Government, Citizenship, and the Constitution 1787 - Present
Ideas Behind the Constitution • Ancient Roman Republic • Independence & public service as part of devotion • British Freedoms • Rights to private property, trial by jury, habeas corpus (no one can be jailed unless charged w/crime) • American Experience • Mayflower Compact: had powers & limits of gov. • Used problems from revolutionary era • Enlightenment Teachings • John Locke: natural rights (life, liberty, property) & gov. has agreement w/ ruler & the ruled • Baron de Montesquieu: 3 branches of gov. & separation of powers
Preamble • Introduction – explains reasons for new gov. • “We the people”: Power to form gov. comes from the people = popular sovereignty • Goals • “Form a more perfect union”: working together would bring strengths • “establish Justice”: Ruled by laws • “insure domestic Tranquillity”: peace & order • “provide for the common defense”: gov. responsible for protecting citizens from foreign invaders • “promote the general welfare”: support economy & society which ppl could prosper • “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”: generations of Americans to enjoy freedom
Principles • Popular Sovereignty • Limited gov.: gov. can only do what ppl say to do • Separation of powers: power divided b/t 3 branches • Checks & Balances: Each branch is able to check power of the other branches • Federalism: Power is divided b/t national gov. & state govs. • Republicanism: citizens elect representatives to carry out the will of the ppl • Individual rights: rights are protected
Article I – The Legislative Branch • Bicameral national legislature: 2-house system
How Congress Passes Laws • Any member can propose law • When majority approved it goes to the other house • Only House can propose new taxes • President can veto any law, but Congress can override by 2/3’s vote in both houses
Other Powers of Congress • How to spend $ from taxes • Raise army & navy • Declare war • “Elastic Clause” – gives Congress flexibility to do many things not in Constit.
President - aka: Chief Executive • Qualifications: • Chosen by majority from Electoral College • 4 year term but can also have 1 reelection • Must say “oath of office” – promise to defend Constit. • Natural – born citizen • 35 yrs old • Powers of the President • Carry out the laws • Commander in chief of military • Makes treaties & agreements w/ foreign nations • Nominates ambassadors & Supreme Court justices • Grant pardons to ppl convicted of federal crimes
Removing the President • Can impeach – formally accuse an official of a crime related to official duties • Ex: bribery, or high crimes • House of Reps votes to impeach • Senate puts President on trial • Senators serve as jury and decide innocence or guilt Richard Nixon – 37th Pres. Andrew Johnson – 17th Pres. Bill Clinton – 42nd Pres.
Article III: The Judicial Branch • Interprets laws of Constitution & resolve conflict among states, laws, and fed. Gov. • Hierarchy of Courts Supreme Court highest Appellate Courts Makes sure previous trials were fair & Legal District Courts Fed. Laws first heard here
Powers of the Supreme Court • Decisions are final • No limit of #’s of judges, but Congress says 9 • Judges serve for life • Dispute only immediately to S.C. if involves a state or ambassador from another country • Rest are appeals • Reviews about 100 cases a year • Judicial Review: power to decide whether laws and actions by leg. & exe. Branch conflict with Constitution
Checks & Balances • Each branch of gov. limits powers of the other branches • Balance of strong national gov. & protection of freedoms • Checks: allow 1 branch to block the actions of another • Balances: allows each branch to have some role in the actions & power of the other branches
Federalism • Power divided b/t national gov. & states
Congress has power to regulate interstate commerce & share common market • National gov. regulates trade w/Native Americans • States have any powers not granted to national gov. • Each state must accept other states’ laws & decisions
State Governments • Each state has own constitution that resemble national document & are longer & more detailed • ½ of states citizen can change through constitutional initiative which is gathering a petition • Then the legislature can vote • Have 3 branches • Provide many services
County & Local Governments • County has similar 3 branches but with different titles • Bergen County: County Executive, Freeholders, and County Court (Hackensack) • Towns have 3 branches as well • Mayor, Town Council, and Town Court
Bill of Rights • Thomas Jefferson urged James Madison to write amendments for bill of rights after signing • 1st Amendment: 5 basic freedoms • Freedom of religion • Of speech • Of the press • And of assembly (meet together) • The right to petition the government(appeal) • When the gov. violates these rights, he or she may challenge the government’s action in court
2-4th Amendments: protect citizens from gov. abuse • 2nd Amend. – Right to bear arms • Can one own a gun? • 3rd Amend. – Quartering troops in homes • Respect the right of privacy • 4th Amend. – Searches & Seizures • B4 arresting or going into home must prove to judge there is a good reason then giving a warrant
5 – 8th Amendments: Legal Rights & Protections • 5th – Legal Rights • Ppl accused of serious crimes get grand jury hearing to decide if there is enough evidence for trial • “Double Jeopardy”: cannot try a person twice for same crime • Prohibits self-incrimination: cannot force ppl to say things that can be used against them (Miranda warning) • Due process: gov. must follow clear rules • Gov. cannot take private property for public use “without just compensation” • 6th – Criminal Trial Rights • Right to speedy and public trial w/ lawyer • Judged by jury from area & be told the exact type and place of crime
7th – Civil Trial Rights • Right to a trial by jury & decision can’t be changed by judge • 8th – Bail & Punishments • B4 Trial: Bail ($ or property given to court to hold until person shows up for trial) cannot be excessive • After Trial: punishments “proportionate to the crime” • Death Penalty?
9th & 10th: Keep a proper balance b/t gov. & states • 9th – rights not listed are also kept • ie.: right to privacy • 10th – powers not given to nat. gov. in Constit. Are “reserved to the states …. Or to the people”
Responsibility of Citizens • Citizen: person who owes loyalty to particular nation • Must be responsible for ourselves & consequences of our actions • Responsibilities • Voting • Obeying laws • Defending nation • @ 18 all men must sign up for draft registry • Jury Duty • Volunteering • Being informed • Paying taxes