American Citizenship Handbook
Welcome to the greatest country in the world!
Hello Future Citizen!
Why does America have so many individual states?
The Constitution of the United States of America
The Preamble of the Constitution
In order to form a more perfect union
This principle in the Preamble states that the country needs to be more unified and not split apart as they were before. The government is hoping that the Constitution will hopefully create union and happiness between the country and the states.
This Principle means that the country needs to set up a system of fair and equitable laws. It also means that people that don’t follow the laws need to be punished fairly. It ensures that all US citizens are ensured to be protected as to life, liberty, and property and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Insure domestic tranquility
Insuring domestic tranquility means that the government has to be able to smooth tensions between states and prevent rebellions. It also means that the government needs to keep us safe through services such as police, fire, and hospitals. So no one can come into our houses and steal our personal belongings.
Provide for the common defense
This principle means that the states will come together in one union. Before the Constitution, each state had their own army. Now what the constitution is saying is that the states will be in union with one national army defending the country.
Promote the general welfare
Promoting the general welfare means doing whats best for our country. This includes public safety and promoting health. These are responsibilities of the Federal Government.
Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity
Potential Problems with Federalism
What are the obligations or responsibilities of a US citizen?
Illinois Government Branches
Legislative Branch- The legislative branch of the Illinois government is like the legislative branch of the federal government, but at a smaller degree. They have a senate and a house of representatives. there are 59 senators and 118 representatives. There is one senator elected from each legislative district, and 2 house members elected from each legislative district. They vote on laws and make sure everyone in the executive branch is following the Constitution.
Judicial Branch- The judicial branch has three courts: The supreme court, appellate, and the circuit courts. There are 7 justices on the Supreme court, 52 judges for the Appellate courts, and unified trial courts.
Each branch of government can limit the powers of the others. For example, the legislative branch can impeach executive officers, executive officers can appoint judges, and the judicial branch can make sure that everything everyone is doing is constitutional.
How do laws pass?
The House votes on a bill first. If they get a 2 thirds vote then the bill goes to the Senate. If the Senate gets a two thirds vote, then the bill is passed along to the President. He can then veto or uphold a bill, making it a law or sending it back to Congress.
What is an impeachment?
An impeachment is when the Judicial branch thinks the acts of an executive officer is unconstitutional. The Senate then holds a trial, and if they get a two thirds vote then the executive officer is kicked out of office.
What is the difference between the three courts?
The supreme court tries the biggest crimes or issues. They also judge the actions of people in the legislative and executive branches. The Appellate court hold trials such as when someone is suing someone. The circuit court holds more local issues such as driving accidents.
“FEDERALISM: Lessons Of Katrina.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 25 Sep. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-pqato7ofw>
“Free Image On Pixabay - Bulldog, Cartoon, Angry, Dog.” Free vector graphic: Bulldog, Cartoon, Angry, Dog. Web. 25 Sep. 2015. <https://pixabay.com/p-309162/?no_redirect>
“Home.” Illinois.gov. Web. 25 Sep. 2015. <http://www.illinois.gov/pages/default.aspx>
“Illinois.” GovTrack.us. Web. 25 Sep. 2015. <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/il>
“Infographic: 3 Branches Of the U.S. Government - KIDS DISCOVER.” Kids Discover. Web. 25 Sep. 2015. <http://www.kidsdiscover.com/infographics/infographic-3-branches-of-the-u-s-government/>
“Legislative Branch.” Government. Web. 25 Sep. 2015. <https://www.illinois.gov/government/pages/legislativebranch.aspx>“Six Principles Of the US Constitution.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 25 Sep. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgh1jdv9b5w>