Read the Preamble to the Constitution
The Six Basic Principles of the
1) Popular Sovereignty
2) Limited Government
3) Separation of Powers
4) Checks and Balances
5) Judicial Review
Powers Delegated or Expressed for the National Government are spelled out in the Constitution. Eg found in Article I
"Congress has the power to tax and to regulate trade".
The National Government has power Implied
through interpretation of the Constitution. Eg the Elastic Clause
Powers that are not granted to the Federal Government are Reserved for the States. Eg License Fees
Powers that are held by both are called Concurrent
Powers. Eg the building of roads, taxes, courts.
Inherent Powers are retained by the
National Government in a world community. Eg A Treaty, acknowledgement of a country.
Article I - The Legislative Branch
Article II - The Executive Branch
Article III- The Judicial Branch
Article IV - The States and the
Article V - Method of Amendment
Article VI - General Provisions
Article VII - The Ratification of the
Amendments - Bill of Rights
Formally Amending the Constitution
Proposal: 2/3 Vote in each house
Ratification: 3/4 State legislatures
(38 states today) 26 Amendments were adopted this way.
Proposal: by Congress
Ratification: by Conventions
of the States. Reason : Public Opinion Eg The 21st Amendment (repeal Prohibition)
Proposal: by a National Convention called by Congress at the request of 2/3
Has never happened but an attempt was made at passing a Balanced Budget Amendment
between 1975-89. 32 states asked for a convention to propose the Amendment requiring
the Budget Amendment. 34 are needed.
Proposed at National Convention and Ratified by 3/4 of the states legislatures.
The Constitution was adopted this way.
Bill 0f Rights
Civil War Amendments
Informally Amending the Constitution
1. Basic Legislation
2. Executive Action
3. Court Decisions
4. Party Practice