Chapter 3: The Constitution
The Constitution was created more
than 200 years ago to establish a stable government and the
rights to which all U.S. citizens are entitled, yet few people
know and understand it. Chapter 3 provides an outline of the
Constitution and discusses how it affects citizens.
Section 1 introduces the
basic structure of the Constitution. Key terms for understanding
the Constitutionsuch as article, jurisdiction, supremacy
clause, amendment, popular sovereignty, separation of powers,
checks and balances, veto, and judicial revieware discussed.
The founders wanted to prevent any one branch of the government
from obtaining too much power.
Section 2 deals with the
three branches of government and how they work together. The
Constitution gives specific powers to each of the three branches
in order to prohibit any one branch from enjoying too much
power. Each of the three branches maintains some control over
the other two. The three branches of government are the legislative
(lawmaking) branch, the executive (presidential) branch, and
the judicial (legal) branch.
Section 3 introduces the
amendment process. The Constitution was designed to adapt
to the changing times while still preserving the basic forms
and principles of government. Amending the Constitution involves
proposing the amendment on a national level and ratifying
it on state level. In order for an amendment to be approved,
it must be ratified by a three-fourths majority of the states.
Section 4 deals with the
amendments of the Constitution and explains their importance.
Key terms such as probable cause, search warrant, arrest warrant,
due process of law, eminent domain, and lame duck are introduced.
When the Constitution was first approved, the Bill of Rights,
or first ten amendments, only applied on the national level;
however, through Supreme Court rulings almost all of its provisions
now apply to the states.