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Monday, February 18, 2008

AP Government –Chap 2- Module 3-

Constitutional Principles

  • Presented brief document shown to the public:
    • Outlined a framework and procedures of the proposed government
    • Set limits on how much power that government would have
  • Principles:
    • Popular sovereignty: Ensures all power belongs to the people
    • Limited government: Gov can only do what the people give it the authority to do
    • Separation of power: Three parts: legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch
    • Check and balances: Gives three branches power to restrain the other, preventing any one from gaining absolute power
    • Judicial review: Courts have the power to declare an action unconstitutional, making it illegal
    • Federalism: Divides power between the national government and state or regional government
      • Wanted to prevent central government from getting complete control

    Structure of the Constitution:

  • Writers made sure the document would lead to a more perfect union
    • Original structure:
      • Preamble: Mission statement for new nation, outlining the broad purposes the Constitution was designed to address
      • Article one: Establishes the rules and requirements for the legislative branch
        • House of Reps will be reelected every four years and calls for the number of delegates per state to be based on the population
        • Member of the senate must be elected every 6 years, two reps per state
        • Defines power of congress
          • Tax, borrow, coin money, regulate commerce, grant patents and copyrights, establish a military, and declare war
        • Elastic clause: Gives Congress the implied powers to do that which is necessary and proper for carrying out its duties
        • Government is prohibited from denying citizens a writ of habeas corpus
        • Prevents gov. from issuing bills of attainder
        • Prevents gov. from establishing 'ex post facto laws'
      • Article 2:
        • Rules for executive branch
        • President and vice president are to be elected every four years
        • Pres. Serves as Commander-in-Chief of the military and the nations chief diplomat
        • Power to appoint federal judges, grant reprieves and pardons, and make treaties
        • Civil officers may be removed from office by impeachment
      • Acticle 3:
        • Creates supreme court
        • Allows all federal judges to serve for life
        • Guarantees a person accused of a federal crime the right to jury trial
      • Article 4:
        • Outlines the relationship between the states
        • Requires each state to give full faith and credit to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of other states
        • Gives full privileges and immunities to the citizens of each state
        • Rules for creating new states
      • Article 5:
        • How amendment are made
        • 2/3rds vote required
        • Amended 27 times
      • Article 6:
        • Outlines transfer of debt to new gov.
        • Supremacy clause
      • Article 7:
        • Ratifying constitution: needed 9 out of 13 states

    Need to Know Terms:

    Bill of Attainder: Bill passed by a legislature imposing a penalty on an individual or group, holding them responsible for a crime without trial

    Elastic Clause: Clause that authorizes Congress to pass laws to carry out the enumerated powers

    Electoral College: A unique American institution, created by the Constitution, providing for the selection of the president by electors from each state. Although the Electoral College vote usually reflects a popular majority, the winner-take-all rule gives power to big states.

    Enumerated Powers: Powers of the federal government that are given directly in the Constitution; for Congress, these powers are listed in Article I, Section 8 and include the power to coin money, declare war, and impose taxes.

    Ex Post Facto Laws: Laws that make actions criminal after they have occurred. Prohibited by Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution.

    Federalism: A way of organizing a nation so that two or more governments share power over the same constituents. Sovereignty is shared between the governments.

    Fell Faith and Credit Clause: A clause in Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution requiring each state to recognize the official documents and civil judgments rendered by the courts of other states.

    Judicial Review: The power of the Supreme Court to determine whether acts of Congress--and by implication, the executive branch--are in accord with the U.S. Constitution. Judicial review is a basic principle of the Constitutional system and was established by Chief Justice John Marshall in the Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison in 1803.

    Supremacy Clause: Article VI of the Constitution, which makes the Constitution, the laws of the national government, and treaties the superlative law of the land when the national government is acting within its constitutional limits.

    Writ of Habeas Corpus: A court order that prevents arbitrary imprisonment by requiring jailers to explain to a judge why they are holding a prisoner in custody.

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