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Development of the Constitution

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Principles of GPA
.
Copyright and Terms of Service
Copyright В© Texas Education Agency, 2011. These materials are copyrighted В© and
trademarked в„ў as the property of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and may not be
reproduced without the express written permission of TEA, except under the following
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• The decision to declare a complete break in
the political connection between the 13
United Colonies and Great Britain
• Written and agreed to in 1776 – after spirited
debate
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3
• Before this time, no political system had ever
been founded on the belief that
– The people should rule instead of being ruled
– Every person is important as an individual,
created equal, and endowed with certain
unalienable rights
– Government should be by the consent of the
governed
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4
• The nation’s fundamental law, the “supreme
law of the land”
• Sets the framework for the government
• Written in 1787, took effect in 1789
• Has guided the nation through more than
two centuries of tremendous growth and
change
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5
• Based on six main principles:
‒ Federalism
‒ Popular sovereignty
‒ Limited government
‒ Separation of powers
‒ Checks and balances
‒ Judicial review
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• Organization
– Preamble – a short introduction stating
the purpose of the Constitution
– Seven articles
– 27 amendments
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7
• Beliefs behind the Constitution
– Governmental power poses a threat
to individual liberty
– The exercise of governmental power
must be restrained
– Dividing governmental powers curbs
that power and prevents its abuse
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• Formal process
– Proposed by a 2/3 vote in each house of Congress and
ratified by 3/4 of the state legislatures
– Proposed by a 2/3 vote in each house of Congress and
ratified by conventions in 3/4 of the states
– Proposed by a national convention, called by Congress at the
request of 2/3 of the state legislatures and ratified by 3/4 of
the state legislatures
– Proposed by a national convention and ratified in by
conventions in 3/4 of the states
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• Informal
– Passage of basic legislation by Congress
– Exercising interpretive power
• Establishing federal courts, other than the
Supreme Court
• Writing laws based on its power to regulate
foreign and interstate commerce
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10
• Informal (continued):
– Actions taken by the President, i.e.
• Declaring war without a declaration from
Congress
• Using executive agreements instead of treaties,
which must be approved by the Senate
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11
• Informal (continued):
– Key decisions of the Supreme Court
• Interpreting and applying the Constitution in the
cases it hears
• Established judicial review, not spelled out in the
Constitution
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12
• Informal (continued):
– Activities of the political parties
• The Constitution makes no mention of political
parties; many of the framers of the Constitution
were opposed to them because of their divisive
effect
• The major parties from the 1830s have held
national conventions to nominate presidential
candidates – this process was not spelled out in
the Constitution
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• Informal (continued):
– Custom and usage
• Formation of the Cabinet – the heads of the 15
executive departments who advise the President
• Succession of the Vice President to the office
(not just the duties) of President when the
President dies in office
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• 9780133656329, Macgruder’s American
Government, McClenaghan, W., Pearson,
Prentice Hall, 2008.
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Images and other multimedia content used with permission.
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