Constitutional Government - Mayfield High School

Constitutional Government - Mayfield High School

Content Statement #7: Constitutional government in the United States has changed over time as a result of amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court decisions, legislation and informal practices. CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT When Changes Need to be Made The operations of the government in the U.S. take place within a framework provided by the U.S. Constitution The U.S. Constitution has

been amended, interpreted, supplemented and implemented in a variety of ways Formal Amendments Process for making changes to the actual words of the constitution Amendment process is outlined in Article V of the constitution

Constitutional amendments have added to, modified, replaced and/or made inoperable provisions of the original document and previous amendments Example- 2nd Amendment & the right to bear arms Example- 21st Amendment cancelling 18th Amendment (prohibition) Informal Amendments Process where over time changes have

been made in the constitution but have not been added to the written constitution The result of day to day operations over time in our government Powers (specifically given in the constitution) exercised by each branch have lead to the creation of informal amendments as they use those powers There are five kinds of informal amendments 1. Basic Legislation

Congress passing laws Adding flesh to the bones of the constitution/adding to the framework the constitution creates by specifying details Ex) Constitution provides for Supreme court and any necessary courtsother courts have been added and are an example of informal amendment 1. Basic Legislation (cont.)

Constitution creates the President and Vice Presidentbut there are 14 executive departments now, another example of informal amendment Civil rights acts and voting rights acts have provided specific directions in furtherance of constitutional principles 2. Executive Action Presidential decisions can create informal amendments as he/she uses the powers

granted to them by the constitution Ex) Sending troops to another country without a declaration of war (Vietnam)President controls the military but cannot declare war, however basically makes waran informal amendment 2. Executive Action (cont.) Ex) Executive agreement vs. Treaty executive agreement is an agreement between two heads of state that does not

require Senate approval Treaty is between two states (countries) and requires Senate approval Executive agreement is the presidents way of getting what he wants without Senate approvalan example of an informal amendment 3. Court Decisions Supreme Court, in deciding cases brought before it, has frequently interpreted provisions of the U.S.

Constitution to clarify and extend their meaning Federal courts are always interpreting the constitution. Each time they rule on a case they are informally changing the constitution Ex) when the Supreme Court declares something unconstitutional through the power of judicial review Roe v. Wade-Texas law that criminalized abortion was ruled unconstitutional

4. Party Practices The constitution does not create political parties, however we have them today Parties guide much of American government Parties elect people to run for President, which is not written in the constitutionan example of an informal amendment 4. Party Practices (cont.)

Congressional work usually happens along party linesi.e. Republicans vote one way, Democrats vote another Ex) Troops in IraqDemocrats didnt support it, Republicans supported it However, the constitution does not create political parties or any of their processes or policies 5. Custom Much the same as tradition Not a written rule,

but followed much like one Ex) Presidential pardoning of a turkey 5. Custom (cont.) Same in government operationssome things are just tradition Ex) Running for more than two terms as President prior

to the 22nd amendment in 1951 Presidents followed it until FDR decided to run for a third and fourth term Ex) Senatorial Courtesy People appointed by the President for a federal vacancy must be confirmed by the Senate. If the Presidents party member(s) from the state involved agree with the appointee, the Senate usually respects their wishes and confirms that person. Content Statement #8: The Bill of Rights was drafted in response to the national debate over the ratification of

the Constitution of the United States. BILL OF RIGHTS Bill of Rights History Key argument during the course of the debate over the ratification of the U.S. Constitution concerned the need for

a bill of rights Federalists pointed to protections included in the original document but Anti-Federalists argued that those protections were inadequate To secure sufficient votes in the state ratifying conventions, Federalists pledged to offer a bill of rights once the new government was established Massachusetts & Virginia, in accord with Anti-Federalist sentiments, went so far as to propose amendments to the Constitution including amendments to protect the rights of citizens Bill of Rights

First ten amendments-ratified in 1791 Addressed protections for individual rights (Amendments 1 9) These amendments reflect the principle of limited government 10th Amendment also addressed the principle of limited government as well as federalism Bill of Rights - Philosophy & History Bill of Rights - The Amendments

1 Amendment st Free Speech Freedom of Religion establishment or exercise

Assembly Press Petition against the government 2 nd Amendment 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 3 Amendment rd 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.

4 Amendment th No unreasonable search and seizure Requirement of a warrant for searches 5 Amendment th

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a GRAND JURY Nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy (DOUBLE JEOPARDY)of life or limb Nor shall be compelled in any criminal

case to be a witness against himself ( SELF INCRIMINATION) 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 6 Amendment th Criminal Cases

The accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial By an impartial jury Accusation to be confronted with the witnesses against him To have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense

7 Amendment th Civil Cases The right of trial by jury shall be preserved 8 Amendment th

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted 9 Amendment th The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

10 Amendment th Reserved Powers to the States Do You Know Your Rights?

Bill of Rights Quiz Bill of Rights Rap Bill of Rights Disney Version Content Statement #9: The Reconstruction Era prompted Amendments 13 through 15 to address the aftermath of slavery and the Civil War. RECONSTRUCTION AMENDMENTS History of the Reconstruction Amendments

The conflict over slavery was a primary cause of the American Civil War As the war came to a close, plans to reconstruct the rebellious states were instituted The 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, was not part of President Lincolns original plan to readmit former Confederate states to Congress Ratification of the 13th Amendment

became a requirement under President Johnsons Reconstruction plan Amendment 13 (1865) Slavery is abolished in the United States History of the Reconstruction Amendments (cont.) Once Southern state efforts to curtail the rights of freedmen became known, two further amendments were proposed

Ratification of these amendments became a requirement under the congressional plan of Reconstruction Amendment 14 (1868)

Everyone born or naturalized in U.S. are entitled to rights-EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW Defined what persons were citizens of the United States & offered protection from state infringements on citizens rights Revised the means for determining representation in the House of Representatives & included punishments for former Confederates and their states No one shall run for office if they are convicted of treason or uprising All debts are valid EXCEPT those incurred to fund

insurrection or losses related to slavery Amendment 15 (1870) Extended the right to vote to citizens regardless of race, color or previous condition of servitude Content Statement #10: Amendments 16 through 19 responded to calls for reform during the Progressive Era.

PROGRESSIVE ERA AMENDMENTS Progressive Era History Time of political, economic, and social reform in response to problems which emerged throughout the United States in the late 1800s Progressive reforms began at the local level and gradually spread to

the national level, including four constitutional amendments addressed issues related to taxation, representation in Congress, alcohol use and suffrage Amendment 16 (1913) Congress has the power to tax income Background: Concerns over the usage of tariffs

by the federal government and distribution of wealth in the country had been raised by the Populist Party Progressives took up the call for reform and the 16th Amendment was passed to allow for a federal income tax Amendment 17 (1913) Senators elected by popular vote If Senate seat is vacated, a replacement Senator is appointed until an election is held

Background: Cartoon portraying the time it took to pass the Seventeenth Amendment allowing the direct election of U.S. senators Critics of state politics viewed

political party bosses and business leaders as having too much influence on state legislatures and their selection of senators Amendment 17 provides for the direct election of senators by the people Amendment 18 (1919)

Manufacture, transportation, and sale of intoxicating liquors becomes illegal one year after ratification of the amendment Importation and exportation of substances also illegal Background: Proponents of prohibition had for decades linked alcohol use to problems such as poverty & the destruction of family life Efforts to ban the use of alcoholic beverages led to passage of the 18th Amendment.

Amendment 19 (1920) Sex cannot exclude a person from voting Background: Longstanding reform effort was focused on obtaining the right to vote for women Women's suffrage in the U.S. was achieved gradually, at state and local levels during the late 19th century and early 20th century, culminating in 1920

with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment Content Statement #11: Four amendments have provided for extensions of suffrage to disenfranchised groups. VOTING AMENDMENTS Extension of Voting Rights

A recurring theme in amending the Constitution of the United States has been the extension of voting rights to more citizens Over time, the fundamental democratic practice of voting has been made possible for different groups of people What Amendments Have We Already Covered that Would Fit in this Category? Amendment 15 prohibits the denial of suffrage to people because of race, color or previous

condition of servitude Amendment 19 prohibits the denial of suffrage on account of sex Amendment 24 (1964) The right to vote will not be impeded upon by any poll tax Background: Poll taxes disenfranchised the poor and were also used as Jim Crow legislation to

deny the right to vote to African Americans Amendment 24 prohibits the use of poll taxes in federal elections Amendment 26 (1971) Right to vote is extended to citizens 18 years of age or older Background: Direct result of many young men being drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, but not being able to vote

Content Statement #12: Five amendments have altered provisions for presidential election, terms, and succession to address changing historical circumstances. CHANGES WITH THE PRESIDENCY AMENDMENTS Changes to the Executive Branch Constitutional provisions related to the executive branch of the federal government have been frequent subjects for amendment The amendments have responded to events impacting

presidential elections, terms and succession Amendment 12 (1804) Vice President is chosen as a separate office Defines how electoral college shall vote for Vice President Background: Amendment 12 altered the procedures of the Electoral College

altered the U.S. Electoral College to allow electors to vote for both a President and a Vice-President in a presidential election, instead of voting for two different presidential candidates, or the same presidential candidate twice The change allowed separate balloting for president and vice president to avoid a tie in electoral votes as happened in the election of 1800 (Jefferson vs. Burr) Amendment 20 (1933)

January 20 ends President and Vice President term January 3 ends congressional term Vice President will take place of President in event of his death Background: Shortened the time between elections and when presidents and members of Congress take office These changes reflected the improvements in transportation which allowed for easier travel to Washington Also reflected the desire to avoid lame duck periods in the transition from one administration or session to another

Amendment 22 (1951) No President shall be elected for more than two terms, congruent or not Background: Imposed a two-term limit on presidential terms Passed following the four-term presidency of Franklin Roosevelt to institutionalize the

two-term tradition established by George Washington FDR: President from 1933-1945 Amendment 23 (1961) Electors appointed to District of Columbia Background: The Electoral College was originally based upon electors representing states Population of the District of Columbia grew

it was decided that the residents there deserved to have the opportunity to vote for electors in presidential elections Amendment 25 (1967) Succession of Presidency Vice President fills office of President If Vice President is vacated, New Vice President is appointed after approval of Senate

Background: Presidential succession and disability were addressed Lyndon B. Johnson (who had a history of heart problems) took office following the assassination of JFK This left the office of vice president vacant 25th Amendment clarified that a successor to the presidency was designated as President of the United States and included provisions for filling the office of Vice President It also outlined procedures to be used in case of presidential disability Content Statement #13: Amendments 11, 21 and 27 have addressed unique historical circumstances.

CHANGING HISTORICAL CIRCUMSTANCES AMENDMENTS Unique Circumstances Three amendments to the United States Constitution have come about due to particularly unique circumstances One amendment addresses judicial power Another repeals a previous amendment The most recent amendment took more than 200 years to be ratified.

Amendment 11 (1795) Immunity of states from certain lawsuits Nobody can sue a state in federal court without the consent of the state concerned Background: Proposed in 1794, one year after the Supreme Court ruled in Chisholm v. Georgia (1793) that a lawsuit involving a state being sued by a citizen from another state could be

heard in a federal court Concerns over the extent of federal power led to the passage of this amendment, which limits the jurisdiction of the federal courts in cases of this type The amendment repeals a portion of Article III, section 2, clause 1 of the Constitution Amendment 21 (1933) REPEALS 18th Amendment 14 years later Background

Congress enacted the Volstead Act to implement the provisions of the 18th Amendment Difficulties in enforcing the law led to widespread disregard for Prohibition and increased criminal activities during the 1920s A successful 1932 Democratic Party campaign against Prohibition led to the proposal and ratification of the 21st Amendment Amendment 27 (1992) Congressional pay raises take effect after

the next congressional election Background: Originally proposed in 1789 to limit conflicts of interest among members of Congress in determining their own compensation Was not ratified with the 10 amendments known today as the Bill of Rights Popular opposition to congressional pay raises in the 1980s renewed interest in the amendment

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