Monday, May 25, 2015

The Constitution: Article II

The Executive Branch This link explains the second article of the constitution.

This article explains how the president is selected through the electoral college. The electoral college is a group of people elected by the states equal to the combined number of representatives and senators in congress. The president is elected by these members, however  he needs 270 of the votes in order to become a president. Otherwise, the house of representatives select who the president will be. This is called indirect democracy. We do not choose our president directly

The president and vice-president are elected at the same time and serve a 4 year term, for a maximum of two terms. In order to become eligible candidates must be natural born of the US, have lived in the US for fourteen years and be at least 35 years old. The president salary is set by Congress and cannot be modified during the term. Before assuming office the president must swear:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Among the presidential powers, the president is commander in chief of the armed forces, he negotiates treaties and nominates justices of the supreme court. At the same time he runs executive agencies and has the power to pardon any person. Regarding signing laws and treaties, it is necessary to have a super majority agreement, that is at least two thirds of the congress must agree with the new law. This concept relates to check and balances. The president also has implied powers, that is, he can perform actions that are not stated in the constitution but that still can be legally performed.

If the president has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, he can be impeached and judged by Congress. In Congress he would need a super majority  of two thirds in order to be removed from office. In the past only three presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Constitution: Article 1, Section 8: Powers of the Congress

System of Government: The Constitution Article 1

This is a great video that explains the 10 sections of article 1.

In addition, you can read the legislative branch of the constitution with the interpretation from

Congress is in charge of passing laws, however there is a process that they must follow. Congress is divided in two houses, or what is knows as the Great Compromise or Connecticut Compromise. Basically, it states that there must be a house of representatives and a senate. Both houses get paid via the US Treasury.

The House of Representatives holds the power of impeachment. The members are chosen every two years by voters. The number of representatives is based on the population of the states. However, in 1929 it was established that 435 members should compose the house. In order to be eligible, members must be 25 years old, they must reside in that state and be citizens of the United States for at least seven years.

The Senate among others is responsible for conducting the trial if there is an impeachment case. The Vice-president is the president of the senate. The senate has 100 members, two senators from each state. The senators are elected by voters of their state and may see for unlimited number of six years term. Senatorial elections are held of a staggered basis, so that one third is elected every two years. 

The powers of the congress are clearly stated in the constitution, in general, they are in charge of: 1) Lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises 2) Pay and make national debt 3) Provide for the common defense and federal welfare of the US Although the congress is in charge of passing laws, any proposed legislation must be passed by both the house of representatives, the senate and be approved by the president.

So what did you find interesting?

Principles of American Democracy: The Constitution Preamble

Read the preamble of the constitution and the interpretation of Linda Monk and Annenberg Classroom.

While you read, you can take notes that will help you to remember important facts. The supreme law of the United States is the Constitution. The idea of self government is in the first three words of the constitution: We the People. The constitution sets up and defines the government as well as ensuring the protection of the basic rights of Americans.

Session 1: Introduction

Objective of this Blog

The objective of this page is to share and collect study materials for the US civics test for naturalization.