13 Things you HAVE to know about the U.S. Constitution

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The first American Constitution. They were ratified (approved) in 1781, and were in effect during the Revolution. States had more power than the national government, leading to problems in including a poor economy and weak nation defense (during the Revolution, there was rarely enough money to supply or pay the army).

The Articles of Confederation.

The first ten amendments to the Constitution.

The Bill of Rights.

When was the Bill of Rights ratified?

1791

What does a Bill of Rights do?

It protects the right of the people.

Protects our freedom of speech, press, assembly, petition, and religion.

1st Amendment

Protects the people from "unreasonable" searches. Police must have a warrant.

4th Amendment

Guarantees "due process" rights - to an attorney, to have any charges made public, to not have to testify against yourself, and to not be tried for the same thing twice (no double-jeopardy).

5th Amendment

Guarantees our right to a speedy trial by jury.

6th Amendment

Prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment."

8th Amendment

A formal written change to a document, such as the Constitution.

An amendment.

3 branches of government:

Legislative, executive, and judicial.

The Congress, made up of the House Representatives and the Senate, and it passes laws.

Legislative branch

The President and Vice President, and is responsible for enforcing laws.

Executive branch

The court system, with the Supreme Court the highest court in the land, and it settles disputes and review laws to make sure they are enforced fairly.

Judicial branch

How can the Constitution be amended?

1. 2/3 bote of both houses of Congress
2. Approval of 3/4 of the states legislatures

Which amendment established voting rights for blacks and when?

The 15th Amendment in 1870

When were women granted to right to vote and by which amendment?

In 1920 by the 19th Amendment.

When was the voting age changed to 18 and by which amendment?

In 1971 by the 26th Amendment.

Five goals of the Constitution:

Establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.

Five main principals of the Constitution:

Popular sovereignty (the people rule), limited government (limits on the power of the governments), federalism (sharing power between the national government and the states), separation of powers (keeping all the power from the hands of one branch or person), and checks and balances (each branch can "check," or veto, the other two).

Process of becoming a law:

1. Bill must first be approved by a majority of both houses of Congress
2. Must not be vetoed (by the Pres.)

If a law is vetoed, what can happen?

The Congress can override that veto with a vote of 2/3 of both houses.

A law that is challenged as ______________, is reviewed by the ____________________.

Unconstitutional; Supreme Court

A Constitution

Rules or guidelines that government must follow in governing - not a lost of laws.

How many amendments are there to the Constitution?

27 amendments

How long did it take for the 27th Amendment to ratify?

203 years

Who, and only who, can declare war?

Congress

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