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.
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."
Federalism Framers are the people that came up with Federalism. Federalism is a system of government that divided power between the central government and smaller political units, like states. Power that is given to the national government is called delegated power. Power that is kept by the states is called reserved power. Power that is shared by both the national government and the states are called concurrent powers.
National Powers Maintain military Start postal system Protect copyrights
Shared Powers Collect taxes Start courts Regulate banks Borrow money Help general welfare Punish criminals
State Powers Start local government Set up schools Make regulations for marriage Start and regulate businesses
Separation of Powers The Separation of Powers relates to each of the three branches of government. The Separation of Powers explains how each of the federal government have specific jobs. The legislative branch makes the laws. This branch also can tax and declare war. The executive branch enforces laws and is the commander of the military. The judicial branch interprets the laws and the U.S. Constitution. It divides the power amongst the government to balance it. They do not want one of the branches becoming to powerful.
Legislative Branch Congress makes the laws.
Separation of Powers U.S. Constitution
Executive Branch President enforces the laws.
Judicial Branch Supreme Court interprets the laws.
Checks and Balances Checks and Balances is an amendment that disperses (to spread apart) all the power between the three branches. The three branches are the Legislative, Judicial and the Executive branch. All three of them have a certain power over the other.
As you can see from this image, the power cannot be given to just one branch because that branch might make a mistake but, if more people were there to help they wouldn't make a mistake. That is why we divide up the power, so that if someone messes up, we have other people to fix it. That is what makes our system work so well.
Now the way this is all distributed out, makes it so that if one person wants to make a law it takes all groups to approve it first. First, the Supreme Court will check it, then send it to congress to check it. If they approve of it, they send it to the Executive Branch, and if the Executive Branch approves, it is made into a law.
You might be wondering why they are called the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches. So, this chart can help you figure out that they are just special names for simple things. For example, the Executive branch is just the President and the Vice President. You can look at the chart for the other ones.
The Three Branches Our government is made up of three branches of government. They are Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. They consist of many people and groups that help run our country. The Legislative Branch consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and the Executive is made up of the President and the VP ( Vice President ). And lastly, the Judicial Branch is all the high ranking courts in the country that is mainly run by the Supreme Court.
The Legislative Branch The Legislative branch is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives has 435 seats in all that are separated out to all the states based on the states population. So the bigger the population of a state, the more representatives it has. They are voted for every two years. But to be a representative you must be at least 25 years old and a U.S citizen for seven. The Senate is made up of 100 senators in all who are equally divided throughout the states ( so all states get two). To be a senator you must live in the state you are representing, be a U.S citizen for nine years, and must be 30 years old. They are voted for every two years and when they are elected they have a 6 year term.
Legislative House of Representatives 435 seats
100 in all
Executive Branch The Executive branch is made up from the president and vp (Vice President). The president is commander and chief of the Army and Navy. His main job is to solve problems, make key decisions, and make treaties. But to be president you must be a natural born citizen and be at least 35 years old. If you do get elected you can only be president for four years, but you can have two terms unless you are impeached or in other words, thrown out of office. The vice president is their if the president dies while he is in command.
President Make key decisions
Judicial Branch The Judicial branch consists of all the courts of the country and is "run" by the Supreme Court. All the courts' job is to enforce or correctly interpret the law and to judge important court cases. But the Supreme Court can oversee all courts in our lands. For example if one court in Virginia says that a murderer is not guilty, then the Supreme Court can deny that and say he is guilty. So mostly the Supreme Court is in charge in the Judicial branch.
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The Bill of Rights There is a Bill of Rights. It is made up of ten Amendments, or changes, to the original Constitution. I will tell you all of them. The first is the right to have freedom of speech without slandarism, meeting, religion, and petition. The second I will go into further detail on the next page. The third Amendment says that the government can not force the people to house soldiers. The fourth says that the police need a search warrant to search your house. The fifth says that you do not have to take the witness stand against yourself if you could end up incriminating yourself. Number six says that you have the right to a public trial, an impartial jury, and a lawyer. The seventh amendment says that you have the right to a speedy trial. Have you ever seen a person forced to wear a costume that they don't like? That is an example of cruel and unusual punishment, which is now illegal because of number eight. Nine says that the power not listed in the Bill of Rights belongs to the people. Ten says that even though the Constitution never says says anything about freedom, they can not say that it does not exist. This is a just a minor form of the Bill of Rights and the amendments in it.
Gun control is the second Amendment. This was an Amendment that made the people able to carry a gun with them to protect themselves against the British army. It also is now used for house defending. It says that this right cannot be infringed, or changed, and is now currently being debated.
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Amendments 11 Through 27 Now that that first part is done, time for some adventure in the 11th through 27th Amendments.
The eleventh is lawsuits against states. Number 12 is election of executives. This means that the executives have to be elected, not selected by the president. Number 13 says NO! to slavery. Fourteen? That ensures civil rights. Fifteen ensures that slave men can vote as well as immigrants. Sixteen is tricky. It says that the Congress has rights to press or charge taxes on what people earn from working... it's a thing that should be banned. Seventeen says that the people have to elect a senator, and not be picked by one person. Now, eighteen is rejected by twenty-one, but is still worth a mention. It says that after one year of its publishing, alcohol is BANNED. Probably a bad idea to ban number 18. Nineteen is for all of you women out there! It states that you can now vote! No alcohol? Yay! Daddy can't
Twenty states the date that elections end. Twenty-one unbans alcohol... sadly. Twenty-two... now you cannot be president more than twice. Twenty-three says that District of Columbia can now vote. Twenty-four says that voting is now free. Twenty- five says that if the president dies while still on his term, then the vice-president takes over presidency. Twenty-six says that you have to be 18 or older to vote. Good idea! And the very last, twenty-seven. This one says that the senators and representatives will not be payed until after they have their meeting.
Student Rights People may think that laws are the same in school and out, but in actuality, some of them can be very different. For example, outside of school you can wear whatever you want, while in school you may not be able to wear certain clothes if your school has a dress code saying you can't.
(Naples is one of the schools with a dress code check if you want to wear something controversial)
As you can see, there is a kid, and as he walks by a locker, he sees a gun. Later, a police officer comes to check it out, but the locker is locked. In this situation, you may be wondering if the cop is allowed to open the locker. Well, the answer is he can only open it if he has a legitable reason or if he has evidence to show that the kid would have a gun. If the kid who saw the gun in the first place told the principle, the principle would be allowed to open the locker.