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American Government Professor Jones Porter Essay

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JoKeya S. Smith
American Government
Professor Jones-Porter


1. Describe how the U.S. Constitution was formed.

The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. The first three Articles of the Constitution establish the rules and separate powers of the three branches of the federal government: a legislature, the bicameral Congress; an executive branch led by the President; and a federal judiciary headed by the Supreme Court. The last four Articles frame the principle of federalism. The Tenth Amendment confirms its federal characteristics. The Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and ratified by conventions in eleven states. It went into effect on March 4, 1789. The first ten constitutional amendments ratified by three-fourths of the states in 1791 are known as the Bill of Rights. The Constitution has been amended seventeen times (for a total of 27 amendments) and its principles are applied in courts of law by judicial review. The Constitution guides American society in law and political culture. It is the oldest charter of supreme law in continuous use, and it influenced later international figures establishing national constitutions (Foudation, W 2012).

2. Federalism is the system of government that exists in the United States; explain the relationship between the federal and state governmental systems. The U.S. Constitution created a governmental structure for the United States known as federalism. Federalism refers to a sharing of powers between the national government and the state governments. The Constitution gives certain powers to the federal government and reserves the rest for the states. Therefore, while the Constitution states that the federal government is supreme with regard to those powers expressly or implicitly delegated to it, the states remain supreme in matters reserved to them. Federalism is the most influential political movement coming out of discontent with Articles of Confederation, which focused on taking some of the power from the federal government. For example, the Articles gave the Continental Congress the power to sign treaties or declare war, but it was powerless to that because all major decisions were by unanimous vote only. Fifty – five delegates had a meeting in Philadelphia at the Constitutional convention to discuss ideas of a bicameral legislature, checks and balances and to balance representation of small and large states. At this convention they talked about constructing a new Constitution of the United States; once the meeting was over they released the Constitution to the public and the Federalist purpose was to get the Constitution ratified. Those who opposed the new Constitution were known as “Anti- Federalists.” There are three types...

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