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The Constitution Handbook
Transcript of The Constitution Handbook
7 major principles of government -
separation of powers
checks and balances
"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, 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."
- principle that the authority of the govt is created/ sustained by the consent of the people, through their elected representatives
are the source of political power
- form of govt where the head of state is a representative of the people who hold popular sovereignty
- restricted govt authority to specific powers granted by the people
- power is divided between the federal (national) govt and the state govt.
3 types of powers:
- federal govt powers
- state powers
- shared powers
Separation of Powers
- federal govt divided into 3 branches:
- makes the laws; Congress
- enforces the laws; President
- interprets the laws; Supreme Court
Checks and Balances
- overrides in govt branches
- first 10 Amendments of the Constitution are the
Bill of Rights
(1789); protect and ensure rights of American citizens
17 amendments after the Bill of Rights expand/ adjust the rights of Americans
(2) The Senate
Bicameral Congress comprised of -
(1) The House of Representatives
(set aside) funds for govt spending
monitors abuses of power in executive branch
- bring formal charges against
Congress is responsible for representing their
, people of their home state/ district, in the govt.
- proposed laws
Committees for evaluating proposed legislation:
- permanent; specialize in particular topic
- temporary; bills requiring immediate attention
- combine members of both House/ Senate;
- works out compromises in diff. versions of same bill
How a Bill becomes a Law
The Executive Branch
Includes the President, V.P., cabinet, other executive offices
The President's Roles
Chief Executive, Chief Diplomat
Chief of State
- group of advisers to the president
includes the V.P. and the heads of 15 executive departments
The Judicial Branch
The Supreme Court
Supreme Court Independence
Supreme Court Justices
for life by the President, appointment confirmed by the Senate
system of courts that interpret and applies the laws
comprised of the
- power of the Supreme Court to determine whether laws are constitutional and to strike down those that are not.
Brown vs. the Board of Education
ruled "separate but equal" unconstitutional citing the 14th Amendment as evidence of claim.
Amendment XIV - "No state shall make or enforce any law that shall abridge the privileges of citizens of the United States. Nor shall any state... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The Rights of American Citizens
Right to -
protection from unfair actions of the govt
receive equal treatment
retain basic freedoms
Amendment V - states that no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law."
- govt must follow procedure established by law and guaranteed by the Constitution
Amendment XIV - grants citizens "equal protection of the laws."
Amendment I est. fundamental liberties
freedom of -
right to petition the govt
First Amendment allows citizens to criticize the government without fear of punishment.
Amendment IX - rights of Americans not limited to those listed in the Constitution
Limits on Rights
govt balances individual rights with society's need for order and safety
Participation in democratic govt comes with duties/ responsibilities
- required by law
- voluntary actions
Duties - obey the law
- pay taxes
- defend the nation
- jury duty
- attend school
Responsibilities - be informed
- know your rights
- respect others
- be accountable
- support family
Vote, Vote, Vote!
Most important responsibility as an American is to
right to participate in govt
is the supreme law of the United States of America
Approved by delegates at the Constitutional Convention on
17 September 1787
Ratified by all states by
20 May 1790
The White House