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We the People U. S. Constitution - Checks and Balances
"Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. James Madison, Federalist Paper 51,

Read - After the Imperial Presidency, by Jonathon Mahler. New York Times Magazine. November 7, 2008.

Watch - CSPAN Washington Journal Executive Power After Bush Administration, November 13, 2008 interview of the author.

1. Review the U.S. Constitution.

Pres Leg Judicial
Create a chart/table that shows which powers were given to each branch of government.

2. What is the current status of these powers?

What changes have been made to the powers of each branch of government?


3. In the article, Mahler writes, "As a senator, Richard Nixon — of all people — criticized President Truman’s frequent invocations of executive privilege."

What is the concept of executive privilege?

How did President Nixon use it?

Identify 3 other Presidents who have invoked executive privilege.

You decide. Was it appropriate or not?


4. Essay: Write a 5 paragraph essay

Is it time for the Legislative Branch restore the balance with the power of the President?


"The ultimate authority ... resides in the people alone." James Madison


Constitutional Topic: Checks and Balances | The Separation of Powers

Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789 - Library of Congress

The Charters of Freedom - National Archives

Presidential Signing Statements - The American Presidency Project

Dig Deeper - What is meant by "unitary executive theory"?


"All power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people. That government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty and the right of acquiring property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their government whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purpose of its institution." James Madison

Constitution Bill Of Rights Elections & Voting

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posted 11/2008 In the spirit of Thomas Paine - released to public domain by Cynthia J. O'Hora

Aligned with the following Pennsylvania Academic Standards - Reading, Writing Speaking, History, Civics and Government, Mathematics, Civics, Science and Technology. Aligned with the National Standards for Civics and Government

tree icon Save a tree - use a Digital Answer Format - Highlight the text. Copy it. Paste it in a word processing document. Save the document in your folder. Put your name and the date in a header. Answer on the word processing document in a contrasting color (not yellow) or font (avoid symbol, blackmore, brodfont dear or other ornate artistic fonts). Save frequently as you work. I do not like losing mine. You will not like it either. Submit your response via a class drop box or email. Bad things happen: Save a copy of your work on your computer. Proof read your responses. It is funny how speling errors and typeos sneak in to the bets worck.smiling icon

Or perhaps you have the resources to record verbal answers. If you do, be sure to first read / record the question. Then record the answer immediately after it.

How To: Make your own printed answer sheet.