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Poli2p97- Jan 13.docx

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Political Science
Tim Fowler

Jan 13/14 The American Constitution, Court System and Civil Liberties Common Principles of Founders • Limited power • Protection of Rights • Legislature as the leading branch of government -Americans have little faith in the government but they have faith in the constitution -American colonies ignored English Law -before the revolution (1620) American colonies elected their own representatives -American constitution was easy to write -New England communities began with agreements between the people on how to govern themselves -debates about what should or should not go in the constitution -Power should be limited (divided between branches- reduce the risk of any one branch becoming dominant) -Rights should be protected, elections would determine the power in America -Fear that a powerful President would become King -Institutions of the state should be responsive to the people Early Debates about the Constitution • How much power should be given to the people? • National versus State government • The form of executive power • Separation of powers • Slavery -delegates wanted leaders to be more educated/higher class and lower class should not be able to vote -public would vote for men who would vote for representatives -constitution originally only allowed for people to vote for the house of representatives -Women vote (1920), African Americans (1965)- Slow roll out of democracy -Small national government, left most of the power with the states (closer to the people/ reflect public sentiments) -Debate of what the executive branch of the government should look like (single representative or multiple) -Single elected president who would serve a 4 year term; president election was an issue -Voters were not trusted (were uneducated) state was not trusted (only look out for their own interests) -States were given electors (electoral college) proportionate to the state’s population -1 leader but also a separation of powers (branches could keep each other in check) -President can veto legislation- congress can overturn this -55 delegates of the constitution: protected slavery to get Georgia and South Carolina to join the USA -Three Fifths Compromisethappointing representation for how many seats each state would get (counted a slave as 3/5 s of a person when counting population) Constitutional Limits of Power • Exclusive powers and shares powers -“necessary and proper” clause (elastic clause- gives congress the power to make necessary and proper laws related to its exclusive powers)- Ex. Forcing people to participate in the Military -President has power to negotiate treaties and make appointment to federal court with the consent of senate • Separation of Powers • Checks and Balances -Congress given power to raise revenue through taxation (to raise armies, declare war, make roads, etc) –States cannot do these things -Korean War and Vietnam were police actions (war was not declared; done to allow to go to war) -Make sure judicial and legislative powers were not held by the same people • Article 1 -both houses must agree on legislation (president can veto acts passed by the house and senate; the house can override the veto is 2/3 of congress votes toward this, Vice president and other officers cannot be removed for political reasons but can be used for abuse of power- bribery/ treason) Congress must spend money; punish executive agencies by investigating/ auditing them, or freezing judges’ salaries • Article 2 -recommending laws, presidents appoints judges/ checks judiciaries by granting pardons • Article 3 -creates the supreme court Overview of the Constitution • Preamble -we the people…. • Seven Original Articles 1. Congress is established/ house of representation/ senate (equal representation) 2. Collect taxes, declare war, etc. President must be natural born American of at least 35 years old (appoint ambassadors, has executive powers) 3. There shall be a supreme court 4. Full faith and credit clause- ex/ if same sex marriage is legal in your state, they must recognize it in any state 5. No amendment can end slave trade until 1808, cannot change senate (2 representatives for each state) 6. Rule of Law- Constitution is the extreme law 7. ? The Bill of Rights • First 10 amendments to the constitution from the bill of rights (only applied to federal government- to protect citizens from government action) • Barron v Baltimore (Should have been paid for his loss of business from Barron’s Warf- said this only applied to the federal government) -over time, the bill of rights was spread to t
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