Chapter 3 The Constitution

the nature of the constitution: three key features

  • Article I- all legislative powers herein shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives
  • Article II- the executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America
  • Article III- the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish
  • Article IV- federal-state and state-federal relationships
  • Article V- amendment procedures
  • Article VI- miscellaneous provisions including the 'supremacy clause'
  • Article VII- ratification procedure

a codified constitution

  • code- systematic and authoritative collection of rules
  • the United States Constitution is the collected and authoritative set of rules of American government and politics
  • codified constitution- a written constitution
  • not everything about the ordering of American government and politics is to be found in the constitution
  • this new codified constitution consisted of 7 articles
  • the 1st 3 explained how the 3 branches of the federal governmen would work and what powers they would have
  • article I- established Congress as the national legislature, defining its membership, the qualifications and method of election of its members and its powers
  • article I, section 8- congress was given specific powers; coin money, declare war
  • article II- decidied on a singular executive by vesting all executive pwoer in the hands of a President; would be chosen indirectly by an Electoral College
  • Article III- established the United States Supreme Court
  • Congress quickly added trial and appeal courts
  • the Court was to have to the role of umpire of the Constitution- implied in the supremacy clause of Article VI and the provision in Article III that the court's judicial power applies to all cases arising under this constitution
  • supremacy clause- the portion of Article VI which states that the constituton, as well as treaties and federal laws, shall be the supreme law of the land
  • the court would make this more explicit in its landmark decision of Marbury v Madison in 1803
  • these 3 articles contain enumerated powers granted to the federal government
  • enumerated powers- powers delegated to the federal government under the Constitution
  • the federal government does not possess unlimited power, but only such power as it is given in the constitution
  • it was also given much less specific powers

a blend of specificity and vagueness

  • implied powers- powers possessed by the federal government by inference from those powers delegated to it in the constitution
  • the power to draft people into the armed forces may be implied from Congress's enumerated power to raise an army and navy
  • congress was given the power to provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States
  • from this was implied that Congress had the power to levy and collect taxes to provide for the defence of the United States
  • many of the implied powers are decuded from the necessary and proper clause of Article I, Section 8
  • necessary and…

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