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 Philadelphia
Articles of Confederation had called for a WEAK
CENTRAL GOVERNMENT – this was not working.
James Madison (the Father of the Constitution),
Benjamin Franklin. George Washington was chosen as
president of the Convention.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were not there!
No women, African Americans or Native Americans – no
rights as citizens!
 Even
though the Articles of Confederation
had failed, the influences remained the same
when the convention started.
The Magna Carta
The English Bill of Rights
Both were designed to limit the power of the
monarch and increase the power of Parliament
 Some
wanted small changes to the Articles of
 Some wanted to rewrite the Articles
Even those that wanted to rewrite completely
had different ideas
The strength of the central government
 Virginia
Gave more power to the national government
A bicameral legislature (two houses)
Number in both houses would be based on
 New
Plan – favored by the large states
Jersey Plan – favored by the small states
Gave more power to state governments
Unicameral legislature (one house)
Number of representatives are equal from every
 Making
 The
Great Compromise
Bicameral legislature (two houses)
Lower house – the House of Representatives
it work!
Representation based on population of the state
Upper house – the Senate
Representation based on equality (2 senators from
each state)
 Investigative
Why did the Founding Fathers keep slavery in the
(SHEG – Reading Like a Historian)
 The
Southern states wanted enslaved
Africans to be counted in their state
populations for representation in Congress
but did not want to count them for taxation
because they were considered property.
 The
Northern states were in favor of
counting slaves for taxation purposes but not
for representation in Congress
The Three-Fifths Compromise
• A slave would be counted as three-fifths of a
person when determining representation and
 Congress
makes up the Legislative branch
 It is covered under Article 1 of the
 It is made up of the House of Representatives
and the Senate
 Duties
Makes (writes) the laws
Confirms presidential appointments
Approves treaties
Grants money
Declares war
 435
 The U.S. Census every 10 years determines
how many representatives each state has.
 Requirements:
Must be at least 25 years old
Must live in the state/district where they were
Must have been a U.S. citizen for seven years
 Term
Two years
 100
 Two members (senators) per state – equal
 Requirements
Must be at least 30 years old
Must live in the state they represent
Must have been a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years
 Term
Six years
 Two
Diane Feinstein
Barbara Boxer
 53
Representatives from California in the
 Roseville is in the 4th Congressional District.
 Representative from the 4th District
(represents Roseville)
Tom McClintock
 Members
of Congress can serve unlimited
 The
political party with more members in
each house is the majority party
 The
Speaker of the House is the leader of the
HOR and is elected by the majority party.
 The
V.P. of the U.S. serves as president of the
Senate – he does not participate in Senate
debate but does vote if there is a tie.
 When
Congress meets they are in “session”
 Both
houses do their work in committees
which are smaller groups of congressmen.
Each committee studies certain types of bills.
Only the HOR can introduce bills of revenue (that
deal with money or spending).
 How
bills become laws
Bills can be introduced in either the HOR or the
Senate (except money bills which have to start in
the HOR)
Example – a bill is introduced in the HOR. It goes
to committee (and subcommittee) in the HOR. It
is then presented to the entire HOR. If it passes
it goes over to the Senate for the same process.
If both houses pass the bill it goes to the
President for his signature. If he signs it, it is a
law. He may choose to not sign it – this is a veto.
 Other
If the President does not respond to the bill
within 10 working days it becomes a law
If the President does not respond to the bill
within 10 days and Congress has adjourned in
those 10 days, the bill dies - this is a Pocket
Congress may override the Presidents veto
The bill goes back to Congress who can override the
veto with a 2/3 vote in each house. The bill then
becomes a law without the President’s signature –
Checks and Balances!!!
Necessary and Proper Clause
“To make all Laws which shall be necessary and
proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing
Powers, and all other Powers vested by this
Constitution in the Government of the United States,
or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
Congress has to stretch its delegated powers to deal
with new or unexpected issues – Congress may “make
all laws which shall be necessary and proper” for
carrying out its duties.
This clause can be stretched (like elastic) to provide
flexibility for the government.
 Covered
under Article II of the Constitution
 Enforces the laws passed by Congress
 The President is the head of the executive
 Qualifications
to be president or vice
Must be at least 35 years old
Must be a native-born U.S. citizen
Must have been a resident of the U.S. for 14
 The
president and vice president serve four
year terms
The 22nd Amendment limited the president to
two terms.
George Washington set the standard for presidents to
step down after two terms.
FDR was elected to four terms. He was the only
president to serve more than 2 terms.
If the president dies, resigns or is removed from
office, the vice president becomes president.
 How
is a president removed from office?
House of Representatives can impeach, or vote
to charge president with serious crimes;
Senate tries impeachment cases; Congress can
remove president from office if found guilty
1. Vice President
2. Speaker of the House of Representatives
3. President Pro Tempore of the Senate
4. Secretary of State
5. Secretary of the Treasury
6. Secretary of Defense
7. Attorney General
8. Secretary of the Interior
9. Secretary of Agriculture
10. Secretary of Commerce
Executive Orders
• President can veto, or cancel, laws that
Congress has passed
• Congress can override veto with a two-thirds
majority vote
• President can issue executive orders, commands
that have the power of law
• These orders carry out laws affecting the
Constitution, treaties, and statutes.
• President may grant pardons, or freedom from
• Granted to persons convicted of federal crimes
or facing criminal charges
 Presidential
Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.
Appoints ambassadors and other officials
Conducts foreign policy
Makes treaties
 Executive
The executive departments do the work of the
executive branch. There are 15 departments.
The heads of the 15 departments make up the
president’s cabinet – his advisors.
 Video:
Constitution Hall Pass: The Presidency (22:09)
The Founding Fathers felt an Electoral College was necessary for
a few reasons:
First, they questioned whether the electorate was capable of
selecting an adequate leader for the nation if the people chose the
“wrong” President, the EC could override the vote.
 Second, voters had very little knowledge of candidates outside of
their local area or state voting was based primarily on REGION
 Step
1: The Popular Vote
On election day, voters choose who they want to
be President & Vice President
What we’re actually choosing are ELECTORS who
represent the political party of the candidate we
These electors are then supposed to vote for the
candidate that wins the popular vote in a given
 Step
2: “Winner Take All”
The EC system is “winner take all.”
That is, the candidate with the most popular
votes gets ALL of the electoral votes (except in
Maine and Nebraska where the electoral votes
can be divided)
Step 3: The electors then
meet in the State capitol to
cast votes for the candidate
they represent (Monday after
the 2nd Wednesday in
 Those votes are then sent to
the President of the Senate in
 The president of the Senate
counts the votes on January 6
(this is done before Congress)
 If
no Presidential candidate gets 270
electoral votes, the US House of
Representatives takes a vote to
determine the winner (this happened in
1800 & 1824)
Richard M Johnson
 1824
Andrew Jackson (41.3% of the popular
votes, John Quincy Adams 30.9% of the
popular vote)
Jackson received 99 of 261 electoral votes
more than any other candidate but not enough to
The House of
had to decide the
 Samuel
J. Tilden
4,288,546 popular votes
184 electoral votes
 Rutherford
B Hayes
4,034,311 popular votes
185 electoral votes
 Grover
5,534,488 popular votes
168 electoral votes
 Benjamin
5,443,892 popular votes
233 electoral votes
 Al
50,992,335 popular votes
266 electoral votes
 George
W Bush
50,455,156 (537,179 votes less)
271 electoral votes
Florida was decided by only 537
Judicial branch—system of federal courts headed
by U.S. Supreme Court
Article III of the Constitution outlines courts’
duties – to interpret the laws
Federal courts can strike down a state or federal
law if the court finds law unconstitutional
Federal court judges are appointed by the
president for life.
The lower federal courts are divided into 94
The Courts of Appeals review cases from the
lower courts.
 The
Supreme Court
Hears appeals of decisions by the Court of
Cases usually involve important constitutional
or public-interest issues.
Has nine justices, led by a chief justice
The current Chief Justice is John G. Roberts, Jr.
 WHY?
 Federalists
Federalists – supporters of the Constitution who
wanted a strong central government.
vs. Anti-Federalists
The Federalist Papers – essays supporting ratification
of the Constitution written by Madison, Hamilton and
Anti Federalists – opponents of the Constitution
because they believed it gave too much power to
the central government and it did not guarantee
individual rights.