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US History
Principles to Ensure a Balance of Power
Name: _________________
Do Now:
“The Federalist Papers were a series of eighty-five essays urging the citizens of New York
to ratify the new United States Constitution. Written by Alexander Hamilton, James
Madison, and John Jay, the essays originally appeared anonymously in New York
newspapers in 1787 and 1788 under the pen name ‘Publius’…The Federalist Papers are
considered one of the most important sources for interpreting and understanding the
original intent of the Constitution.” ~
Excerpts from Federalist No. 51
“TO WHAT expedient then, shall we finally resort, for maintaining in practice the
necessary partition of power among the several departments, as laid down in the
Constitution? The only answer that can be given is…by so contriving the interior structure
of the government as that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations, be
the means of keeping each other in their proper places…
In order to lay a due foundation for that separate and distinct exercise of the different
powers of government, which to a certain extent is admitted on all hands to be essential to
the preservation of liberty, it is evident that each department should have a will of its own;
and consequently should be so constituted that the members of each should have as little
agency as possible in the appointment of the members of the others…
But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same
department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary
constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others…”
1- What are the Federalist Papers?
2- What insights (understandings) can the Federalist Papers provide?
3- According to the authors of Federalist Paper No. 51, why must the power of
government be partitioned or divided among several departments?
4- What is another term for “keeping each other in their proper places”?
5- According to the authors of Federalist Paper No. 51, what is essential to the
preservation of liberty?
6- What does “resist encroachment” mean in the passage?
Principles of the Constitution
I. Separation of Powers
Article I of the Constitution: Devoted to the Congress (Legislative Branch)
Article II of the Constitution: Devoted to the President (Executive Branch)
Article III of the Constitution: Devoted to the Federal Judiciary (Judicial
II. Checks and Balances
- Prevents the abuse of power by any one of them
- A system that allows each branch of a government to amend or veto acts of
another branch so as to prevent any one branch from exerting too much
III. Federalism
- Concept of distributing powers of government between one central or
national government (usually called the “federal government”) and the
governments of several states into which a country is divided
IV. Structure of the Constitution
- A Preamble setting forth the reasons the Constitution was adopted
- A main body of seven articles divided into sections and clauses
- Shortly after ratification, an appendix of amendments to the Constitution
1- How does the U.S. Constitution realize Montesquieu’s concept of “separation of
2- Define checks and balances.
3- Define federalism.
4- How do the following concepts work together to prevent tyranny in the U.S.A.:
separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism
5- Explain the various parts of the U.S. Constitution.
6- The Preamble of the Constitution establishes that the people are the source of
authority. How does this differ from Divine Right Theory?
7- Analyze the six goals stated in the Preamble: to set up a stronger government than
had existed under the Articles of Confederation; to improve the judicial system; to
guarantee peace within and among states; to provide protection for the country; to
provide for the general welfare; and to maintain liberty for citizens. How were
these goals similar to other countries and how were these goals different?
Analyze the charts below concerning the three branches of government:
 Congress (Bicameral)
 The president of the
 Made up of the
1- House of
United States, the
Supreme Court and
vice president, and
other courts
the major
 Its job is to interpret
determined by
departments of
the laws
2- Senate
 Together, all the
(Two Senators for
leaders, along with
every State)
the president, vice
 Its job is to make
president, and a few
other people, make
up the cabinet
 Decides on who and
what to tax and how
 The job of the
to use tax money
executive branch is to
enforce the laws
 Each house meets
separately but they
can come together for
joint sessions
P.S. And don’t forget that the public also is part of the system of checks and balances. If
citizens aren’t satisfied with an official, they can choose to not reelect him or her.
How Each Branch Can Check or Limit the Other Branches:
 Congress can override
 The President can
 The court can declare
the President’s veto with
veto congressional
presidential acts
a two-thirds vote in both
the House and Senate
 The President
 The court can declare
 Congress controls the
nominates judges
laws unconstitutional
 Congress approves
Presidential nominations
 Congress can impeach
the president and judges
1- What are the responsibilities of the Legislative branch of government and how does
it check the powers of the Executive and Judicial branches?
2- What are the responsibilities of the Executive branch of government and how does it
check the powers of the Legislative and Judicial branches?
3- What are the responsibilities of the Judicial branch of government and how does it
check the powers of the Legislative and Executive branches?
1. Which statement most accurately
describes federalism?
(1) The judicial branch of
government has more power than the
other two branches.
(2) The president and vice president
divide executive power.
(3) Power is divided between the
national government and the states.
(4) Power is shared between the two
houses of Congress.
2. What is a principle of government
that is stated in the Preamble to the
United States Constitution?
(1) Federal laws must be subject to
state approval.
(2) The power of government comes
from the people.
(3) The right to bear arms shall not
be infringed.
(4) All men and women are created
3. In the United States Constitution, the
power to impeach a federal
government official is given to
(1) House of Representatives
(2) president
(3) state legislatures
(4) Supreme Court
4. A constitutional power specifically
delegated to the federal government
is the power to
(1) regulate marriage and divorce
(2) establish education standards
(3) declare war
(4) issue driver’s licenses
5. “The United States shall guarantee to
every state in this Union a republican form
of government, and shall protect each of
them against invasion; and on application of
the legislature, or of the executive (when the
legislature cannot be convened), against
domestic violence.”
— United States Constitution, Article IV,
Section 4
According to this excerpt, a goal of the
framers of the Constitution was to ensure
that the United States
(1) remained neutral during domestic
conflicts involving the states
(2) supported the right of each state to resist
presidential decisions
(3) provided for the common defense of
every state
(4) approved a bill of rights to protect
citizens from government tyranny
6. Passing marriage and divorce laws,
creating vehicle and traffic regulations, and
setting high school graduation requirements
are examples of powers traditionally
(1) exercised solely by local governments
(2) reserved to the state governments
(3) delegated entirely to the federal
(4) shared by the national and local
7. “. . . it is the opinion of this committee
that a national government ought to be
established consisting of a Supreme
Legislature, Judiciary, and Executive. . . .”
— Resolution submitted by Edmund
Randolph, delegate to the Constitutional
Convention, 1787
In adopting this resolution, the framers of
the Constitution showed their belief in the
idea of
(1) judicial review
(2) an elastic clause
(3) States rights
(4) separation of powers
8. Which constitutional principle is the focus of this cartoon?
(1) Individual liberties
(3) Freedom of speech
(2) Separation of powers (4) Federalism
9. Federalism is a term used to define the division of power between the
(1) President and the vice president
(2) Senate and the House of Representatives
(3) National and state levels of government
(4) Three branches of the federal government
10. Which heading best completes the partial outline below?
A. Representation
B. Slave trade
C. Taxation
D. Election of the president
(1) Causes of the Revolutionary War
(2) Provisions of the Treaty of Paris, 1783
(3) Protections under the 10th Amendment
(4) Compromises at the Constitutional Convention