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The Federal Government

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Michael Kober

on 7 March 2014

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Transcript of The Federal Government

Our Federal Government
The Guarantee of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
These words are essenial parts of the
Declaration of Independence (1776).

What do they mean?
The Constitution is a "living document."
The Constitution changes to meet the needs of the people.

The Constitution lives in the following ways:

– changes or additions to the original document.

[The CONSTITUTION can be changed if 67% of the Congress
and 75% of the states agree to the changes.]
The first TEN (10) amendments are called the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is based on the English Bill of Rights and protects the rights for which the American Revolution was fought.

Supreme Court Decisions
– the interpretation of the Constitution by the Justices on the Court impact on the "law of the land."

• The
"Elastic Clause"
– provides the CONGRESS to make laws necessary and proper" for the people and the nation.
The Judicial Branch
The Judicial Branch is composed of the Supreme Court
and all the Federal Circuit Courts. Judges are appointed ,
not elected. They serve for live.
The "COMMON GOOD" is formed and preserved.
Another role of government is to shape , mold, reflect and develop a sense of the common good.
• What is best for the nation?
• What will move the interest of the majority forward?
• What values do the majority of the people support?
• What changes will benefit the nation in the future?
What is the function of all governments?
The Legislative Branch is composed of TWO (2) chambers – The Senate and the House of Representatives.
What problems did the Constitution have to address before it was ratified?
The first concern was the
representation of the states
in the government. The states with large
populations wanted to have more representation since they have more people.
The Executive Branch
The Executive Branch of our government is composed of the President,
Vice President and the Cabinet (people who advise the president).
It also includes government agencies (Homeland Security, FBI, CIA, etc.)
Checks and Balances
Each branch of our government monitors the power exercised by the other
two branches to ensure that the division of power to rule remains divided.
How does our government work?
How was it created?
What is its function?
The People are the foundation of our government
The People
The Federal Government
The State Governments
"... a government of the people, by the people and for the people..."
shares its power with the states
the PEOPLE surrender some of their
freedom to the government for safety.
How does
Prior to the Civil War ( 1820 to 1860), the southern states sought to
redefine the meaning of FEDERALISM by pursuing the principle of "states' rights."
The idea of STATES' RIGHTS is in the Constitution (1787).
According to the Constitution, any power not reserved to the
federal government is reserved to the state governments.
Compare the relationship between the
federal government and the states as perceived
by the Southern States prior to the Civil War.
The People
The State Governments
The Federal Government
The people surrender some of their freedom to the states.
The States give the Federal Government its power and can dismantle it when it no longer serves their needs. This is a
According to the South, the country
was made of independent states, which could ignore federal laws that they did not agree to follow.

This is a

What is a UNION?
UNION is a binding contract
that cannot be broken by the states
since the people form the government.
The Federal Government was created in 1789 by the CONSTITUTION.
Prior to the
our government was guided by a document called The
Articles of Confederation

It was a weak government because each state could decide what laws to accept and follow and what laws it could
There was no common goal for the nation.
The Building Blocks of Our Democracy
Why would the founding fathers of our nation have such a flawed government?
Prior to the Civil War (1861 to 1865), the South believed ...
The newly formed independent states of America remembered the tyrannical rule of the king.
Remember the Intolerable Acts of 1774.
The founding fathers sought to
secure the rights of the people
by giving more power to the
local state governments.
Most of the founding fathers did
not want to surrender the power
to tax to a central government that
they might not be able to control.
All governments derive their power from those that are governed. The function of all governments is to protect the people from foreign and domestic enemies.* (Remember the concept of
"tyranny of the masses."
* Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia (1676)
* Jacob Leisler's Rebellion in New York (1689)
* Shay's Rebellion in Massachusetts (1787)
Life means the safety of each individual. This fundamental right is protected by the principle of the
"Rule of Law."
Everyone is protected by the
, which is the laws that govern our nation.
Liberty means to be free from oppression. To have equal opportunity to achieve one's goals without harming the rights of others.

It also means that each person has the right to express themselves and to determine their own destiny without limitations as long as another person's rights are not threatened.
The Pursuit of
means that each individual has the protected right to secure a job and to achieve
financial security
for themselves and their children. There is no limit to what an individual can achieve personally and financially through their own efforts. This principle is the foundation of our economic system of
, and it is the principle that made our nation great. This principle is based on the old Puritan ethic of
"rugged individualism."

The government's function is not to guarantee that a person will succeed, but it is the function of the government to protect the opportunity that each individual can try to succeed on their own.
By 1787, it was apparent that the
Articles of Confederation
inadequate to meet the needs of the nation and the people.

There was no
"Common Good"
among the thirteen newly
independent states. During the American Revolution, the
common goal of independence from England and her
mismanagement of the colonial economy (taxation without
representation, denial of English rights according to the Magna
the intolerable actions
that could have destroyed the colonial economy to save England's industries and the limitation on expansion into the Ohio Valley) united the colonies. Now, each state placed its interest before the nation's future.
A new government had to be created to
ensure the safety of the people, the

"common good"
of the nation and
provide for local control by the states.
From 1787 to 1789, Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists, who supported a strong central government, battled with Thomas Jefferson and
the Anti-Federalists to recreate the government.
Alexander Hamilton (Federalist)
was the first Secretary of the Treasury
Thomas Jefferson (Anti-Federalist)
was the first Secretary of State,
vice president to John Adams (a Federalist)
and the third President of the United States

He also wrote the initial draft of the
Declaration of Independence
James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay wrote

Federalists Paper

to illustrate why a strong central government was crucial for the safety of the people and the survival of the nation.

They also demonstrated how
would safeguard the powers of the idividual states.
In 1789, the
became the law of the land.
James Madison was Secretary of State
under Thomas Jefferson and the fourth
President of the United States.
John Jay was an ambassador and the first
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Why is the
the most important document of our nation (even more important than the
Declaration of Independence
Think about the purpose
of each document.
The Constitution is the document that guarantees our rights as citizens
and is the law of the land.
Remember the principle of the
"rule of law,"

not the
"tyranny of the masses."
The Declaration of Independence was a
list of rights, a list of grievances against King
George III and an explanation of why it was
necessary to rebel against England.

It was simply a declaration of war.
is an essential building block of our government. It is the
sharing of power
between the central (Federal) government and the local (State) governments.
The Father of the Constitution
Early Development of Our Government
The Government's Structure
How Our
Evolved and
How It Works

The jobs of the President include:
• Chief ambassador of the nation
• Commander-in-Chief of the military
• Appoints Federal Judges
• Initiates legislation (since 1933)
• Grants pardons
• Calling special sessions of Congress
• Checks the power of Congress (veto)
• Enforces the laws of the land.
The problem that our government experienced under the Articles of Confederation included:
• an inability to pay off the nation's debts because the states could ignore requests
for tax dollars being levied on the states by
the central government.
• Shay's Rebellion (1787) demonstrated that neither the
state governments nor the central government could
safeguard the public's safety.
• Each state placed its own interest before the interest of the nation.
• Each state had its own currency. Richer states had a stable currency; poorer states
had no credit and their currency was
not accepted in other states.
It was apparent that a new form of government was necessary.
The Legislative Branch
The President is elected for four years, but he/she can have two terms.
represents the interests of the
A SENATOR is elected for
House of Representatives
represents the interests of the
House of Representatives
is elected every
Together they pass legislation and discuss bills before they vote to make a bill a law.
They also check the power of the president (impeachment), and they can override a
veto with a 2/3 majority vote.
The House Chamber
The Senate
• The Senate
the case against the president (or official) during an

impeachment process.
• The
confirms presidential appointment.

This is another way that the Senate checks
the power of the President.
• The Senate
declares war
; not the President.
The President must request the Senate
to declare war.
Responsibilities of the House of Representatives
• The House controls the nation's
since the House alone can initiate bills that control the
levying of taxes.
• The Senate
ratifies treaties.
The job of the court is to interpret the Constitution and to determine if a law is constitutional or unconstitutional. Currently, there are three women justices and six male justices on the Supreme Court.
The women of the Supreme Court are: Justice Sotomayor, Justice Ginsberg and Justice Kagan.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is Justice Roberts.
The second problem was
the issue of slavery.
The Southern states wanted to have the enslaved African laborers to count as part of the population for representation, The Northern states claimed that it the South viewed these enslaved people as "property," then they should not be counted as people for representation purposes.
The third problem was an issue over
how the president should be elected.
The wealthy feared that the common man would make poor decisions about who should lead the nation since they
lacked education. If the nation failed the wealthy would have the most to lose.
The GREAT COMPROMISE addressed the issue of fair representation in the government.
The larger states would receive representation in the House of Representatives based on the population count. This would prevent the smaller states from controlling the Congress.

The smaller states would have equal representation in the Senate so that each state was equally represented in the government and the smaller states would not be "bullied" by the larger states.
The THREE-FIFTH COMPROMISE addressed the issue of whether the enslaved population would be included in the population count for representation in the government.
Every FIVE enslaved would count as THREE people for th epopulation count.
The enslaved would not vote.

The enslaved would not be treated as people, so
they would not be represented in the government.

The enslaved would only allow states, which had large
enslaved populations, to have more say for white men.

Enslaved people would not be viewed as humans since
they were treated as 3/5 of a person for the
population count.
Why is compromise not always the best way to resolve an issue?
The last compromise was the Electoral College.
Electoral College
was a check on the wisdom
of the common man. After the people casted their
votes, "electors" appointed by te states would cast their votes. It is these votes that elect the president.
This process of "electors" voting for the president still exists today. Each state received a niumber of
"electors" based on its representative count in
the House of Representatives and the Senate.
It is possible that the person who wins the
"popular vote" could lose the election.
It has happened THREE times in our nation's history.
No one branch of government has all the power.
Each branch of our government has its responsibilities
• The Executive Branch enforces the laws of trhe land.
• The Legislative Branch votes on bills becoming a law.
• The Judicial Branch interpretes the laws.
The Bill of Rights
Freedom of Religion, Speech, the Press,
Assembly and Petition

The right to bear arms.

No quartering of soldiers, but in a time of war.

Freedom from unlawfuls search and seize.

Right to a trial by a jury of peers.

The right to a speedy and fair trial.

No cruel or unusual punishment or extended prison stay.
This right is known as
This idea will lead to a future struggle within the nation and contribute to the Civil War (1861 to 1865).
More to come later!!!
Supreme Court's influence on the Constitution
Dred Scott Decision (1857)
Dred Scott, an enslaved man from Missouri, claimed that
he was free since his owner moved into a "free territory."
The Court determined that he was still property and had
NO rights. Slavery could expand into "free territories."
Plessy v Ferguson (1896)
The Supreme Court ruled that segregation
(the separation of races) was legal in the USA.
Brown v the Board of Education (Topeka, KS)
Segregation was deemed illegal in the USA in 1954.
The "Elastic" Clause
The Constitution does not grant Congress the power to purchase land. However, the US Congress purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803 because it benefited the nation.
This purchase doubled the size of the country in 1803 and removed France's claim on land in our "backyard."
[Note: on this day neither chambers of the Congress were in session. There were no flags flying over the chambers.]
no flag
no flag
Remember: the colonies wanted the control of taxes to be local. The colonies would not accept a central government controlling the collection of tax dollars so they refused to sign the Albany Plan of Union in 1757.

• The House is given the
power to determine the
outcome of an election when
there is a tie in the

Electoral College.

This happened once in the election of 1876.
The House gave the presidency to Rutherford B. Hayes (Republican) in exchange for ending military districts in the South. This decision ended Reconstruction and returned the social fabric of the South back to pre-Civil War status.
There have been TWO (2) presidential impeachments in our nation's history.
– President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1866. – President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998.
* Neither were found guilty of crimes.
• The House investigates
charges against a president
(or other officials) to determine
if an impeachment
process is necessary.

Impeachment is a political process, rather than a judicial process.
Although the impeachment process is established to determine if a crime has been committed, there is no judge or jury.
determines if there is enough evidence to prosecute the president (or govrnment official).

sit in judgment of the president.
Impeachment is a test to determine if the Congress or the President has the support
of the people.
The Congress wanted to remove President Andrew Johnson because
he opposed the passage of the
14th amendment.
Putting the pieces together
National Debt
Shay's Rebellion
Different currencies hindered trade
Conflicts among the states
Due process
for all
Justice for ALL.
The Federal Government and the State Governments
working together for the good of the people
130 million
Electoral College
535 Electoral Votes
decided the presidency.
(in 2012)
votes casted
The conflict over states' rights will
contribute to the divison of the Union
and the start of the Civil War (1861-1865).
Linda Brown Wins!!!
The interpretation of
States' Rights by the
Southern States.
States Governments
Federal Government
Due Process means equal treatment
for all citizens under the
"rule of law."
The Constitution protects all citizens regardless of race, religion, ethnicity
or gender.
"Tyranny of the Masses"
The 14th amendment guaranteed
equal rights and equal access
for all US citizens.
Andrew Johnson,
the first president
to be impeached.
President Clinton
That's why it is a
political process.
Today, it is applied
to women athletes through
Title IX

to Americans with disabilities
ADA Act.
The 14th amendment protected the rights of freed African Americans after the Civil War

Title IX
guarantees that
women athletes

facilities for their competitions.
14th Amendment
is expanded.
Americans with Disabilities Act
ensures that all Americans have access to public facilities and means of learning and working independently through
"reasonable accomodations."
Look around school and see where more
accommodations could be made to help a
disabled student or teacher.


Why are they not required by law?
What is the message of the cartoonist?
Our Government's Structure and Function
under the US Constitution
Click on video
link here to
The Dred Scott Decision (1857)
Brown v Board of Education (Topeka, KS) – 1954
Click here to listen
to the video clip
Click here to listen
to the video clip
of the
of our
and the system of CHECKS &
Our government works because the
power of the government is separted.
No one person or group has all of the power to rule.

This idea is embedded in our Constitution.

It means that the "
The government is created to keep the people
safe and to preserve the nation.

through their votes.
The people also rule through the powers of –
The people of a state can start a bill.

The people do not need to wait for the Congress to start a bill.
The people can vote to create a bill for the Congress to vote into law.
When the people are dissatisfied with the performance of a public official because he/she is ineffective or the official can no longer provide what the people see as the necessary action for their welfare, the people can vote that official out of office and hold another election to replace that official. The power to govern belongs to the people.
If there is a majority of voters who agree that the public official needs to be removed from office, they can vote that official out of office.
If the Congress does not vote on a bill, which the people think is important, then
the people can vote directly to make the bill into a law.
• Recall
• Referendum
• Initiative
Full transcript