Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Our Constitution Notes 10-18-10

Our Constitution and Government
Power to the People!

United States Constitution
• Over 200 years old—the oldest surviving government document in the world!
• It’s the foundation for all our laws. All our laws must follow the guidelines from it.

Does it really matter?
• “We the people…” The Constitution gives the true power of government
to voters!
• The government can have only as much power as we give them. They can have no more.
Reason for Constitution?
• 1) protect (not give) individual freedoms
• 2) trust the people to know what is best for them—not to look to the government to run their lives
Does the Constitution change?
• It can be amended—changed, to ensure that people’s rights are protected.
• One example is the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Levels of government
• Federal—the national government has limited power. It’s headed by the president.
• It can keep a military, tax, pass laws for the whole country
• has limited power and the right to govern its people. It’s headed by the governor. Any power not given to the federal government—such as education—is the responsibility of
the state government.
The state can tax, keep a local military, build roads.
• county and city governments headed by mayors, city councils, and the county courts . It too has limited power.
• It can tax, build local roads, establish a police force, and decide local standards
of decency.

Three Branches of Federal Government—or “Who’s watching you?”
• To make sure no part of the government gets too strong, there are 3 parts that keep an eye on each other. Groovy, Far-out and Fantastic!

Executive—the president
• His job? 1) enforce the law (Constitution)
• 2) head the military, and 3) conducts foreign affairs—or represents us to the rest of the world.

• Please notice! Running the economy is NOT his job! That’s our job, mine and yours!

• Congress is the part of the government that makes laws. There are 2 parts:
• 1) Senate—these guys and gals are in office for six years at a time. There are 100 of them, or 2 from each state.
• 2) House of Representatives—435 of them and they’re in office 2 years at a time.
Judicial—the Supreme Court
• They make sure the laws Congress passes fit the Constitution’s model.
• They’re in there as long as they wish.
And one last point…
• Where do we get our freedom, rights, and liberty?
• The Constitution? The president? The Congress? The Supreme Court?
Behold! Words from the Declaration of Independence!

• We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed (blessed) by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights
• ,
In other words, the government didn’t give them to us, and can’t take them away! Whoop!

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