Student's Guide to Landmark Congressional Laws on Youth

Student's Guide to Landmark Congressional Laws on Youth

Student's Guide to Landmark Congressional Laws on Youth

Student's Guide to Landmark Congressional Laws on Youth

Synopsis

Though it may seem hard to believe, it took America's lawmakers some 110 years before they crafted legislation aimed at protecting the welfare of children. Eventually, laws were passed to aid and protect children. This ideal student reference examines and explains in detail 20 such laws that have affected America's youth in various ways. A discussion of the history and impact of each law is followed by a carefully edited version of the law itself. Examples include the National School Lunch Act, which provided free or reduced-cost meals to young students; the Uniform Drinking Age Act, which set the national drinking age at 21; the Fair Labor Standard Act, the first successful federal attempt to regulate child labor; and the Selective Service Act, which required young men to register for the draft.

The landmark laws are divided into three parts: Health and Welfare Laws, Citizenship and Democratic Participation Laws, and Education Laws. The laws are organized chronologically within each section. An introductory overview examines the history of children's issues in federal legislation and explores reform movements and the advocacy of children's concerns. The introduction also makes manifestly clear that students are not an unempowered constituency, and have ample opportunities to make their voices heard. A timeline and appendix will also aid student research, making this volume an indispensable guide to America's laws concerning its young people.

Excerpt

Most of the Founding Fathers who met at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 probably anticipated that the legislative branch would be the most powerful of the three branches of the national government that they created. For all practical purposes, this was the only branch of government with which the onetime colonists had experience under the Articles of Confederation. Moreover, the delegates discussed this branch first and at greatest length at the convention, the dispute over representation in this body was one of the convention's most contentious issues, and the Founding Fathers made it the subject of the first and longest article of the new Constitution.

With the president elected indirectly through an electoral college and the members of the Supreme Court appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate and serving for life terms, the framers of the Constitution had little doubt that Congress— and especially the House of Representatives, whose members were directly elected by the people for short two-year terms—would be closest to the people. As a consequence, they invested Congress with the awesome “power of the purse” that had been at issue in the revolutionary dispute with Great Britain, where the colonists' position had been encapsulated in the phrase “no taxation without representation.” The framers also entrusted Congress with the more general right to adopt laws to carry out a variety of enumerated powers and other laws “necessary and proper” to the implementation of these powers—the basis for the doctrine of implied powers.

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