lecture05.2 - LECTURE NOTES UCLA PS 40 Department of...

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LECTURE NOTES UCLA Department of Political Science Winter 2010 PS 40 Introduction to American Politics Prof. Thomas Schwartz Hunk 5 The Constitution and Whence it Came The Founding Fathers took these steps to create our Constitution: 1777 The Articles of Confederation are proposed. 1781 The Articles of Confederation are ratified. 1786 The Annapolis Convention settles water problems among Potomac states and asks Congress to call a wider convention of states to address problems of governance under the Articles. 1787 Congress does four things: 1. A Congressional committee under Charles W. Pickney III starts revision of the A of C. 2. Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance . 3. Congress calls a Federal Convention to revise the A of C. 4. Congress submits the new constitution to the states for ratification. 1787-1788 The states ratify the Constitution (now with a capital C). Eventually 27 amendments are added. But apart from them the U.S. Constitution consists of a Preamble (We the people …) and seven articles : Article I - Congress Congress, the national legislature, consists of a House of Representatives, with state representation proportionate to state population, and a Senate, in which each state has two votes. The House is popularly elected for two-year terms. The Senate was elected by state legislatures (no longer) for six-year terms, staggered so one-third are chosen every two years. Congress has the 1
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Congress can also regulate commerce and provide for national defense. Article I is most of the Constitution. Article II-Executive There is a President, a chief executive who has the power to command the armed forces, appoint federal officers, and veto legislation. The President is chosen by an electoral college (as it has come to be called), whose members are elected by the states, each state casting as many electoral vote s (as they have come to be called) as it has Representatives and Senators. State law says how electors are chosen - - nowadays by popular vote. Article III-Judiciary Federal judges have life tenure. The Constitution establishes a Supreme Court. Lower-level courts are left for Congress to authorize. Article IV-Interstate Comity Provides for states to get along with each other; for example, they must recognize each others' contracts and other legal acts and extradite suspected criminals and escaped slaves. Article V-Amendments An amendment to the Constitution must be proposed by a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress, or by a convention called by Congress at the behest of two-thirds of the states. It must then be ratified by three-fourths of the states legislatures or ratifying conventions. Article VI-Federal Supremacy
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This note was uploaded on 01/29/2010 for the course POL SCI 40 taught by Professor Schwartz during the Winter '06 term at UCLA.

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lecture05.2 - LECTURE NOTES UCLA PS 40 Department of...

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