You are on page 1of 16

Unit 5


Image 5.1 Signatures on the US Constitution

A N E W G OV E R N M E N T I S B O R N - S E C T I O N 1

The Constitution
The Constitution Section Overview Would this government work any better than the failed Articles of Confederation had? Would the newly created United States Constitution save the struggling nation? These questions were on the minds of many Americans after the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The Constitution is structured in a manner that breaks down many topics, such as branches of government, into smaller pieces. Presently, it includes a Preamble, seven articles, and all amendments, or changes, to the Constitution. The Constitution The Preamble The introduction to the Constitution is called the Preamble. It begins with the phrase We the People, indicating it is a government that represents the people of our nation, not certain groups or businesses. It lists what the goals of the Constitution and our American government, including:


Explain how checks and balances, federalism, and the amendment process work. Identify the roles of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Describe the basic law-making process. Discuss the opportunities that the Constitution provides for citizens to participate in the political process. Section Author: Mr. Dorenkamp

1."form a more perfect Union" = create a better system of rule than the government under the Article of Confederation 2.establish justice = a system that uses law to settle disputes domestic tranquility = a peaceful society 4."provide for the common defense" = protect its citizens from foreign attack 5.promote the general welfare = create conditions allowing for people to be happy and succeed the Blessings of Liberty for ourselves and our posterity = not only will these freedoms be here for us, but they should also be there for those who follow The Constitution Article I - The Legislative Branch Article I of the Constitution addresses the legislative branch, the part of our government that holds the power to make our laws. The legislative branch, or Congress, includes the House of Representatives and the Senate. United States Senators serve six-year terms. Members of the House serve two-year terms. As you read in Unit 4, the framers wanted to have two houses of Congress in order to satisfy both the extremely populated and less populated states. Thus, the House of Representatives is based on state population and each state receives two members of the Senate. In order to determine how many members of the House of Representatives each

state will have, a census is completed every ten years. At that point, the 435 seats in the House of Representatives are distributed amongst the states.

Image 5.2 Inside the Senate Chamber, U.S. Capitol Building

To be a member of each house of Congress, an American must meet certain criteria. To be a United States Senator, an individual must: be at least 30 years old have been a citizen for nine years To be a member of the House of Representatives, an individual must: be at least 25 years of age have been a citizen for at least seven years As mentioned previously in the section, the main purpose of Congress is to make laws for the nation. When a member of either the House or Senate has an idea for a law, they can propose a bill for that new law. If a majority of both houses votes in favor of the bill, it goes to the President. If he signs the bill, it will become a law. If he chooses not to sign and approve the bill, he issues a veto. When a veto occurs, Congress can override the President's decision. This

happens when two-thirds of each house, both the Senate and the House of Representatives, vote in favor of the bill. Article I of the Constitution lists many of the powers of Congress, including: borrow money create (coin) money declare war raise an army and navy (and supply with funds) tax

Image 5.3 The U.S. Capitol Building on Capitol Hill

ecutive branch, has the role of carrying out the laws passed by our nations legislative branch. Article II lists how the President of the United States is elected. States each have a certain number of electors based on the number of representatives each has in Congress. To become president, you must win a majority of these electors. Because there are 538 electors available, a candidate wins when they receive 270 electoral votes. To gain a states electoral votes, a candidate must get more people to vote for them within that state. This is known as the popular vote. With two exceptions, if a candidate gets more popular votes within a state, he or she wins all of the states electoral votes. This system is known as the Electoral College system. Also in Article II, the Constitution states that a President, when elected, serves a four-year term. Following the example of many presidents, the Twenty Second Amendment was passed, limiting individuals to only being elected to Image 5.4 Crowd Gathered Out- the office twice. side the White House, 1918 To become a president, one must meet the following requirements: at least 35 years old live in the United States for at least 14 years a natural-born citizen of the United States.

Congress also was given the power to make any law that is deemed to be necessary and proper to carry out its other powers. This is known as the "elastic clause" and provide Congress with the power to adapt to the needs of the time period. For example, the elastic clause was used very early on in our nations history to create a National Bank. The Constitution Article II - The Executive Branch Article II of the Constitution lists the powers of the Executive Branch. The President, who is the head of the ex-

The President has the following roles and powers, according to Article II: 1.Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States (and also state militias when called into service) 2.Power to grant pardons and reprieves 3.Nominate and appoint judges to the Supreme Court 4.Nominate and appoint ambassadorsof the United States 5.Make treaties with nations, provided two-thirds of the Senate approve 6.Appoint the heads of federal departments, known as the Presidents cabinet. Within Article II, the process of impeaching, or accusing the President of wrongdoing, is laid out. The President, as well as other federal officials, can be impeached if they are accused of crimes such as treason, bribImage 5.5 Senate as the Jury - Imery, or a serious crime. peachment Trial of A.Johnson, 1868 The House of Representatives must bring the impeachment charges against the President. If or when they do, Senators get to serve as the jury for the impeachment case. If the Senate votes that the President is

guilty, the President would be removed from office. Only twice in our history has a President been impeached, however, neither Andrew Johnson nor Bill Clinton were removed from the office. The Constitution Article III - Judicial Branch Article III of the Constitution provides for a system of setting up the court system, or judicial branch, in the United States. The Constitution proclaimed that the Supreme Courtis the nations most powerful court, and its decisions are final. Article III allows Congress to set up courts under the Supreme Court. These courts, Image 5.6 Supreme Court Building, which handle many Washington D.C more cases than the Supreme Court, hear cases involving federal law. There are nine members of the Supreme Court. They, like other federal judges, are appointed for a life term. This is so that they are not influenced by outside forces including politicians, the voting public, or special interests like business groups.

The Supreme Court has the power of: 1.original jurisdiction - this means the Supreme Court can be the first court to hear a case if it sees it as important to the United States Constitution 2.appellate jurisdiction - people can appeal the decisions of a lower court to the Supreme Court

committed their crimes. Likewise, if a couple is married in Montana, their marriages must be recognized in Massachusetts. Article IV also states that Congress has the final authority of determining how new states are to be admitted to the Union. No states are permitted to be created within any existing state nor can two states be joined together unless agreed upon by Congress and that states legislature. The Constitution Article V - Amending the Constitution Article V explains the process of how amendments, or changes, are made to the Constitution. If Congress Image 5.7 Missouri Governor is to propose an amendFrederick Gardner Signs Ratifiment, two-thirds of both cation of the 19th Amendment houses must send the (11th State to Ratify) change to state governments. Also, if two-thirds of the state legislatures want an amendment, they can request the Congress hold a national convention to propose the change. An amendment is approved when it is passed, or ratified, by three-fourths of the states.

Article III also sets forth that, with some exceptions, trials should be held in the same state where a crime was committed. For example, if a man robbed a bank in Florida, but got away and was later arrested in Pennsylvania, the trial would still be held in Florida. The Constitution Article IV - Duties of State and Federal Government The authors of the Constitution laid out states duties to each other within Article IV. Under the Articles of Confederation, it was clear that too much power was given to states and that not enough power was given to the federal government. However, it was still clear that the authors wanted to make sure that states maintained some powers under the Constitution. This system, known as the federal system, allowed states and federal government to share certain powers. The first section of Article IV declares the Full Faith and Credit Clause. This means that states must honor the laws of other states. For example, if someone has a drivers license in Ohio, they should be permitted to drive in Pennsylvania if they need or want to do so. The next part of Article IV requires states to return criminals to states in which they

The Constitution Article VI - Law of the Land Article VI proclaims that the United States Constitution is the highest authority, or the supreme Law of the Land. All federal or state laws that go against the Constitution are not considered to be valid. The Constitution Article VII - Ratification Article VII explained how the Constitution could be ratified. Once nine states approved the Constitution, it was to become a valid document that guides our government. Section 5.1 Review
Question 4 of 4

Where does the Legislative Branch meet?

Check Answer


Image 5.8 The Federalist no. 10, 1787


Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists

Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists Section Overview As the United States Constitution was being written, two groups with differing thoughts towards government began to emerge. The Federalists and Anti-Federalists earned their names based on the type of government they wanted. The first group, the Federalists, wanted a stronger federal government that required states to give up or some of their own power. The Federalists generally favored the newly created Constitution and pushed for its ratification. The Anti-Federalists, though, wanted stronger states that had their own individual powers and a weaker national government. This belief, known as states rights, is still held by some to this day. The differences between these groups would ultimately lead to the creation of the Bill of Rights and eventually create the two-party system. Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists Who were the Federalists? The Federalists were those in favor of creating a stronger national government under the United States Constitution. Typically, the Federalists included the educated and elites of so-


Evaluate the arguments of the Federalists and AntiFederalists about how much power state and federal governments should possess. Classify beliefs as being either Federalists or AntiFederalist philosophies. Section Author: Mr. Welch


ciety who looked down upon the lower classes with mistrust. They were wealthy members of society based on their money as well as the amount of property they owned. Among the most influential Federalists was James Madison, known as the Father of the Constitution. He, along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, authored a series of 80 essays known as the Federalist Papers. These propaganda documents were meant to encourage support amongst the states and citizens to ratify the Constitution.

Image 5.9 James Madison, A Leader of the Federalists

Burr, and Amos Singletary. The most powerful member of the Anti-Federalists was Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Jefferson believed that the country was founded by small yeoman farmers and did not want a government to step upon the rights of the common man. Federalists vs. AntiFederalists The Issues

Image 5.10 Aaron Burr, a Leader Among AntiFederalists

Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists Who were the Anti-Federalists? If the Federalists were those who promoted giving more power to the national government, the Anti-Federalists were those who proclaimed that power should be given to the states. Anti-Federalists included the poorer classes who feared the upper class. They generally opposed the ratification of the Constitution. Many Anti-Federalists were farmers who had little or no money. Not surprisingly, Anti-Federalists opposed taxes paid to the national government. AntiFederalists included many illiterate people among the group, however, did have some high-profile members. They included George Clinton, the Governor of New York, Aaron

Like Democrats and Republicans today, there were many issues that separated the Federalists and Anti-Federalists in the late 1700s. Federalists wanted the power to tax to collect money for the national government. They felt the federal government should be able to control trade in the nation. Federalists desired a limited democracy, as they feared a mob-rule mentality of the lower class. Anti-Federalists, though, did not like several ideas put forth in the Constitution. First, they wanted some protection of states rights and the individual rights. Additionally, they believed that the Executive Branch, namely the President, held too much power. They only wanted the Constitution to be ratified with a unanimous vote and did not like the idea of having a standing army during times of peace. Some AntiFederalists did not like the fact that there was no mention of

God in the Constitution. Anti-Federalists also were upset that Federalists had written the Constitution with little input from the Anti-Federalists. Thomas Jefferson and the Anti-Federalists continued to push for some sort of guarantee for the rights of states and individuals. They felt that if the powers of government were listed, then why were the rights of people not listed? Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists Ratification, the Bill of Rights, and Future Tension At the start of the ratification process, it seemed as though the Constitution would get its nine votes of ratification without much of a problem. Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut quickly passed the document. However, when it came to Massachusetts, ratification hit a roadblock. Massachusetts would only ratify the Constitution under the condition that a Bill of Rights be added to it as soon as it was enacted. To get it passed, Federalists promised a Bill of Rights. Soon, the ninth state, New Hampshire, ratified the Constitution. Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island would eventually ratify the Constitution soon after. Now that the Constitution was in place, the job of amending the Constitution to add a Bill of Rights would fall upon Congress during the first presidency of George Washington. Throughout the years of Washingtons presidency, the differing philosophies of Federalists and Anti-Federalists towards the power of federal and state governments would

lead to many debates ranging from creating a National Bank to getting involved in the French Revolution.

Figure 5.1 Ratification Order of the U.S. Constitution by the 13 Original Colonies
ORDER 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 STATE Delaware Pennsylvania New Jersey Georgia Connecticut Massachusetts Maryland South Carolina New Hampshire* Virginia New York North Carolina Rhode Island DATE OF RATIFICATION December 7, 1787 December 12, 1787 December 18, 1787 January 2, 1788 January 9, 1788 February 6, 1788 April 28, 1788 May 23, 1788 June 21, 1788 June 25, 1788 July 26, 1788 November 21, 1789 May 29, 1790

Section 5.2 Review

Question 4 of 4

Which state announced they would only ratify the Constitution if a Bill of Rights was added?

Check Answer


Image 5.11 Bill of Rights, National Archives


The Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights Section Overview On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution, thus making it the official guiding document of the United States of America. However, multiple states, especially Massachusetts and Virginia, ratified the Constitution only under the condition that amendments, or changes, to the Constitution would quickly be added. These states wanted to make sure that basic freedoms were guaranteed for American citizens. The Bill of Rights Passing the Bill of Rights Anti-Federalists, including Thomas Jefferson, wanted a list of rights to which citizens were entitled to be included in the Constitution. Jefferson and his followers desired to protect citizens against a tyrannical central government. They were still very sensitive about giving a lot of power to a central government due to their colonial experiences with the King. Jeffersons


Explain why the Bill of Rights was included in the Constitution after its ratication. Analyze how the Bill of Rights is implemented in our daily lives in the 21st Century. Section Author: Mr. Welch

supporters, also known as Democratic-Republicans, believed in the principle of limited government. On September 25, 1789, the first United States Congress sent 12 possible amendments to state legislatures for ratification. On December 15, 1781, 10 of the proposed 12 amendments were ratified and officially added to the Constitution. The first ten amendments have since been known as the Bill of Rights. The first eight of these amendments enumerate, or list, rights of individuals. The final two amendments in the Bill of Rights explain the relationship between individuals, state governments, and the national government. The Bill of Rights The First Amendment: 5 Basic Freedoms Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Text from U.S. Bill of Rights Transcript

were proposed were ratified, these rights became the First Amendment. The Bill of Rights The Second Amendment: Right to Bear Arms A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Text from U.S. Bill of Rights Transcript

Now a controversial right, the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms (guns) for citizens. The Bill of Rights The Third Amendment: Quartering Troops No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. Text from U.S. Bill of Rights Transcript The Third Amendment was created in response mostly to the British Quartering Act. It states that the government cannot force people to allow soldiers to stay in their homes during times of peace. During a war, however, if a law was passed by Congress allowing this, it could actually happen. The Bill of Rights The Fourth Amendment: Search and Seizure "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by

The First Amendments of the Constitution guarantees citizens the freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. Interestingly enough, these freedoms were originally listed as the Third Amendment. However, because only 10 of the 12 amendments that

Image 5.12 Protesters at the White House Gates


Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Text from U.S. Bill of Rights Transcript

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches of people, their houses, and their possessions. Although they are not required for every type of search, search warrants often are issued to explain the rationale for the search, what is to be searched, and what authorities can seize, or take. This amendment protects citizens from being searched or having their belongings taken without reasonable cause as determined by the court. The Bill of Rights The Fifth Amendment: Rights of the Accused and Due Process "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
Text from U.S. Bill of Rights Transcript

for a major crime without a Grand Jury hearing. Also, a person cannot be tried for the same charge or crime twice if they are originally found innocent. This is known as protection from double jeopardy. The Fifth Amendment protects defendants in criminal cases from testifying against themselves. Additionally, the Fifth Amendments guarantees due process, or fair procedures before taking a persons life, liberty, or property. Lastly, it protects Image 5.13 Trial by against eminent domain, as it reJury is One Right Ofquires governments to pay a fair price when taking land for public good. For fered to the Accused by the Bill of Rights example, if your house was in the way of a new interstate highway, and you did not want to sell it to the state, they would have to pay you a fair price before taking the property from you. The Bill of Rights The Sixth Amendment: Fair, Speedy Trial "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."
Text from U.S. Bill of Rights Transcript

The Fifth Amendment offers many protections for people accused of crimes. It states that a person cannot be tried

The Sixth Amendment is another amendment that protects the rights of the accused and includes rights that are often depicted on television. It guarantees a speedy, public trial with a fair and impartial jury. You also have the right to be told what you have been accused of doing wrong, to have witnesses testify for and against you in a court of law, and to have the legal assistance of an attorney. The Bill of Rights The Seventh Amendment: Civil Suits "In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."
Text from U.S. Bill of Rights Transcript

Bail cannot be set too high for a crime and fines may not be excessive. For example, a fine for a parking ticket in the amount of $5,000,000 would be considered excessive. Likewise, cruel or unusual punishments are not permitted. In 1995, a Massachusetts court ruled that inmates rights to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment were violated because the facility lacked toilets and was infested with mice, rats, and other vermin. The Bill of Rights The Ninth Amendment: Non-Enumerated Rights "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
Text from U.S. Bill of Rights Transcript

In civil cases that involve amounts in question over $20, people have the right to a jury trial to decide the outcome of the dispute. The Bill of Rights The Eighth Amendment: Cruel and Unusual Punishment "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."
Text from U.S. Bill of Rights Transcript

The Ninth Amendment basically explains that just because some rights are not listed does not mean that additional rights do not exist. For example, many people consider the right to privacy to a right that is listed under this amendment. The Bill of Rights The Tenth Amendment: Powers Reserved for the States "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Text from U.S. Bill of Rights Transcript

The Eight Amendment is last in the series of amendments that protects the rights of those accused of crimes.

The Tenth Amendment guarantees that ALL powers not specifically listed as being assigned to either the state or federal governments belong to the states. An example of this would be the right to run an education system. This is not listed in the Constitution as a power that belongs to either state governments or the federal government. Because of the Tenth Amendment, the power to regulate education belongs to state governments.

Image 5.14 Marriage Laws Set by States

Question 7 of 7

Unit 5 Review

Which amendment might not be considered to fall in the category Rights of the Accused?

A. 1st B. 4th C. 5th D. 6th

Check Answer