Midterm Study Guide
Midterm Study Guide GVPT 170
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This 18 page Study Guide was uploaded by Tamara Soleymani on Friday October 14, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to GVPT 170 at University of Maryland - College Park taught by Professor Stella Rousse in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 329 views. For similar materials see Intro to American Government in Government & Politics at University of Maryland - College Park.
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Date Created: 10/14/16
GVPT 170 Intro to American Government Midterm Ch. 1 Two key questions: 1. What good is politics in helping people solve their problems? 2. Do institutions matter, and if yes, how? Politics is where we reconcile preferences and reach agreements (even if disagree on intended goal of action) Reconciling preferences represents the fundamental problem of governance. What can we do? o Unstructured negotiations rarely lead to acceptable results for all parties Requires too much time and effort Fear of reneging may foster suspicion and lead even so far as civil war Complicated by more people and divisiveness o Create structured negotiations through institutions Creation of institutions is fundamentally a product of politics Collective Action Problems Coordination Problems o members must decide individually what they want and what they will contribute and how to coordinate with others o increases with size of group o Emerges from uncertainty and insufficient info o Group may agree on course of action, but need organization to achieve it o Solutions: simple, selfenforcing rules focal point to target energies toward a common purpose Prisoner’s Dilemma o Arises when individual decides it's better to take individual reward and undermine the collective effort o Only when each party is confident that the other will live up to an agreement, can they successfully break out of the dilemma and work to their mutual advantage o Unless each side can trust the other to abide by its commitments, they will not achieve a mutually profitable exchange. o when sides would benefit from cooperating have a powerful and irresistible incentive to exploit the other side and break agreement o ex: golden balls show o Solutions: make defection expensive Create institutions that guarantee agreements are honored Free Riding o form of the prisoner’s dilemma that afflicts large groups is the freerider problem o don’t contribute to group, but still enjoy benefits of the collective effort o Why does anyone contribute to a collective enterprise? Intrinsic reward, even if contribution is minor But most still free ride o Ex: collective study guides no one adds to o Solutions: Private inducements Tragedy of the Commons o Resembles freeriding in that the provision of a public good is divorced from its consumption o Freeriding emphasizes the individual avoiding contributing, while t of c is where individuals’ costless consumption of public goods leads to its ruination o Ex: environmental issues o Solutions: Regulation (e.g. limit access, enforcement) Privatization Costs of Collective Action Collective action offers participants benefits they can’t achieve on their own The key: system must achieve benefits of collective action while minimizing its costs Two kinds of costs that are especially relevant for designing and evaluating institutions are: transaction costs and conformity costs o Transaction costs: The time, effort, and resources required to compare preferences and make collective decisions o Conformity costs: the extent to which a collective decision obligates participants to do something they prefer not to do Difference between what party prefers and what collective requires Losers parties whose preferences receive little accommodation These costs tend to be inversely related The spectrumdictatorship to democracy Designing Institutions to Achieve Collective Action Best solution for costs associated w/ collective action: o Depends on needs Worried about too much gov't control: make high transaction costs and require consensus collective decisions Need quick response? Minimize transaction costs Delegation occurs when politicians authorize people to make decisions on behalf o Favored solution to controlling transaction costs Principals – those w/ decisionmaking authority, may delegate their authority to agents, who then exercise it on behalf of the principals (e.g. EPA, IRS, FCC) Problems w/ delegation: o Interests may not be served completely o Agency loss discrepancy between what principals want and what agents actually do Can be accidental or as result of different beliefs How can a principal determine if an agent is faithful? o Takes time and effort o Whistleblowers, monitors/inspectors Fundamental Questions: o How much authority can citizens safely surrender in achieving their collective goals? o When does delegation become abdication and invite tyranny? o Madison: In framing a government, 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. Delegation example: representative gov’t o Representative gov't blends delegation w/ majority rule o Elected politicians professionals who specialize in collective decision making Politicians behave strategically when they subordinate their preferences or what is best for constituents so they can be successful Designing Institutions: U.S. Constitution Founders understood that the nation’s previous failures (Articles of Confederation) stemmed from politics and political institutions To solve the nation’s pervasive collective action problems, the Framers designed a new government that balanced transaction and conformity costs BUT Madison was worried about tyranny by the majority. o While majority rule is visibly present in the framework, it is also constrained by some powerful rules Ex. Veto, separation of powers, checks and balances, etc Ch. 2 Preface to The Constitution Serious collective action problems: o American Revolution in near collapse in 1780 o The Continental Congress Lacked decision making authority Decisions of consequence had to be approved by all state gov'ts Couldn't even get available supplies to troops Could not compel states to contribute resources when needed National gov't couldn't coordinate states' actions o General Washington urged for more gov’t control of efforts o Battle of Yorktown 1781 French gave support and money to help defeat England Helped US overcome collective action problem Why was America so well suited to be the first democracy? o Geography Distance limited Britain's control o America enjoyed home rule (selfgovernance) British made Americans responsible for managing domestic affairs Elected their own leaders and held politicians accountable Strains upon home rule: o Trigger: end of French and Indian war that drained Britain British citizens were most heavily taxed in world Colonists forced to help pay Every revenue law after contained provisions that tightened control over colonies and violated home rule Stamp act Most aggressive challenge to home rule Taxed all printed and commercial goods Responses to Stamp Act: o Colonial assemblies passed resolutions demanding repeal of the tax "no taxation w/out representation" o assemblies sent delegates to a national conference o colonists responded w/: boycotts Boston Tea Party Sons and Daughters of Liberty Strains upon home rule cont’d: o Escalation: Britain responded w/ restraining acts and coercive acts Closed port of Boston to all commerce Dissolved Massachusetts assembly Quartering act o The other colonies were aware of the situation and met in late 1774 in Philadelphia for what became the First Continental Congress Served as nucleus of national representatives for next decade, but didn’t establish a national gov’t as suggested by Ben Franklin => creation of “committees of observation” Second Continental Congress o By the time Second Continental Congress met (Spring 1775), war had broken out: Needed coordination to respond in war o They quickly instructed the conventions to reconstitute themselves as state gov’ts based on republican principles Adopted bicameral legislatures and created gov'ts w/ limited authority o Issued first national bonds and established a natural currency Declaration of Independence: January 1776: Common Sense by Thomas Paine calls for independence (idea not considered before) June 1776: Henry Lee calls for creation of new nation separate from Britain A number of Jefferson’s listed grievances were removed from the declaration July 4, 1776: each member of the second continental congress signed the document America’s First Constitution The articles of confederation o With independence need to create a new government Articles are de fact constitution until ratification in 1781 First gov't was a confederation a highly decentralized governmental system in which the national gov't derives limited authority from states rather than directly from citizenry Articles transferred power from the continental congress to the new permanent congress o Provisions of the articles: Delegates sought to replicate home rule they had lost. Major laws needed 9/13 states to agree National authority was so circumscribed that delegates saw little purpose for an executive or judiciary o Problems in conduct of the war under the articles: States wouldn't give the gov't sufficient authority and thus were responsible for recruiting troops and outfitting them for battle => shirking Congress attempted to coordinate the state regiments into a single fighting force, could borrow $, but not tax => no guarantee for gov't bonds No administrative branch, congress had to do all the work o After the war the nation had new problems: War torn economy Trade barriers at home and abroad Mounting debt Popular discontent Tldr: states can't cooperate > major problems > second continental congress fails America’s Second Constitution Philosophical Influences o John Locke (16321704) popular sovereignty Citizen's delegations of authority to their agents in gov't, w/ ability to rescind that authority o Isaac Newton (16421727) Laws of physical reactions was analogous to social relations o Charles, Baron de Montesquieu (16891755) Limited gov't, powerful idea that best gov't can be designed o David Hume (17111776) Competition among contending interests o James Madison (as a political philosopher) Vices of political system of the US Virginia vs New Jersey Plans o Virginia Plan Madison's blueprint introduced by Edmund Randolph Bicameral legislature: Members of lower chamber for state voted by citizens Lower chamber elects members of upper chamber from list generated by state legislature and elect national executive and judiciary Resembled parliamentary system of future, national gov't could veto any state law it regarded as unfit If state failed to fulfill legal obligation, national gov't could use military force against it High conformity costs for the states => inflamed the opposition Many saw it as too powerful (despite the check Madison incorporated) Check = council of revision, but chosen by legislature Opposition grew from 2 dir: Less populous states b/c less representation than under the articles States' rights delegates b/c worried about sovereignty o New Jersey Plan 2 groups opposing Virginia plan came up with this proposed by William Paterson in response to Virginia plan Perpetuated the composition and selection of congress as it functioned under the articles, gave congress power to tax Single house chamber, equal representation for each state regardless of population Plural executive On petition of majority of states executive can be removed Tldr: power lies in the people The Great Compromise o Each side got one of two legislative chambers fashioned to its liking Upper chamber (senate) Equal representation for each state 6 year terms House of representatives Population based As extra compromise it has the sole authority to originate revenue legislation, declare war, and borrow $ Unanimity replaced w/ majority o Article 1 sec 8 extended authority of national legislature Commerce clause Necessary and proper clause Allowed for expansion of federallevel power in the future o Madison wasn't happy b/c if state legislatures could congress through hold on senate they could also corrupt the entire national gov't through congress's power to select other offices Need for insulation to contain the senate's effort to subvert national policy Argues for separation of powers between branches The Executive o State executives were purposely weak b/c of experiences w/ tyrants in England o To achieve an independent executive that could not abuse its authority: Limited scope of presidential responsibilities Attached legislative check to each presidential duty Gave president veto to check legislature Choosing the Executive: Electoral College o Compromise between state righters and nationalists leading to mix of state, congressional, and popular participation o Example of indirect democracy o Each state is awarded as many electors as it has members of House and Senate o The Constitution left it to the states to decide how electors are selected, but Framers generally expected that the states would rely on statewide elections o Today, if any candidate fails to receive an absolute majority (270) of the 538 votes (since 23th amendment granting D.C. electors) in the electoral college, the election is thrown into the House of Representatives o Twelfth Amendment corrected the most egregious flaws of the Electoral College, i.e. instead of two votes for president (with the person with the second most votes becoming vice president) ensuring a distinct casting for both offices The Judiciary o Jurisdiction of resolving disputes between states and nationallevel institutions; supremacy clause (Article VI): national law takes precedence over state laws They did debate over two (minor) questions: Who would appoint Supreme Court justices? Should a network of lower federal courts be created or should state courts handle all cases until they reach the federal court? Results: Appointment and confirmation proceedings split between president and Senate (the states) The extent of the Court’s authority to overturn federal laws and executive actions as unconstitutional – the concept of judicial review – was never quite resolved in the constitutional convention Slavery o Slavery figured importantly in many delegates private calculations, particularly those from the South o One critical point was during the creation of the national legislature: Southern states wanted to count slaves as part of their population, thus giving them more representatives in House, yet these “citizens” had no rights in those states After much debate, the southern states were allowed to count a slave as threefifths of a citizen (The 3/5’s Compromise) o Left much of the issue to future gov’t o Why did the northern delegates give in to the southern ones, which were fewer in number? The need to get then Constitution passed Fear of defection Logrolling – a standard bargaining strategy in which two sides swap support for dissimilar policies: New England accommodated the South and in return the South dropped their opposition to commercial issues that were important to New England 2 guarantees for the South Unrestricted right to continue importing slaves (In end they managed to negotiate a ban on regulation of the slave trade until 1808) The return of runaway slaves residing in northern states Ratification o “The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.” nine=> not requiring unanimous consent) (Constitutions => took power away from state legislatures) o This statement did two important things: it removed the unanimous assent rule of the Articles of Confederation it withdrew authority form the state legislatures, which might have misgivings about surrendering autonomy Amending the Constitution o The methods incorporated in part the desires of both the states’ rights and nationalist delegates o Since its ratification, the Constitution has been amended twentyseven times: o Six additional amendments (including the Equal Rights Amendment) were sent to the states but failed to win the needed number of endorsements o Recent examples of failed proposed amendments include: Restriction of marriage that between one man and one woman “God” is included in the Pledge of Allegiance Ratification: Federalists vs. Antifederalists o By separating government officers into different branches (separation of powers) and giving them the authority to interfere with each other’s actions (checks and balances) they could defend the integrity of their offices: bicameralism popular election presidential veto o Federalists: rhetoric of nationalism o Antifederalists argued that only local democracy could approach true democracy o We pit politicians against each other (using ambition) to keep the people’s agents honest as well as avoid tyranny of the majority Reassured undecided people who worried about tyranny Ch. 3 Point to ponder: Despite the Framers’ efforts to keep the national government out of the states’ business, was it inevitable that so many policies once left to the states are now handled by the federal government? Developing Federalism Federalismhybrid arrangement o Mixes elements of confederation and unitary gov't o Federal system divides authority between 2 levels of gov't Before federalism America tried both of these o Monarchy and articles of confederation Qualifications of Federal System 1 Same people & territories are included in BOTH levels of gov't 2 Nation's constitution protects units at each level of gov't from encroachment by other units a Sets stage for next condition (mutual influence) b independence was missing from articles of confederation and why it failed c Local gov'ts are not separate level of gov't, state grants them whatever independence 2 Each unit is in position to exert leverage over other Evolving Definitions of Federalism 2 distinct forms of federalism o Dual federalism (layer cake) Clear cut division of who rules over what Not what happens irl o Shared/cooperative federalism (marble cake) Powers intersect over many important functions Recognizes that the national and state gov'ts provide services jointly Nationalization has shifted authority away from state gov't and towards national gov't o Dual federalism no longer describes that nature of federalstate relations Federalism is highly dynamic American federalism went from mostly dual to mostly shared Modern problems require joint strategy across states and levels of gov't Transformation of the Senate BUT in 1913 public pressure forced Congress and state legislatures to ratify the Seventeenth Amendment — rising from complaints that individuals were buying Senate seats with bribes to legislators o Removed senators tie to state legislature, diminished prop of federalism th 10 Amendment Offers most explicit endorsement of state authority Despite plain language, it failed to stop national authority b/c of power of supremacy and elastic clauses The Supremacy Clause The provision of the Constitution with the most profound implication for modern American federalism is the supremacy clause in Article VI, Clause 2 National gov't trumps state gov't when both act according to constitution The Elastic Clause The elastic clause (necessary and proper clause) for Congress Put in place to deal with contingencies requiring future national intervention and undermine restrictive purpose of enumerated powers Some powers are broadly stated and thus helped open up state policy to national intervention Interpreting the Constitution Supreme Court resolving disputes and setting precedents – judiciary often as aggressive as Congress in expanding the national authority over the states: o McCulloch vs Maryland (1819) Protected the national gov't from actions of state Established the supremacy of fed gov't and the right of congress to create laws o Gibbons vs Ogden (1824) Only congress possesses authority to regulate commerce Commerce clause o Griswold vs Connecticut (1965) Court held that state prohibition on use of contraceptives violated the inherent right to privacy of residents Imposed bill of rights on states o Roe vs Wade (1973) Ruled that states couldn't impose strict limits on abortions Imposed bill of rights on states Logic of Nationalization Doesn't just occur o Reflects political decisions, competition of interests o Civil war at heart was a conflict of federalism 2 possibilities: o Realities of collective action (problem solving) o Purely political considerations (opportunities for political advantage) State jurisdiction over public goods that fall within its borders offers real advantages: efficiency and responsiveness But once the public good encompasses the larger community, the logic for local control disappears. => exp. Railroads The nationalization of public policy grew out of the requirements of collective action 1 Americans have at times collectively decided to adopt policies of such magnitude and scope that they outstripped the resources of the state 2 States have solicited federal intervention when they cannot solve their problems by working together individually 3 Sometimes it's easier for the majority to work through national gov't than through states Kinds of collective action problems that make states need help of fed gov't: 1. Coordination problems a) Likely b/c of # of states 2 Shirking and reneging a) State must always honor their commitment to sister states b) Can't enter agreements w/out approval of fed gov't c) What holds states accountable to keep agreements? d) Constitution and national laws solve many of these by authorizing the fed gov't to take direct action, raising resources and administering policy 2. Cutthroat competition a) Prompted state officials to lobby Washington to prevent bidding wars 1. Ex. Min wage standards, environmental regulations b Can also occur as states bid against each other for economic reasonsgetting companies to relocate by providing tax breaks and special services c Race to the bottom 1. Cutting back on social services to not become "welfare magnet" b Competition btwn states and performance comparisons Political Strategy Sometimes easier to promote a policy to fed gov't than states o Hard to persuade 50 separate states o A single federal law can change all 50 states at once o National gov't may be more receptive Also the reverse o Nonreceptive fed gov't o Success at state level Preemption federal preemptions impositions of national priorities on the states through national legislation that is based on the Constitution’s supremacy clause Coercive federalism is a form of federalism in which the federal government pressures the states to change their policies by using regulations, mandates, and conditions The Carrot: Federal Grants During last fifty years federal grantsinaid become important part of intergovernmental relations. o Few grants prior to New Deal. Grants more than simply inducements to states to carry out particular programs; they also allow the national government to define these state programs. Block grant: set sum of money; if not all spent, remains in federal treasury. States have little incentive to curb costs. Matching grant: matching sum in relation to state spending on a program; blank check; moral hazard. Medicaid expansion by state lawmakers during flush economy versus their unwillingness to cut during poor economic times (lot of pain for little gain) The Stick: Unfunded Mandates Since 1960s federal government has relied increasingly on rules to pursue policy objectives States required to administer policies they might object to, and they may even be asked to pay for the administration of the policies National government employs four basic methods: 1. Crosscutting requirements 2. Crossover sanctions 3. Direct orders 4. Partial preemption Unfunded Mandates: Crosscutting Requirements Statutes that apply certain rules and guidelines to a broad array of federally subsidized state programs o Example: failure of any state to follow federal guidelines that prohibit discrimination can result in the prosecution of state officials as well as loss of grants. Unfunded Mandates: Crossover Sanctions Stipulations that to remain eligible for full federal funding for one program a state must adhere to the guidelines of an unrelated program. o Congress’s stipulation that federal highway funds be tied to state adoption of a minimum drinking age of twentyone. o Bill restricting sale of soft drinks on school grounds tied to school aid funds Unfunded Mandates: Direct Orders & Partial Preemption Direct orders: Requirements that can be enforced by legal and civil penalties Partial Preemption: Certain federal laws allow the states to administer joint federalstate programs so long as they conform to federal guidelines o if an agency fails to follow the instructions of the federal agencies, the state might lose control of the program Ch. 4 Civil Liberties constitution’s protections from gov’t power or intrusion Civil Rights protections by gov’t power; obligation imposed on gov’t to take positive action on behalf of its citizens Major Obstacles US Constitution o Reserves authority to states (states’ rights) o Separation of powers (Southern filibusters) Politics based on selfinterest o Gov’t controlled by “people” not “angels” The Civil War: Apparent Victory for Civil Rights? Missouri compromise of 1820, Wilmot proviso (1846) and compromise of 1850 Wilmot was making an attempt to stop the spread of slavery westward o Even though proposal was voted down it contributed to NorthSouth Tensions (sectionalism) Dred Scott v Stanford o Descendants of slaves can’t be citizens o Fed gov’t can’t control slavery o US supreme court’s worst decision Civil War Amendments o 13th (formal emancipation) o 14th (granted citizenship) o 15th (guaranteed right to vote) Jim Crow Laws Democrats focused efforts on disenfranchising Blacks o Institutionalized segregation o Established oneparty political system Electoral laws limit Blacks from voting o White primary o Poll tax o Literacy tests o Grandfather clauses to protect poor and illiterate whites Plessy v Ferguson o Separate but equal doctrine The Shift FDR's new deal and Great Depression o Rooting out racial discrimination in the distribution of relief aid o Appointed over 100 black administrators o Justice department revives its civil liberties division The Civil Rights Movement NAACP's litigation strategy o Smith vs Allwright eliminated white primary laws o Brown vs board of education of Topeka trumps the Plessy decision Civil Rights Act of 1957 o Focus: voting rights o Bring suit against states that were denying the right to vote Strategy shifted from litigation to mass protests (1960's) o Rosa Parks and Montgomery bus boycott o Sit ins o Collective action brought need for leadership; emergence of MLK o Strategy of nonviolent resistance Birmingham Demonstration o In Birmingham used dogs and firehoses on peaceful protests Civil Rights Act of 1964 o Authorized the national gov't to end segregation in public edu &accommodations o Start of democratic party as the blackfriendly party it is today Voting Rights Act of 1965 o Authorizes federal suspension of states' voting discrimination (literacy tests, etc) and federal officers to register voters directly o States that were known to be bad had to obtain clearance from justice dept before changing electoral laws The South's Realignment US political phenomenon of the 20th century While Democrats had established the South as a oneparty state since end of reconstruction, northern democrats became increasingly liberal G.O.P. saw an opportunity to resurrect themselves in the South actively seeking the conservative white vote Legacies of the Civil Rights Movement Branched out to include women, the elderly, the disabled, homosexuals and virtually every ethnic minority o 1919: Women's rights to vote (19th amendment) o 1967: age discrimination in employment act o 1990: Americans w/ disability act o 2015: Obergefell v Hodges (samesex marriage) Controversy over how to make up for past discrimination o Affirmative action Should the exact same civil rights belong to racial minorities, women, and homosexuals? Are there distinctions justifying differential legal procedures? Ch. 5 Civil Liberties Constitutional and legal protections from gov't Questions about technology and civil liberties Reigning in Majorities The og constitution didn't address civil liberties o Framers believed bill of rights wasn't needed if gov't was designed right o Others believed that listing rights in constitution might imply that the gov't had power to restrict freedoms not expressly protected o Antifederalists saw need for bill of rights as a firewall against potential tyranny of strong gov't Framers understood that civil liberties policy would check majority preferences First amendment "congress shall make no law", which covers 6 areas of personal/political liberties o No law respecting establishment of religion o No law regarding free exercise of religion o Freedom of speech o Freedom of the press o Freedom of the assembly o Freedom to petition gov't National majorities will be constrained in fixing national policy Judiciary predicted to be guardians of civil liberties Inclusion of bill of rights Ratification 14th amendment Supreme court interpreting 14th amendment Clear and absolute language of bill of rights offers little latitude to politicians who might want to change its constitutionally protected liberties, none are absolute o Some not as clear cut History of civil rights = emphasizes capacity of majorities to control policy History of civil liberties = US republic whose institutions are designed to temper passions of majority Bill of rights designed to limit capacity of nation
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