By Mary Kelley,2014-05-27 14:58
14 views 0



     Lecture 4 Government and Politics in the US

     The Constitutional Convention

     1787 Philadelphia George Washington preside the meeting To strengthen the Articles of Confederation The Constitution is written for planning the a new form of government for the USA

     Suspicion of Strong Gov't

     Strong Gov't = loss of individual freedom Gov't is a natural enemy of freedom, even if it is a democratically elected one "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." - Thomas Paine Keep control as local as possible

     Organization of American Government

     Organized by the US Constitution Three main branches:

     ?C Executive (President) ?C Legislative (lawmakers) ?C Judicial (courts)

     There is a system of checks and balances, so that no one branch can have too much power States are responsible for their own management

     Read the " Legislative Branch" and discuss in group: Can you describe how American congress is made? How is the power of Congress checked or limited?

     Read the " Executive Branch" and discuss in group: What Can American President do? How is the power of American President checked or limited?

     Read the " Judicial Branch" and discuss in group: How can American Judicial Branch function? How is the power of American Court checked or limited?

     The Legislative Branch


     ?C Senate (2 senators per state) ?C House of Representatives (by population)

     Law and policy maker Collectively called Congress Legislative checks:

     ?C override veto ?C approve and impeach judges and the President

     Senators are elected every 6 years, HofR elected every 2 years This branch controls the federal budget Directly elected by the people

     Checks on the Legislature:

     ?C courts can find laws unconstitutional ?C president can veto

     The Executive Branch

     Executive checks:

     ?C ?C ?C ?C ?C ?C ?C ?C veto nomination of judges Law and policy maker Propose legislation Formulate the foreign policy Issue regulations and directives Commander in chief of the armed forces

Appointment of the heads and senior officials

     The Executive Branch

     Checks on the Executive Branch:

     ?C ?C ?C ?C ?C override of the veto impeachment courts can rule presidential orders unconstitutional Court appointment must be confirmed by the Senate Majority of the federal workers are selected nonpolitically ?C Ambassadors and other officials appointment is subject to Senate approval ?C Treaties with other nations must be approved by 2/3 votes of the Senate

     The Judicial Branch

     Federal and Supreme Court System Judges are appointed for life This branch decides whether the government is operating according to the Constitution

     Judicial checks:

     ?C can rule either the President or the Congress unconstitutional

     Checks on the Judiciary:

     ?C nominated by the President ?C Approved by Senate and impeached by Congress

     Checks and Balance System

     Organization of Government

     Currently, there are two political parties that dominate American politics:

     ?C Republican ?C Democratic

     It is both possible and preferable to have the Executive and Legislative branches controlled by different parties

     Though there is much separation between the three branches, Americans believe that this is a good system Division of power protects individual freedom, and citizens have three different bodies that will listen to their views and needs


     Only one branch of gov't is directly elected by the people The system of checks and balances keeps power even distributed It is the Constitution that tells us how the gov't should be organized

     The Judicial Branch makes sure that the Constitution is being followed, but doesn't create new laws The Congress controls the budget, and both the Legislative and Executive Branches make laws and policies

     The Living Constitution

     The Constitution not only provides the model of how our gov't is organized, it also provides the basis for our individual rights The Bill of Rights The Constitution can be amended (changed) There are 27 amendments to the Constitution

     The Constitution ?C Bill of Rights

     1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of

    speech, or of the press; the the right of the people peaceable to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

     The Constitution ?C Bill of Rights

     2. The right to keep arms 3. The conditional right to be free from quartering 4. Security from unreasonable searches and seizures 5. Security from the exportation of property without just compensation, AND no double jeopardy, AND no selfincrimination

     The Constitution ?C Bill of Rights

     6. Speedy and public trial, AND trial by jury, AND assistance of counsel 7. Jury trial for civil suits 8. Reasonable bail, AND no cruel and unusual punishment

     Main Distinctions between the Republicans and the Democrats


     ?C ?C ?C ?C ?C people's party domestic policy bigger gov't liberal (left) supported by more minorities and women


     ?C business party ?C foreign policy ?C small gov't/states' rights ?C conservative (right)


Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email