The Constitution: From Ratification to Amendments. US Government Fall, 2014

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1 The Constitution: From Ratification to Amendments US Government Fall, 2014

2 Origins of American Government Colonial Period Where did ideas for government in the colonies come from? Largely, from England Magna Carta (1215) limited power of the monarch established limited government Petition of Right (1628) limited king s power No taxes without Parliament s consent, no quartering of soldiers, no imprisonment without just cause English Bill of Rights (1689) further outlined limits on government and individual rights Parliament must consent to suspending laws, levying taxes People can petition government, have trial by jury, no cruel and unusual punishment

3 Origins of American Government Colonial Period, Continued Where did ideas for government in the colonies come from? Largely, from England New political ideas, such as: government is instituted to protect rights, and people may abolish it Colonies had constitutions: Mayflower Compact (1620), Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639) Colonies had legislatures, like the House of Burgesses in Virginia Needless to say, also had representative government

4 The Colonies Unite for Independence The British tightened control on the Colonies after the French & Indian War Britain passed the Stamp Act in 1765 to increase revenue Colonies resented; in 1773 protested taxes by dumping tea into Boston Harbor Boston Tea Party Britain responded with Coercive, or Intolerable Acts Colonial Unity Albany Plan of Union, 1754: Proposed by Benjamin Franklin, but rejected Stamp Act Congress, 1765: colonies protested taxes on colonies First Continental Congress, 1774: imposed an embargo against British goods

5 Second Continental Congress, Declaration of Independence Second Continental Congress, 1775: Assumed powers of central government organized army and navy, issued money, purchased supplies Congress also drafted Declaration of Independence, signed July 4, 1776 Purpose: justify revolution, express founding principles of United States Three parts: statement of human rights, complaints against King George III, determination to separate September 9, 1776: United States of America

6 The Articles of Confederation Shortly after the Declaration of Independence, the Second Continental Congress presented a plan for government Government under the Articles final version 1777, ratified 1781 Unicameral Congress with one chamber Each state had one vote, but could send representatives Congress could make war, approve treaties, send ambassadors, regulate Indian Affairs Congress could NOT levy taxes, regulate trade, force anyone to obey laws, and laws required 9 out of 13 states to ratify. All 13 had to agree to amend

7 The Articles of Confederation Successes and Weaknesses Shortly after the Declaration of Independence, the Second Continental Congress presented a plan for government Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War, but spend much time in Congress Northwest Ordinance organized land in the frontier region Shays Rebellion highlighted weaknesses in the Articles Farmers revolted, protesting foreclosures Americans, including Alexander Hamilton, realized the need for a stronger central government 1786: Annapolis Convention petitioned Congress to convene a constitutional convention in Philadelphia

8 From Articles of Confederation to Constitution: Compromises What were key compromises at the Constitutional Convention? Commerce and trade: business interests in north vs. agricultural exporting south Fear: business interests in the North could set up trade agreements that hurt the South Compromise: Congress given power to regulate interstate commerce, and exports will NOT be taxed Representation in the legislature Representation by population or equal representation by state? Virginia Plan and New Jersey Plan Connecticut Compromise: bicameral legislature Electing the President Electoral college combines elements of direct popular election and election by the states

9 Compromise in the Constitution Slavery Slavery was arguably the most controversial issue at the Constitutional Convention The vast majority of slaves lived in the South, the economy of the south was based on slavery, and all Virginia and South Carolina delegates owned slaves If slavery were banned, the South would likely have not ratified the Constitution Northerners did not want the United States participating in the international slave trade Compromise: ban on importation of slaves in 20 years Three-Fifths Compromise States would be taxed based on number of residents, just as representation is determined Slaves didn t vote and were property; the South wanted representation for them, but no tax obligation Compromise: three-fifths of the number will count for taxes and representation

10 The Constitution: Structure Structure Preamble: introduction that states why the Constitution was written Articles: I through VII, covering general topics such as the structure of the Executive Branch, and interstate relations Amendments: literally, changes and additions to the Constitution

11 The Constitution: Principles Principles Popular sovereignty: rule by the people Federalism: power divided between national and state governments Separation of Powers: each branch has its own, separate responsibilities Checks and Balances: each branch of government has control over the others Judicial Review: the power of courts to declare laws unconstitutional Limited government: listing of specific powers the government has and doesn t have

12 The Constitution, Article I: The Legislative Branch Article I establishes the Legislative Branch Congress, the Senate and House of Representatives Founding Fathers know this branch would dominate Branch has expressed powers, directly stated Also called enumerated powers; Section 8, numbered 1-18 includes power to levy taxes, establish post roads elastic clause gives rights to establish necessary and proper laws other elastic clause is the interstate commerce clause

13 The Constitution, Article II: The Executive Branch Article II establishes the Executive Branch Founding Fathers gave this branch vague powers Articles did not have an executive, could not force anyone to follow Congress laws Role of branch has grown substantially in practice President, Vice-President, president s advisors, including Cabinet Branch has broad, but vague powers, including: Commander-in-chief of the armed forces Appoints judges, ambassadors Ensures that laws are faithfully executed

14 The Constitution, Article II: The Executive Branch (today) The role of the President has grown substantially through practice Federal bureaucracy has emerged: all executive branch employees Offices added through legislation Importance of precedent Presidential war power

15 The Constitution, Article III: The Judicial Branch Article III creates the judicial branch Includes the Supreme Court and lower federal courts Allows Congress (in Article I) to create inferior courts Article III lists brief powers of the court Judges may serve for life Defines jurisdiction of the court, as well as treason Power of judicial review established through practice Supreme Court decisions are final...

16 The Judicial Branch: Marbury v. Madison The power of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution was not well established 1801: Adams packed the judiciary William Marbury did not receive his commission Sued under Judiciary Act of 1789 to issue a writ of mandamus, ordering his commission to be delivered If writ issued: Jefferson might ignore it, leaving Court powerless If writ not issued: Court would appear to support Jefferson by not checking the executive John Marshall did neither Acknowledged Marbury had a right to his commission, BUT... Declared Judiciary Act unconstitutional

17 The Constitution, Articles IV through VII Article IV: full faith and credit Requires states to recognise laws, court decisions, and records of all other states Grants citizens privileges and immunities enjoyed in other states Fugitive slave clause (abolished 1865) Article V outlines Amendment process Article VI establishes national supremacy Revolutionary war debt would be honoured by the new government The Constitution is the supreme law of the United States Article VII addressed ratification

18 Amending the Constitution A formal change to the Constitution is known as an Amendment There are two ways for Amendments to be proposed and ratified (approved) Proposed by: a two-thirds vote of both house of Congress Constitutional Convention called by Congress on the request of 2/3rds (34) of the State Legislatures (never used) Ratified by: Three-fourths of the state legislatures Three-fourths of special state constitutional conventions (used once, for the 21st Amendment)

19

20 Other Ways of Amending the Constitution Constitution may be effectively changed informally, through law, through practice, or through court decisions 1. Congress may pass laws to enlarge or clarify powers Congress expanded Judicial Branch in 1789, created Circuit Courts of Appeals in Presidents have made changes through practice, such as presidential succession 3. Rulings by the Supreme Court have interpreted the Constitution

21 The Constitution: Amendments The first ten are known as the Bill of Rights, ratified in 1791 Guarantees individual liberties and limits powers of government Rights include freedom of speech, religion, the right to bear arms, privacy, trial by jury, prohibition of excessive bail Other Amendments Civil War Amendments, (13, 14, 15): ban slavery, guarantee equal protection of laws, prohibit government from denying right to vote on basis of race Progressive-Era Amendments, (16, 17, 18, 19): income tax, direct election of Senators, Prohibition, women s suffrage Twenty-First Amendment repealed Prohibition (1933) Twenty-Fourth Amendment abolished poll taxes (1964) Twenty-Sixth Amendment lowered the voting age to 18 (1971)

22 Ratification Document was ready to sign on September 17, 1787, but was not ratified until 1790 Federalists favoured ratification; this group included many Founding Fathers Anti-Federalists opposed ratification; mostly farmers and rural citizens feared strong central government felt the Constitution was extralegal were worried because it didn t include a Bill of Rights Patrick Henry was a key Anti-Federalist The Federalists made their case in a series of essays known as The Federalist

23 Federalist, No. 10 Written by James Madison: The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection Among the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power...have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good...[b]ut the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property Madison argues that a republic addresses factions because it passes opinions through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose [T]he same advantage which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic,--is enjoyed by the Union over the States composing it

24 Federalist, No. 51 Written by either Hamilton or Madison: The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments Ambition must be made to counteract ambition...it may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them, by different modes of election and different principles of action, as little connected with each other as the nature of their common functions and their common dependence on the society will admit. In a single republic, all the power surrendered by the people is submitted to the administration of a single government; and the usurpations are guarded against by a division of the government into distinct and separate departments. In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departments. Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will control each other, at the same time that each will be controlled by itself.

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