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Background to the constitution

1787 Philadelphia convention 55 founding fathers

met to review system of govt set up in 1776 by
declaration of independence

The confederation had been set up keeping in mind

that it had to be very different from the British
system, without a monarch like…

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Safeguards on Federal Government power (1) Safeguards on Federal Government power (2)

Federalism Separation of powers
Limiting federal govt as a whole increasing its Keeping the three branches separate in order to
power, individual states were to take care of all other stop them working together & becoming too

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The constitution

Federalism was set out in the constitution as a
safeguard against Federal Govt becoming too
powerful. However many parts were left vague &
therefore the Supreme Court has had to interpret

The 'necessary & proper' & the supremacy clause
gives federal govt a huge amount of…

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A history of Federalism Dual federalism

The relationship between states & federal govt When the constitution was written it was intended
dramatically changed after WW2 & the New Deal, for the states & federal govt to exercise separate
the economy had failed & states simply did not have powers

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Guardians of the Constitution

All federal & state laws, including state constitutions,
& those responsible for implementing it, i.e. the
president, congressmen, governors, etc. Must
comply with the constitution

There needed to be a provision to deal with claims
that something was unconstitutional, yet the
founding fathers did…

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Judicial activism Judicial restraint

Rights have to apply to everyone & in a meaningful Any decision that prohibits or enforces actions ought
way according to that time to be made by elected politicians who are
accountable to the people, this is what the founding
Protecting the minorities that do…

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Protecting people's rights, often going against Conformations ­ after a public announcement the
elected policy senate votes. Where every detail of the candidates
history & views are scrutinised ( Harriet Miers had to
Led to a number of decisions (explored below) that withdraw)
pressure groups want to protect/reverse

The Roberts…

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Importance of Congress

When the founding fathers wrote the constitution
congress was deemed the most important &
powerful body. It had existed in the articles of

confederation before the other two were created.

Policy was to be made collectively by all the states,
so there had to be a…

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Legislative role of congress (3) Legislative role of congress (4)

Debate by the full chamber ­ differs significantly Conference committee ­ the two versions of the
between both houses. bill from the two chambers need to be harmonised.
Representatives from both chambers meet to do
HOR ­ house rules committee…

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Importance of political parties (1) Importance of political parties (1)

The speaker (Nancy Pelosi) Votes by the full chamber
In the HOR the speaker is the most important Votes have become extremely partisan over the
person and is voted for by the party that has the years. When Obama came…


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