Be an American!
Celebrate your Citizenship.
Be a part of this great Country.
Learning about America makes you a better American. If you were born here, then you are a citizen. It’s not something you should take lightly. Your ancestors earned you the right to be born here, and your name, and your DNA matter. Your genealogy in your family is part of your family pride. You had parents, and grandparents, and great grandparents who together, built us this great, kind, loving Nation. Together, as a society, we live by a code that governs our people. We help our leaders, by electing a President for the Executive branch, a Senator for the Legislative branch, as well a vote for the House of Representatives. The Judicial branch interprets the Constitution and other laws to help keep society within its rights.
The Preamble helps outline our goals and objectives for this great Country.
We the People of the United States, In order to form a more perfect Union, Establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, Promote the general welfare, And secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, Do ordain and establish this Constitution For the United States of America.
Submitted by Chris Jones, for Mrs. Caenn 1st period History 8th Grade January 2009 Irvine, CA
The Constitution is the basic document that was intended to protect the rights of citizens and defend the country against its enemies.
The federal system of government divides the power between the states and the federal government.
The federal government had delegated powers, among them is the right to coin money and regulate trade. The states reserved powers to create local governments and hold elections. Concurrent powers are shared by both state and federal governments, including taxing, borrowing money and enforcing laws.
The Constitution was written with the ability to grow with the country, giving flexibility to the government and the document in Article 5.
The Legislative Branch is known as Congress. It is divided into the House of Representatives and the Senate, in Article 1 of the Constitution. It makes the laws for the nation. It begins sessions each year in the first week of January. They work in “committees” to study certain types of bills, or suggested laws.
- 435 Members are in the House of Representatives
- The census done every ten years determines how many members represent each state.
- To apply for the job you must be at least 25 years old, live in the state where you were elected, and have been a US Citizen for at least 7 years. You are elected for a 2 year term.
- The Senate has two members or Senators per state. They represent the interests of the whole state. They must be at least 30 years old, a US Citizen for 9 years and live in the state they represent. You are elected to a 6 year term.
The U.S. vice president serves as the president of the Senate but he takes no part in the debates, but can vote to break a tie. Article 3 establishes the Judicial Branch. It is made up of a system of federal courts headed by the US Supreme Court. It is the rights of the Federal Courts to keep an eye on the State Courts.
- District Courts – 94 districts
- Courts of Appeals – 13 courts
- Supreme Court – with 9 justices
The Executive Branch enforces the laws passed by Congress. Article 2 establishes the President and the Vice President position. The President is the head of the executive branch, and the most powerful elected leader in the United States. To be eligible, you must be a native born citizen of at least 35 years of age and a resident of the US for 14 years. You may only serve two 4 year terms.
- Congress passes laws, but the President can approve them or veto them. The president commands the armed forces, but only Congress can declare war.
- Other executive duties include conducting foreign relations and creating treaties, issuing executive orders and granting pardons.
- These three branches of government work together as a checks and balance in our system, where no one branch of government becomes too powerful.
The Bill of Rights is a collection of the first ten Amendments to the Constitution ratified December 15, 1791 adding or clarifying the rights of the citizens. All citizens have rights that should be protected even though we work with a system of majority rules. The first amendment included the following:
- Freedom of Religion
- Freedom of the Press
- Freedom of Speech
- Freedom of Assembly to hold meetings and gather
- The Right to Petition or make requests of the Government
Citizens of America: It is a privilege to be a citizen, and your job to participate in our society! If you were born here, then you are a citizen. It’s not something you should take lightly.
- It is your responsibility to VOTE and be a part of the system.
- If your parents were US Citizens then you are one as well.
- Foreign born people whose parents are not citizens must move to the USA to become naturalized citizens, a long process to become a citizen, after reaching age 18 and being in America for 5 years.
- Legal immigrants have many rights but cannot vote or hold public office.
- They can be deported for breaking laws.
- A citizen must be able to support himself, or someone else must show that they will assume financial responsibility for them.
- You must be law abiding and support the US Constitution.
- You must demonstrate an understanding of written and spoken English.
- You must understand a basic knowledge of US history and government.
- You must take an oath and pledge allegiance to the United States to earn your certificate of naturalization. You can lose your citizenship for bad behavior.
— Be aware, study and learn as much as you can, and VOTE. Obey the law.
— Be a part of the Legal System and perform Jury Duty when possible.
— Be a party of the Community and commit to community service groups.
— Be a part of the Military Service, and defend this Country.
Your feet are here and now. It’s your turn. Many people have come before you to fight for your freedoms. Don’t take them lightly. Be a part of this system, and help make America great!