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The Constitution of the United States is the Supreme Law of the Land

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tee? Can you give an example in which one person has all the authority?

Is there opportunity for authority in every group to which you belong? Are you a leader in any one of these groups? Why do we need many good leaders in a democratic country?

3. Why should every good citizen in this country know something about government groups? Try to make a list of the reasons why you should study national, State, and local political groups.

4. Locate your State on the outline map in Figure 2. What reasons can you give for wanting your State to have a government of its own?

Some more words which the student should understand:

ambassadors the highest-ranking persons sent by one nation to
represent it officially in dealing with other nations.
argued gave reasons in favor of or against.
arguments-reasons in favor of or against.

article-a particular part of a writing consisting of two or more

articles-written or printed statements of facts or reasons.
assenting-agreeing, or voting "yes."

Bill of Rights-an official statement of basic rights belonging
to the people of a nation.

capital-place for the headquarters of the Government.

checks and balances-ways in which each principal branch of the National Government can prevent one of the other two branches from acting too fast or becoming too powerful (fully explained in a later chapter).

circulated-passed around to people.

common defense-acts for protecting all the people of a country. compact-an official agreement.

complicated-with several parts so woven together as to be hard to understand.

concurrent powers-powers which the Nation and any State may use at the same time.

consuls-officers who represent a nation in business matters in a foreign city.


convinced-satisfied by argument.

deliberately-acting only after careful thought.

dissenting-voting "No."

domestic tranquillity-peace at home or in the community. electors-persons chosen by the voters to meet and select a President and a Vice President for the United States. establishment-setting up, putting into effect. explicit explained very clearly.

favorable for instead of against.

Federal-based on an agreement between equal States.

Federal System-the central government working in agreement

with State governments. fraud-trickery.

guaranteed-made safe or certain. justice-absolute fairness.

legal-in agreement with law, or connected with law.

liberty of conscience-freedom to think what you believe is right. monument-something large and fine, built or kept up to remind us of some person or past event.

oppression cruel use of authority or power.

population-people living in some particular place or area. posterity—our children and their children, and so on; our descendants.

Preamble-an opening statement.

press, the-anything printed and offered to the public, such as newspapers, magazines, or books. prohibited-forbidden, not allowed. promote-bring or force forward.

public ministers-high officials sent by one nation to represent it in dealing with another nation; lower in rank than ambassadors.

published-printed and offered to the public.

ratified-accepted and made official.

recognize-accept with approval.

republican form of government-a government by leaders who get their authority straight from the people.

reserves-saves especially for a purpose.

resolution-statement of an official group adopted by vote. sentence-several words used together which express a complete


submitted-passed on to someone else for action or assent. sufficient enough.

temporary-lasting only a short time.



How Our Constitution Has Grown

"The greatness of the Constitution lies partly in its method of development, by formal and informal means, according to the needs of the people."

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In our last chapter we learned how the 13 States ratified the Constitution and accepted the new National Government. But no form of government is likely to remain unchanged for 150 years. Times change, and the people and their needs change. The Fathers of the Constitution provided for the development of our Constitution so it could serve these changing needs. By "development" we mean an advance to meet new needs. Let us consider how our Constitution develops.



The Fifth Article of the Constitution provides two different ways in which changes can be proposed to the States and two different ways in which States can approve such changes and make them a part of the Constitution. These four ways (which are the rules by which such formal changes can be made) are shown in Figure 18. In the first place, (1) the United States Senate and House of Representatives may each decide, by a favorable vote of twothirds of those present, that a proposed amendment shall be approved and sent to the States for adoption. (2) If, on the other hand, the legislatures of two-thirds of the States apply to the Congress for an amendment, the Congress must call together a national convention to discuss and prepare such an amendment. In case either step (1) or (2) is taken, the consent of three-fourths of all the States must be gotten before the proposed change actually becomes

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