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Old Chapter 2: The Constitution

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Laura Wilson

on 18 December 2017

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Transcript of Old Chapter 2: The Constitution

The Problem of Liberty
The Colonial Mind
The Preamble
The Constitutional Convention

Understanding the Confederation
the US
The Declaration of Independence (1776)
The liberties the colonists fought to protect:
We the people,
The Articles of the Confederation (1781)
Weaknesses of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation (1781)
Major problems:
Primary issue:
Government strong enough to preserve order...
The Constitutional Convention:
Large States vs. Small States
How should state representation in the national government be decided?
The Constitutional Convention:
Large States vs. Small States
How should state representation in the national government be decided?
The Constitutional Convention:
Large States vs. Small States
The Great Compromise
reconciled the interests of the small and large states
The Constitution and Democracy
The framers did not intend to create a "pure democracy"
Key Principles within the Constitution
Two major principles
The Supreme Court
declaring actions by him or his subordinates unconstitutional or not authorized by law
The President

vetoing a bill it has passed
The Constitution and Liberty
Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists
Anti-federalist Demands for Liberty
But where are our rights?

1- Some liberties were included in the Constitution
Writ of habeas corpus, no bill of attainder, and no ex post facto laws
2- States had bills of rights
3- The framers wanted a government with specific, limited powers

Yet without a Bill of Rights, the Anti-Federalists would not agree to ratify the Constitution
The Bill of Rights
1st Amendment
Freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly;
the right to petition the government
2nd Amendment
The Right to Bear Arms
3rd Amendment
Troops may not be quartered in homes in peace times
4th Amendment
No unreasonable search or seizures
5th Amendment
Grand jury indictment required to prosecute a person for a serious crime
No double jeopardy
No forcing a person to testify against himself or herself
Ensuring due process
6th Amendment
Right to speedy, public, impartial trial with defense counsel and right to cross-examine witnesses
7th Amendment
Jury trials in civil suits comprised of a jury of peers
8th Amendment
No excessive bail or fines, no cruel and unusual punishments
9th Amendment
Unlisted rights are not necessarily denied
10th Amendment
Powers not delegated to the federal government or denied to states are reserved to the states
Powers of Federalism
Delegated Powers
Reserved Powers
American colonists sought protection of traditional liberties
English Constitution did not adequately check abuses of political power
based on "higher law"
embody "natural rights"
1) life
2) liberty
3) property
The Declaration argued that unalienable rights were violated
"unalienable" : based on nature and Providence, not the whims of the people
could make peace
run a post office
Each state
retained sovereignty
had one vote in Congress
picked and paid for its delegates
1. National government could not:
levy taxes
regulate commerce
coin money
run an effective militia
2. 13/13 votes to amend Articles
3. No national judicial system
a bicameral legislature proportionate representation
The Virginia Plan called for:
a national executive, elected by the legislature
a national judiciary, appointed by the legislature
The New Jersey Plan proposed:
retain one state, one vote principle
Congress would regulate trade and impose taxes
The plural executive elected by Congress
The Supreme Court appointed by the executive
(The Connecticut Compromise)
House of Representatives
65 members
2 senators from each
but not so strong that it would
threaten liberty.
favored a "republic"
created judicial review
fear of the demos
John Locke
democracy can decay into oligarchy or tyranny
government should prevent the majority from hurting the minority
(government where elected representatives make decisions)
1) Federalism
political authority shared by national and state governments
2) Separation of Powers
constitutional authority shared by three branches of government
this prevents self-interest and exploitation of power
Debates in the Constitutional Convention
1. Large states vs. Small states
3. Slave states vs. anti-slave states
2. Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists
How would government respect personal liberties?
proponents of the Constitution, strong national government
Madison: liberty safe with
many interests and opinions
opponents to the Constitution, favored states' rights
did not want a distant government
"One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversly, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."
Civil Disobedience
in order to form a more perfect union
establish justice,
ensure domestic tranquility,
provide for the common defense
promote the general welfare, and
ensure the blessings of liberty
to ourselves and our posterity
do ordain and establish the Constitution
for the United States of America.
Checks Congress by:
Checks President by:
declaring a law unconstitional
Checks Congress by:
Checks Courts by:
nominating judges
Checks President by:
Checks Courts by:
changing number/jurisdiction of
lower courts,
using impeachment powers,
OR refusing to approve a nominee (S)
overriding a veto,
using impeachment powers,
refusing an appointment,
OR refusing to ratify a treaty (S)
a.k.a. enumerated powers
powers given to FEDERAL government
i.e. declare war,
admit new states,
and coin money
powers given to STATE governments
i.e. establish local governments,
maintain schools,
and professional laws
powers SHARED by NATIONAL and STATE governments
i.e. levy taxes,
establish courts,
law & order
apportioned by population
popularly elected
chosen by state legislatures
Full transcript