The Constitution

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					The Constitution
   Chapter 2
   Lesson 2
   Here we go…

A written plan of government for
        the United States.
Levels of Government:
       • National
        • State
         • Local
A system in which states share power
      with a national government.
A change to the Constitution
                  Bill of Rights:
       The first ten amendments to the

1.   Basic Freedoms          6. Rights to a Fair Trial
2.   Weapons                 7. Jury Trial
3.   Housing Soldiers        8. Bail and Punishment
4.   Search and Seizure      9. People Power
5.   Rights of the Accused   10. State Power
          Did You Know…?
Builders make a plan before they build a
    house. The founders of the United
 States made the Constitution as a plan
       for the nation’s government.

So… the Constitution is the plan we use to
             run our country.
         Main Idea:
The Constitution describes how the
       United States works…
What is a Democracy?
         A Democracy is…
 When the people have the power to make
     political decisions: These decisions
• Making laws
• Electing leaders

    In America we help to make these
    decisions by exercising our right to
       Did You Know?
 In the Preamble, (beginning of our
Constitution) the authors listed their
     goals for the United States.
      They wanted citizens to:
               Be safe
            Live in peace
          Have a good life
    Branches of Government:
The Constitution divides the national
 government into 3 parts, or branches:

• Legislative (Congress – Senate and House of

• Executive (Lead by the President)

• Judicial
          Legislative Branch
• Makes laws
• Approves judges chosen by the President.
• Raise money through taxes, or by borrowing
  to pay for goods and services such as:
• An army
• Roads
• National Parks
   Who makes up the Legislative
• Senate
• House of Representatives

• Senate + House of Reps. = Legislative
  Branch (Congress)
         Executive Branch
• Lead by the President who is also
  commander of our military.

• Suggests laws (but only the Legislative
  Branch (Congress) can MAKE laws.
         Judicial Branch
(Made up of many courts across our

 • Decides the meaning of laws
 • Decides if laws are being followed

 • Hint: The Judicial Branches judges…
What is known as the highest
     court in our land?
The Supreme Court
           Let’s Review
What are the jobs of each branch of the
          national government?
     Legislative (Congress)
• Makes laws
• Raises money through taxes or by
(Lead by the President)
Suggests and carries out laws
• Decides the meaning of laws

• Decides whether laws are
What is another name for the
    Legislative Branch?
Remember… the Legislative branch is made up of
        both the Senate and the House of
  Representatives. These two together are called
Congress = Legislative branch
Senate + House of Representatives = Congress which =
  Legislative branch
Senate, House of Representatives, Congress, Legislative
  branch… are all the same!!!
                     Pretty cool, huh?
Congress is made up of 2 parts,
       what are they?
 Together they’re called the Legislative
• Senate

• House of Representatives

  Senate + House of Reps. = Congress.
What role do citizens play in a
Citizens take part in making
 laws and choosing leaders.
Why would the writers of the
Preamble to the Constitution
think it was important to live
          in peace?
Americans had just fought the American
 Revolution and wanted to there to be
 peace in their new country.
Why did early leaders write the
The nation needed a better plan of
      government than it had.
Enough with the review already…
        Let’s move on!

        Limits on Government

              Main idea:
  The Constitution puts limits on the
        government…but why?
 The authors of the Constitution
  created a government with 3
       branches because…
     They wanted to make sure the
    government’s powers were limited!!

No single person or branch has the power
      to run the United States alone.
What would happen if one branch
became stronger than another?
    It won’t…but why?
    Checks and Balances!!!
This keeps all 3 branches of government
  from gaining power over each other !!
  Open your book to P. 44
Notice the diagram showing some of the
    ways each branch of our national
 government can check the power of the
             other 2 branches

           Pretty cool huh?
       The Federal System
 The U.S. has 3 branches of government.

We also have 3 levels of government.
• National
• State
• Local
    Let’s talk about the national
      government’s (Federal)
      The U.S. President is in charge
• Defending our country
• Printing money
• Running the Post Office
• Regulating trade between states
National government has power over issues
         that affect the whole country.
             State Government’s
         The state’s Governor is in charge

•   Sets up schools
•   Organizes local government
•   Runs elections
•   Regulates trade within the state

    State government has power over issues that
               affect its individual state.
    Responsibilities shared by both
    national and state governments

•   Collect taxes
•   Pass laws
•   Set up courts
•   Borrow money

• When a federal law and a state law do not
   agree, the federal law must be obeyed!
           Local Government’s

      The City’s Mayor is in charge

• Provide police and fire protection
• Run public schools and libraries (with help
  from state.)
• Provide public transportation
• Collect sales and property taxes
           Let’s Review
Why did the authors of the constitution
   create checks and balances and a
            federal system?
         The answer is…
To limit the power of the government and
        the branches of government.
Why did the Constitution set up a
        federal system?
          The answer is…
So that both the national government and
    the state governments have powers.
 What law has more authority
 when there is a disagreement
between federal and state law?
       The answer is…
         The federal law!

The Constitution makes federal laws
     stronger than state laws!!!
Changing the Constitution
     Can it be done? Yes!

      Hmmm…but how?
  To make an amendment to the
Two-thirds of the members of the House of
   Representatives and the Senate must
         agree with the amendment.
 Three-fourths of the states must ratify (or
     officially accept) the amendment.
      Good stuff to know…
The authors of the Constitution knew the
 U.S. would grow and change. So, they
   included a way to add amendments
      (changes) to the Constitution.

People wanted the U.S. Constitution to list
 the rights of its citizens. Thomas Jefferson
   wanted a bill of rights “to guard people
       against the federal government.”
        James Madison wrote
          the bill of rights.

In 1791, the 10 amendments known as the
  Bill of Rights were ratified (accepted).
Who wrote the Bill of Rights?
     Hint: His initials are J.M.
           James Madison

Can you identify the following amendments
          within the bill of rights?

           First Amendment?
           Fifth Amendment?
           Tenth Amendment?
          First Amendment
• Freedom of speech

• The right to assembly peacefully

• Freedom of religion
          Fifth Amendment
• No person shall be forced to be a witness
  against himself.

             I plead the 5th!!!
         Tenth Amendment
• The powers not delegated to the United
  States by the Constitution, nor prohibited
  by it to the states, are reserved to the
  states respectively, or to the people.

      Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout!
       What’s up with that?
In 1790, the Constitution did not protect the
    rights of ALL Americans. Thousand of
   African Americans remained in slavery.
  Some states allowed only WHITE MEN to
      vote. The rights of women, African
   Americans, American Indians, and poor
        people were NOT recognized!
  Changes made since then…
Ideas about democracy have changed, and
  the Constitution has changed with them.
             And aren’t we glad!!

Different groups have fought for their rights
                 and WON!!
   Can you name some of the changes?
            Let’s Review…
• The federal government is divided into:

  – Legislative branch
  – Executive branch
  – Judicial branch
    Checks and Balances…

Checks and balances keep any one branch
       from becoming too powerful.
      There are three levels of

• Federal (President)

• State (Governor)

• Local (Mayor)

The Constitution divides power between the
     federal government and the states.

The Constitution can be changed by

Why does the Constitution include a way to
           make amendments?

The Constitution includes a way to make
amendments so changes can be made as
    the country grows and changes.
   Chapter 2 Lesson 2

           The End.

See how much smarter you are…?

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