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A Li!le Pa" of Ame#ca


Chapter 1 Introduction The Constitution is an important document because it is the highest law of our land and we still use it to this day. American freedoms are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.


Photo Credit


The preamble (beginning) of the Constitution is very famous. It goes like this:

"We the people of 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."


1. Federal$m

Federalism is the division of power between National and State governments so we don't have one person controlling the entire government. The United States used to have a Dual Federalism, or equal power between the National and State Governments. Now the U.S. has a Cooperative Federalism, or more power to the National Government.


2. Separation of Powers

Separation of powers means that no branch of government can act alone. The Legislative branch makes the laws, taxes people, declares war and also can impeach or kick out the President or Judges. The President can make laws but not pass them, enforce laws, and is the head of the military. The Judicial Branch can change laws to make them Constitutional.


3. Checks and Balances

Checks and Balances is the separation of power between the 3 branches of government. So the President cannot make a law without the other branches of government. Baron de Montesquieu wrote that all the branches should be equal or "Power should be a check to power."


4. Leg$lative Branch

The legislative branch is composed of Congress, which in turn is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Reps. has 435 elected members that must be 25 years old and are in the House for life or when they want to quit. The Senate has 100 members, 2 from each state, that must be 30 years old and are in the Senate for 6 years.


5. Executive Branch

The executive branch is made up of the President, Vice President, and the Cabinet. The President enforces and implements laws. The Cabinet is responsible for matters related to minor laws. The Cabinet is responsible for the department of defense, environmental protection agency, exchange commission and social security administration. The Vice President is in charge of the senate.


6. Judicial Branch The judicial branch has the ability to interpret laws. They also have the ability to throw laws out that are bad. The highest power in the judicial branch is the Supreme Court. This consists of nine justices including one Chief Justice. The justices serve their term until death or retirement. They can be impeached or be got rid of if they fail to be correct for the job. The Supreme Court and the judicial branch are very important to keep our country safe.


The Supreme Court Justices

The Supreme Court Justices photo credit


7. 'e Bill of Rights; 'e Fir) Ten Amendments 1.Freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, petition, press and religion 2.Right to bear arms 3.Homes may not be occupied by soldiers with force 4.No random searches by law enforcement without probable cause 5.Do not have to testify against thyself in court 6.Right to a speedy trial 7.Right to a jury with no opinion on trial prior or before crime 8.Freedom from oversized bail and cruel punishments 9.Rights of the people 10.Power to the states


'e Second Amendment

The Second Amendment guarantees the citizens the right to "bear arms" or possess firearms to protect their family and property from intruders such as thieves and wild animals attacking livestock.


8. Amendments 11-27 11. Lawsuits Against States 12. Election of Executives 13. Slavery Abolished 14. Civil Rights 15. African American Men the Right to Vote 16. Income Tax 17. Direct Election of Senators 18. Prohibition 19. Women Suffrage 20. " Lame Duck" Sessions 21. Repeal of Prohibition 22. Limit on Presidential Terms 23. Voting in District of Columbia 24. Abolition of Poll Taxes 25. Presidential Disability, Succession 26. 18-year-olds can vote 27. Congressional Pay


13. Slavery Abolished

Impo"ant Amendment

This is a very important amendment in the history of the United States

because it gave hundreds of thousands of African Americans their freedom from slavery. It was also important to the Civil War because over 200,000 African Americans volunteered for the Union Army. This was extremely

important to the Union cause. Out of these 200,000, 16 of them got the

Medal of Honor. Slaves realized that if they could meet Union soldiers they would be set free. This made many people try to run away. All in all the thirteenth amendment is one of the most important amendments in the Constitution.

Abol$hed=Go!en #d of


9. Students Rights

Students Rights are rights that students carry and use inside school grounds. For example, students have a right to refuse a search inside their locker if no probable cause is given. In addition, schools can moderate school funded papers. But if a student runs a paper with no association with the school the student has the right to say anything that is not illegal.


Students Rights (Continued)

Students can wear opinion clothes that express an opinion. For example, if a student wears a shirt with an opinion or political expression that doesn't have to do with illegal substances, a school official cannot stop it. Clothing with text is a form of expression, therefore, it is no different from speech and is allowed unless a school policy says otherwise. Vulgar=Inappropriate

A Little Part of America  
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