicial Branch
  • Supreme Court and other Federal Courts
  • Preserve and protect the rights guaranteed by the
  • Considers cases involving national laws
  • Declares laws and acts unconstitutional

Powers of the Judicial Branch
  • The power given to courts to interpret the law is
    called jurisdiction.
  • The jurisdiction granted to the judicial branch
    is limited to federal and constitutional laws.
  • The Supreme Court decides arguments about the
    meaning of laws, how they are applied, and
    whether they break the rules of the Constitution.
    A court's authority to decide constitutionality
    is called judicial review.

V. Checks and Balances
  • Prevents the abuse of power in government
  • Each branch can check each other branch

Executive Checks
  • Propose laws to Congress
  • Veto laws made by Congress
  • Negotiate foreign treaties
  • Appoint federal judges
  • Grant pardons to federal offenders

Legislative Checks
  • Override presidents veto
  • Ratify treaties
  • Confirm executive appointments
  • Impeach federal officers and judges
  • Create and dissolve lower federal courts

Judicial Checks
  • Declare executive acts unconstitutional
  • Declare laws unconstitutional
  • Declare acts of Congress unconstitutional
  • The Supreme Court holds the final check

A Living Document
  • Flexibility
  • Elastic Clause - a statement in the U.S.
    Constitution granting Congress the power to pass
    all laws necessary and proper for carrying out
    the enumerated list of powers (Article I, Section
    8 ).
  • Amendments (additions or changes) - The
    Constitution of the United States may be amended
    when two thirds of each house of Congress
    approves a proposed amendment and three fourths
    of the states thereafter ratify it.