Monarchs ruled the nations of the world when the U.S. Constitution was written in 1787. Some monarchies, such as the one that ruled Great Britain, also had parliaments in which the people and the aristocracy were represented. As parliamentary systems developed, they combined legislative and executive functions, with the prime minister and other cabinet members serving as members of Parliament. This differs sharply from the separation of powers established in our Constitution.
Every society sets rules to live by. Our Constitution established the United States government and determined its relationship with the people and the individual states.
Surveys show that alarming numbers of Americans are unaware of the full extent of their constitutional rights. Some people readily admit that they do not know what rights are included in the Constitution and its first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights. Other Americans have expressed the opinion that the Constitution went too far in granting such rights as free speech and free press and that society should be able to restrict opinions and behavior with which the majority disapproves.
The National Constitution Center site provides classroom resources related to the Constitution as well as civic participation and responsibility, and the executive branch. Online resources include interactive games, videos, webcasts, primary and secondary sources, Constitution Fast Facts, biographies of Constitutional Convention delegates, and the Interactive Constitution guide.
Liberals and conservatives alike have decried “judicial activism,” whenever rulings went against them. Despite these complaints, the Supreme Court has reserved the final word on whether the actions of the executive and legislative branches comply with the Constitution.
A constitution is the basic law and general plan of government or a people within a country. The purposes, powers, and limitations of government are prescribed in the constitution. It thus sets forth the way people are governed or ruled.
Since the Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the Constitution—was adopted in 1791, Congress has passed an additional twenty-three amendments, of which the states have ratified only seventeen. Such statistics indicate the magnitude of difficulty in amending the U.S. Constitution.
This page provides a list of historic sites and museums related to the Constitution, as well as what resources visitors will find at each location.
A constitution is the basic law and general plan of government for a people within a country. The purposes, powers, and limitations of government are prescribed in the constitution. It thus sets forth the way a people is governed or ruled. A constitution is the supreme law of a country. Laws later enacted by the
This video tells the story of the origins of the Magna Carta and explores the two most important principles that it symbolizes: rule of law and due process. Students will learn how the framers interpreted and redefined the rule of law and due process when they created our Constitution.
Realizing that over time the nation would want to make changes to the Constitution, its framers established a process to allow that to happen. Unlike laws and regulations that can be passed by simple majorities in Congress, the Constitution is more difficult to change.
In this lesson students learn about the principles that undergird the Magna Carta and how they have influenced important legal documents. More specifically, students will evaluate the Magna Carta’s impact on the U.S. Constitution.
Annenberg Classroom’s Constitution Project series contains engaging documentaries about landmark Supreme Court cases and constitutional topics. The films, which may be shown in one class period, feature insightful commentary from Supreme Court justices, legal scholars, and the plaintiffs and attorneys in the cases as well as historical footage. Standards-aligned lesson plans accompany the films. Watch this video to learn more about the series and how to use the films in the classroom.
This video tells the story of the origins of the Magna Carta and explores the two most important principles that it symbolizes: rule of law and due process. Students will learn how the framers interpreted and redefined the rule of law and due process when they created our Constitution. And they will understand how those rights have been expanded and protected by the U.S. Supreme Court through two landmark Supreme Court cases: U.S. v. Nixon and Powell v. Alabama.
The first section of the film “Key Constitutional Concepts” examines the creation of the U.S. Constitution and why it was needed. Before viewing the film, students are asked to respond to a key question, which will set a conversation in motion for the whole lesson.
Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Stephen G. Breyer answer questions from students about why we need a written Constitution and what it says about the Supreme Court and its rulings.
Justices Breyer and Scalia debate their different theories on how to interpret the Constitution and how they are applied to cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
This book takes an in-depth look at the Constitution, annotated with detailed explanations of its terms and contents. Included are texts of primary source materials, sidebar material on each article and amendment, profiles of Supreme Court cases, and timelines.
The new Constitution recognized that the debts of the previous government under the Articles of Confederation were still valid. If a state law is in conflict with federal law, federal law must prevail.
The American Presidency- Sponsored by Grolier Online, an educational portal drawing from Grolier’s various encyclopedias, this site provides information about American Presidents, Vice Presidents, Presidential candidates, and Presidential elections.
Unlike the Articles of Confederation, which needed the unanimous consent of the thirteen states to make changes in the structure of the government, the Constitution required ratification by only nine of the states for the new government to go into effect.
The framers of the Constitution can refer alternatively to the 39 signers of the U.S. Constitution or to the 55 delegates present at the Constitutional Convention (16 did not sign). In the Preamble to the Constitution, the framers outlined their general goals: to create a just government and to insure peace, an adequate national defense,
The Constitution is adopted on Sept. 17, 1787. Article I of the Constitution specifies that both the number of members of the House of Representatives from each state and the amount of direct taxes will depend on the number of citizens in each state. Members of the military are included in the count. Since slavery
High school students join Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Anthony M. Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor to discuss why an independent judiciary is necessary.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government sent people of Japanese ancestry to internment camps. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the government’s right to restrict the liberty of these citizens and noncitizens in two cases: Korematsu v. U.S. and Hirabayashi v. U.S.