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By: Dennis KarpenkoAP Government and PoliticsPeriod 8
The Preamble
“In order to form a more perfect union” – forming a nation in which the states can work together“Establish justice” – establish laws and courts which are fair“Insure domestic tranquility” – maintain peace within the country“Provide for the common defense” – safeguard the country against attack“Promote the general welfare” – contribute to the people’s happiness and well-being“Secure the blessings of ourselves and our posterity” – make sure that future citizens maintain their freedom
Article I, Section I
Article I regards The Legislative Branch of the federal governmentThis branch is represented by CongressCongress is separated into two houses: The Senate (upper house) and the House of Representatives (lower house)
Article I, Section II
Section II specifically refers to the House of Representatives (HOR)In order to become a member of the HOR, there are several qualifications:Must be at least 25 years oldMust have been a citizen in the United States for 7 yearsMust be an inhabitant of the state they are representingEvery state is mandated to have at least one member in the HOR regardless of populationEach other representative is based upon state populations counting:Free peopleTaxed Indians3/5ths of every slave3 years after the initial meeting and every 10 years after, there is a census to change the number of representatives per stateOriginally, each representative could represent a maximum of 30,000 people
Article I, Section III
Section III specifically refers to the SenateThe 17thAmendment set that Senators would be chosen by through direct electionPrior to this, Senators were chosen by state legislaturesEvery term for a Senator is 6 years and every 2 years, a third of all Senators are reelectedAs with HOR Representatives, there are qualifications for becoming a Senator:Must be 30 years oldMust have been a United States citizen for 9 yearsMust be an inhabitant of the state they are representingThe President of the Senate is the Vice PresidentIf the VP is absent, the officer in charge is the President Pro TemporeThe sole power of the Senate is to try all impeachments
Article I, Sections IV and V
Section IVOpening day of Congress begins on January 3Section VA quorum is the minimum number of members needed to make any proceedings validWhile each house makes its own rules, the HOP has the more formal procedureThere are ad hoc committees established for directly dealing with proposed billsThe committees’ actions are considered to be more important than those of the general floor decisionScheduling is decided by the majorityFloor debates favor the majority
Article I, Sections VI and VII
Section VICongress is paid by the Treasury of the United StatesSpeech and Debate Clause (Congressional Immunity):Besides treason, felony, and breach of the peace, a Senator or Representative cannot be arrested during an active session in CongressAfter a speech or debate, neither Senator nor Representative will be asked questions for what had been discussed during the sessionSection VIIRevenue Bill – a bill which focuses upon raising money, such as through taxes, user fees, tariffs, etc.A revenue bill originates in the HORFor a bill to become a law, it must be approved by the HOR, Senate, and then approved by the President.A President has the ability to veto a bill (disapprove of it), but it can be overridden by a 2/3rds majority of both houses of Congress.
Article I, Section VIII
Powers given to the federal government as described in the Constitution are called delegated, expressed, or enumerated powersSection VIII refers to the powers which are granted to Congress:Making lawsCollecting and setting uniform taxesBorrowing on credit for the U.S.Commerce Clause – regulating trade with foreign nation, states, and Indian tribesEstablishing uniform Rule of NaturalizationCoining money, regulating value, and changing the standard of weights and measures as necessaryDeclaring war and making rules for capturing land and waterRaising an armyMaintaining a navyEstablishing rules for govt. regulation of land and naval forces
The Necessary and Proper Clause
The last and perhaps the most important power delegated to Congress is called the Necessary and Proper Clause or the Elastic ClauseThe clause states that Congress is given the power pass all necessary and proper laws for carrying out their enumerated list of powersAn example of the use of this power was the establishment of a National Bank in order to help carry out the functions of the government
Article I, Section IX
While Section VIII talked about the powers delegated to Congress, Section IX talks about the powers denied to CongressWrit of Habeas Corpus – a court order to deliver a person to custody to that courtBill of Attainder – declaring someone guilty of a crime and punishing them without a trialEx Post Facto Law – an established law which makes actions done in the past illegal (cannot be punished for something which was done when that action was legal)Although not mentioned directly in this Article and Section, when the federal and state governments share powers, they are known as shared powers (ability to tax, build roads, etc.)
Article I, Section X
Section X talks about powers which are denied to the statesStates are not allowed to make treaties, alliances, or confederationsStates are not allowed to coin moneyStates are not allowed to tax interstate tradeStates are not allowed to grant letters of Marque and Reprisal (license authorizing a person to board and capture vessels)
Article II, Section I
As Article I talked about the Legislative Branch, Article II talks about the Executive BranchThe branch is made up of the President and Vice President with the term for each being 4 yearsMembers of this branch are elected through the Electoral CollegeA system where chosen electors vote for the President (POTUS) and Vice President (VP) as representatives of their state populationsThe 12thAmendment changed the system by which the POTUS and VP are electedAs with becoming a member of the HOR or Senate, there are qualifications for becoming POTUS and VP:Must be at least 35 years oldMust have lived in the U.S. for 14 yearsMust be a natural-born U.S. citizenThe 20thAmendment established that the VP will succeed the POTUS if necessaryThe Chief Justice of the Supreme Court administers the oath to the President
Article II, Sections II and III
Section IIThe powers of the Executive Branch include:Being Commander-in-Chief of the Army and NavyHaving the power to make treaties with the consent of 2/3rds of the SenateThe Senate has the power of “advice and consent” which gives it the ability to be consulted on and approve treaties and appointments by the POTUS of individuals to public positions such as federal judges, cabinet members, and ambassadorsSection IIIThe POTUS has the duty to give an annual message to Congress called the State of the Union
Article II, Section IV
Section IVThis section revolves around the concept of impeachment which is an individual's removal from officeThe President can be impeached on the grounds of conviction of treason, bribery, or any other high crime/misdemeanor
Article III, Section I
Article III pertains to the Judicial Branch of the federal governmentThe branch is made up by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) whose members serve for their entire lifetimes (or until choosing to retire) upon being appointedCompared to the other two branches, the Judicial Branch has a relatively large amount of independence in their functionalityThis is because the SCOTUS, unlike the other two branches, is not devoted to serving the people of the U.S., but rather acting on behalf of and in favor of the Constitution itself
Article III, Section II
The Supreme Court is permitted to hear a variety of cases which include a variety of topics:Laws of the U.S.TreatiesAdmiralty and maritime jurisdictionControversies between StatesArising under the ConstitutionAffecting ambassadors, consuls, and public ministersDisputes between citizens of different statesDisputes between a state/state citizen and foreign statesControversies in which the U.S. is a partyCitizens of the same state claiming land, through grants, of other statesMarbury v. Madison (1803) established the SCOTUS’ power of judicial reviewOriginal Jurisdiction = cases go directly to the Supreme CourtAppellate Jurisdiction = cases are tried in a lower court, but if approved by Congress, can appeal up to the SCOTUS
Article IV, Sections I and II
Article IV outlines the relationships between each stateSection IFull Faith and Credit Clause – each state must recognize the civil judgements rendered by the courts of other states and must accept their public records and acts as validSection IIPrivileges and Immunities – states cannot treat citizens of others states in a discriminatory manner/citizens have a right to interstate travelExtradition – a criminal offender is surrendered by officials of one state to the state in which the crime has been allegedly committed
Article IV, Sections III and IV
Section IIINew states cannot be added through the separation or combination of states without the consent of state legislatures and CongressTerritories are controlled directly by CongressSection IVThe federal government guarantees states have a republican government and provide protection from domestic violence and invasion
Article V
There are two ways of Proposing and Ratifying Amendments:2/3rds vote from both Houses of Congress deem it to be necessary with a subsequent ratification of 3/4ths of state legislatures (More popular method)A National Convention called by Congress at the request of 2/3rds of states followed by ratification in conventions in 3/4ths of states
Article VI
Debts and obligations made prior to the Constitution’s adoption are considered to be validSupremacy Clause – national laws are superior to those of state lawsLaws which are the “Supreme Law of the Land” include:The ConstitutionTreatiesNational LawsFederal and state officials must have their supreme allegiance be aligned with the U.S. Constitution rather than their respective state constitutions
Article VII
In order to establish the Constitution, nine of the then 13 states had to ratify itThis process was concluded in 1787
The Amendments
The first 10 Amendments make up the Bill of RightsAs mentioned by Article V, there are two ways of proposing and ratifying additional AmendmentsSince the Constitution’s inception, there have been an additional 17 Amendments added to the Constitution making a total of 27 Amendments
1stAmendment
Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses – Congress cannot make a law concerning the establishment of a religion or the prohibition of practicing oneCongress can’t restrict free speech, freedom of the press, peaceful assembly, or petitions
2ndAmendment
The people have a right to keep and bear arms in a well-regulated militia
3rdAmendment
Soldiers cannot be quartered without the consent of the home’s owner
4thAmendment
People are protected from an unreasonable search and seizure of property with out a warrant or probable causeProbable Cause – making a search or arrest without a warrant in the case of a suspect possibly escaping, destruction of evidence, or imminent danger
5thAmendment
A person cannot be forced to be witness against themselves in courtA person cannot be tried twice for the same crimeDue Process Clause – no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, property without due process of the law
6thAmendment
People have the right to a speedy, public trial with an impartial jury and the right to have access to an attorney
7thAmendment
Guarantees the people a right to a jury trial in civil cases
8thAmendment
Guarantees protection against cruel and unusual punishment
9thAmendment
Rights which are not explicitly listed in the Constitution can still be granted to citizens
10thAmendment
States retain powers which are not given to the national government
11thAmendment
A citizen from one state cannot sue another state in federal court
12thAmendment
Changes the function of the Electoral CollegeIn a presidential election, if no majority is reached, the HOR will choose the president while the Senate will pick the VP
13thAmendment
The abolishment of slavery in the United States
14thAmendment
Upon birth in the United States, a person is granted citizenshipStates are bound by the Due Process ClauseEqual Protection Clause – states cannot deny people equal protection of laws
15thAmendment
Every male citizen has the right to right to vote regardless of their race or a previous status as a slave
16thAmendment
Congress is allowed to collect an income tax
17thAmendment
Direct Election of Senators – instead of being chosen by state legislatures, Senators are elected by voters in their respective states
18thAmendment
The sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol is prohibited (Prohibition begins)
19thAmendment
Women gain the right to vote
20thAmendment
Changed the beginning and ending of the POTUS and VP from March 4thto January 20thin order to be closer to the election
21stAmendment
The repeal of the prohibition of alcohol/18thAmendment (Prohibition ends)
22ndAmendment
The POTUS is limited to two terms in office
23rdAmendment
While it still lacks significant representation in the HOR or any at all in the Senate, citizens of Washington D.C. can now vote for the President
24thAmendment
Poll taxes are considered illegal
25th Amendment
In the event of death or removal from office, the VP will take over for the PresidentThe VP can also become President if the majority of the cabinet agrees with the VP decides that the President can no longer perform his dutiesA President can appoint a new VP if the position is vacant and he/she is approved by Congress
26thAmendment
Every citizen who is 18 years old or older cannot be denied the right to vote
27thAmendment
Only members of Congress can decide their own salaries, but the raise will not take effect until the subsequent Congress is in session

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