The US Constitution

  • Created by: Isteww
  • Created on: 09-05-17 18:39

Principles and Pre-amble

  • limited government
  • republic
  • federalism
  • future-proofing
  • democracy
  • equality
  • rights/freedom

first 52 words

  • connect the states
  • establish justice
  • ensure peace
  • provide defence
  • promote general welfare (privilege doesn't come into it)
  • secure liberty for now and future 
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Legislative Branch Article One

  • borrow and coin money
  • regulate commerce (trade)
  • regulate immigration
  • set up post office and roads
  • create an environment for good commerce
  • maintain army, navy, militias
  • to declare war
  • to conduct impeachment
  • to oversee the district of columbia
  • to make laws limited to the 6 purposes of the constitution and these areas

HofR= responsive role elected every 2 years (frequency)- they are held to account more often means they must secure benefits- number of representatives changes based on size of the state (bigger the state the more representatives ) = Article 1 Section 2

Senate= elected every six years, job is not to be responsive they represent the interest of the states elected every 6 years every state has 2 senators = Article 1 Section 3

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Article 1- key features

section 2- HofR 'sole power of impeachment

section 3- Senate 'sole power to try all impeachments

section 4- 'the times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives shall be pescribed in each state by the legislature thereof'= can create problems i.e. blacks

section 5- 'each house may determine the rules of its proceedings'= self regulatory

section 6- 'shall receive compensation for their services'= allows anyone to stand as are paid 'No senator or representative shall during the time for which he was elected be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States'=Separation of Powers

section 7- 'Every bill which shall have passed the HofR and the Senate shall before it it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it with his objections, to that house in which it shall have originated'= checks and balances

section 8- 'provide for the common defence and general welfare'= vague 

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Continuation of Article 1

section 8- 'make all laws which shall be necessary and proper'= necessary and proper clause

'to regulate commerce'= Commerce clause 

'to declare war'

section 10- 'no state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation'= no state can get involved in foreign policy 'no state shall without the consent of congress...keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state or foreign power or engage in war unless actually invaded or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay'

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Executive Branch Article Two

  • to be commander in chief
  • to appoint ambassadors judges and officers
  • to enforce the law of the United States (through the Federal Bureaucracy)
  • to sign treaties and receive ambassadors
  • to grant pardons
  • to give the state of the union address

section 1- 'the executive power shall be vested in a president of the united states'

Electoral college= 'each state shall appoint...a number of electors equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the state may be entitled in the Congress'

'no person except a natural born citizen...age or thirty-five years and been fourteen years a resident within the United States'

'in case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the vice-president'

oath- "best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States'

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Article 2 Key features

section 2- 'the president shall be commander in chief of the army and navy of the United States'

'shall have the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment'

 'he shall have power by and with advice and consent of the senate to make treaties provided two-thirds of the senators present concur; and he shall nominate and by and with the advice and consent of the senate shall appoint ambassadors...judges of the Supreme Court'

section 3- 'he shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the Union'

'he shall receive ambassadors'

'he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed'

section 4- 'The president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours'

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Judicial Branch Article 3

  • take appeals from citizens, courts, states
  • to make principled judgements
  • to ensure jury trials
  • to uphold the constituion

The have a developed power through the vagueness of the constituion i.e. the clauses and bill of rights. It doesnt say anything about the power of judicial review 

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Federalism Article 4

section 1- "full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state"= each state has sovereignty

section 4- "The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a republican form of government"

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How the Constitution can be amended Article 5

section 1- "the congress whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this constitution or on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states shall call a convention for proposing amendments which in either case shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of this constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states" 

  • founding fathers made this deliberately difficult- link to the informal modernisation by SC
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Article 6

  • "shall be the supreme law of the land and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby"= Supremacy clause
  • "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under United States"= secular state more progressive than U.K.
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Bill of Rights= the first 10 amendments

  • inalienable rights 

Amendment 1- "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 people to peacefully assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances"- allows religion, freedom of speech, the right to protest and disagree, the right to an individual view 

Amendment 2- "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"  = controversy was there to fight if the British came back, so this shouldm't be relevant today= citizens army not needed

Amendment 4- "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against the unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause supported by oath" = people can't be searched or belongings seized without a warrant 

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Bill of Rights

Amendment 5- "be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law" = Due process clause federal government can only have fair legal system, the Supreme Court can rule a law unconstitutional if law not easily understood or equally applied, stops discrimination

Amendment 6- "the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury... to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with witnesses against him... to have the assisstance of counsel for defence"= fair trial protects individual habeas corpus

Amendment 8- "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted"

Amendment 9- "the enumeration in the constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people"= the rights in the constitution are not the only rights people have- gives SC power

Amendment 10- "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"= whatever is not enumerated belongs to the states and the people 

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Further important amendments

Amendment 14- "nor shall any state deprive any person of life liberty or property without due process of law" = extends amendment 5 to states

Amendment 15- "The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, colour"

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