Podcast #1: Articles of Confederation

Podcast 1: The Federal Government

The Colonies win their independence. (1783)

The only relationship with a strong central Government was one that oppressed them.

1st attempts at Government failed ( Articles of Confederation) it was a weak central government with the bulk of the power lying with the states.

-written in 1777, passed 1781 Interstate conflict – Shays Rebellion – over taxes and trade 1791 Whiskey Rebellion – New Federal Gov’t able to stop it.

Constitution created a Federal System.

Federalism is the sharing of power between the Federal and State Governments Even though power is shared, they are not equal in their power. Supremacy Clause. “No state can pass any law that goes against a Federal Law.

The fear of an oppressive central government led the framers of the Constitution to further place limits on the Federal Government.

Separation of Powers and the System of Checks and Balances

Three Branches of Government – Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches The Executive Branch is the office of the President, V.P., the various federal departments and agencies that the President appoints, and the Senate approves to run the departments. More on this in the second podcast.

2 House or a Bicameral Legislature ( The Great Compromise)

House of Representatives Representation based on each state’s population

Qualifications: 25 yrs old, citizen for 7 years, live in the state they represent

Responsible for a smaller geographic area 2 year term

Entire House is re-elected at the same time Public opinion matters more

Bills that will increase taxes must begin here “No taxation without Representation” Select President if no clear winner in the electoral college

Call for Impeachment begins here

The Senate

2 per state

Qualifications: 30 yrs old, citizen for 9 years, live in state they represent

Represent the entire state 6 year term (staggered terms) 1/3 of Senate is up for re-election every two years (always have a seasoned or experienced senators in the legislative body)

Public opinion matters less – longer terms Approve Presidential appointments & judges Foreign treaties

Senate tries the official during impeachment proceedings.

Both must approve a bill before it becomes a law

Powers of the Legislative Branch

1. Power of the Purse – taxes, coin money, approve the annual federal budget proposed by the President

2. Regulate trade among the states

3. Military drafts, declare war, fund military bases around the world, salary for members of military (different from being Commander in Chief – discuss more in 2nd podcast)

4. Approve members of cabinet / Federal department heads

5. Approve treaties

6. Can call for Impeachment proceedings to remove the President

7. Override a Presidential Veto

Implied Powers – Elastic Clause – power to make all laws Necessary and Proper

Ex: National Bank and Department of Education

Various Committees – Specialize in certain topics – write specific bills. Majority party gets the majority of seats on each committee and controls legislation in a sense.

Ex. Commerce and Trade, Judiciary Committee, Transportation and Infrastructure

The Judicial Branch

Interprets the laws. The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court. The Judiciary Act of 1789 created The Supreme Court and at the time is had 6 justices. Today, there are 9 Justices (1837)

1 Chief Justice

8 Associate Justices

Appointed by the President but approved by the Senate.

Appointed for LIFE

Justices can and have been impeached and removed from office.

Greatest power of The Supreme Court is the power of Judicial Review

Marbury v. Madison 1803 – the ability to declare an act of the President or Legislation Unconstitutional

Thousands of cases are brought to The Supreme Court each year for consideration. They will decide which ones they will hear.

Only The Supreme court can overturn previous Supreme Court case rulings.

Ex. Plessy v. Fergusson & Brown vs. Board of Education

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