The Unwritten Constitution

Constituion Elaboration

-Congressional Legislation to provide further details not laid out in the constitution

- eg: Impeachment and any vague provision such as the necessary and proper clause.

Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were both impeached.

Nixon Resigned

President Practices

  • Executive orders
  • Executive Priviledge
  • Impoundment

Ratification Politics: The Era

  • Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the US or by any State on account of sex” (this did not pass)
  • Demonstrates the difficulties of amending the constitution.

The Constitution is often based in natural law which implies a universal sense of right and wrong, an idea respected by most of the founders.

The following are notable quotes from James Madison:

"If men were angels, no goverment would be necessary"

"You must first enable the goverment to control the goverment and in the next place oblige it to control itself."

  • The idea that goverment should be able to control itself is a belief Madison expoused in fedralist # 51
  • Madison believed that the accumulation of all powers (legislative, executive, and judicial) was the formula for a tyranny. This was expressed in fderalist #47 (fedralist papers)
  • The theory that each branch should be able to stop some of the acts of the others to ensure that no one branch dominates our goverment is know as the system of CHECKS and BALANCES.
  1. apgovernmentnotes posted this