Chapter Two Notes
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Date Created: 01/22/16
PLS 101: Chapter Two The Constitution The Revolutionary Roots of the Constitution: Only 4,300 words long. Written in 1787. It divides government into three branches and describes their powers. Freedom in Colonial America: o European customs that American colonists were free from: Restriction of private property Compelled support for established religion Restricted access to trades and professions Free speech, press, and assembly The Road to Revolution: o British believed that taxing the colonies was the obvious way to finance the costs of administering the colonies. They all did not agree. o December 16, 1773 Boston Tea Party. A mob bombarded 3 ships and tipped off 342 chests of valuable substance. Coercive/Intolerable Acts (1774) their attempt to reassert British control over the colonists. One act imposed a blockade on Boston until the tea was paid for. Another gave royal governers the power to quarter British soldiers in private homes. The first Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in September 1774. Objective: to restore harmony between Great Britain and the American colonies. They elected the leader (president) of the Continental Congress. Revolutionary Action: o Early 1775, the colonists in Massachusetts were fighting the British at Concord and Lexington. o June 7, 1776 Virginia delegation called on the Continental Congress to resolve “that these United Colonies are, and right out to be, free and Independent States, that are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be, totally dissolved.” The Declaration of Independence: o Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson which expressed simply, clearly, and rationally the arguments in support of separation from Great Britain. Underlying principles were rooted in the writings of an English philosopher, John Locke. Suggested that people have God-given/natural rights that are inalienable. Inalienable they cannot be taken away by government. Social Contract Theory the belief that people agree to set up rulers for certain purposes and thus have the right to resist or remove rulers who act against those purposes. People have the right to revolt if they determine that their government is denying them their legitimate rights. From Revolution to Confederation: Republic a government without a monarch; a government rooted in the consent of the governed, whose power is exercised by elected representatives responsible to the governed. o The revolutionaries were less concerned with who would rule the government and more concerned with what the limiting powers of the government were. The Articles of Confederation: one week after Declaration of Independence was signed. o Confederation a loose association of independent states that agree to cooperate on specified matters. States retain sovereignty, which means that each as supreme power within its borders. The central government can only coordinate, not control the actions of its sovereign states. o Articles of Confederation the compact among the thirteen original states that established the first government of the United States. November 15, 1777. Reflected the delegate’s fears of a strong central government. Under the articles, each state had one vote. 9/13 must agree. Articles failed because: They did not give the national government the power to tax. As a result, the congress had to plead for money from the states to pay for the war and carry on the affairs of the new nation. They made no provision for an independent leadership position to direct the government (president only presiding over congress). The colonists feared a monarchy. They did not allow the national government to regulate interstate and foreign commerce. They could not be amended without the unanimous agreement of the congress and the assent of all the state legislatures; thus, each state had the power to veto any changes to the confederation. Disorder Under Confederation: o After the Revolution ended, the national government realized that they had neither the economic nor military power to function. o High interest rates and taxes were forcing farmers into bankruptcy. They protested against high taxes. Shay’s Rebellion demonstrated the impotence of the confederation and the urgent need to suppress insurrection and maintain domestic order. From Confederation to Constitution: Virginia Plan a set of proposals for a new government, submitted to the Constitutional Convention of 1787; included separation of the government into three branches, division of the legislature into two houses, and proportional representation in the legislature. o Only delegates from 5 states showed up to first meeting, rescheduled for next year. o Shay’s Rebellion gave the urgency to revise the articles. o Edmund Randolph’s proposal which rejected the idea to amend the Articles of Confederation and create a new Constitution. o Legislative Branch the lawmaking branch of government. o Executive Branch the law-enforcing branch of government. o Judicial Branch the law-interpreting branch of government. o Each state’s representation in the legislature will be in proportion to taxes paid to the national government or in proportion to its free population. o An executive of unspecified size will be elected by the legislature and serve for a single term. o The national judiciary includes one or more supreme courts and other lower courts, with judges appointed for life by the legislature. o The executive and number of national judges serve as a council of revision, to approve or veto legislative acts. Their veto could be overridden, however, by a vote of both houses of the legislature. o The scope of powers of all three branches be far greater than that assigned to the national government by the Articles of Confederation and include the power of the legislature to override state laws. New Jersey Plan (small states) submitted by the head of the New Jersey delegation to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a set of nine resolutions that would have, in effect, preserved the Articles of Confederation by amending rather than replacing them. o A single chamber legislature has the power to raise revenue and regulate commerce. o States have equal representation in the legislature and choose the members of that body. o A multi-person executive elected by legislature with powers similar to those listed in the Virginia Plan but without the right to veto legislation. o A supreme judiciary tribunal will be created with a very limited jurisdiction. o The acts of legislature would be binding to the states. The Great Compromise submitted by the Connecticut delegation to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and thus also known as the Connecticut Compromise, a plan calling for a bicameral legislature in which the House of Representatives would be apportioned according to population and the states would be represented equally in the Senate. o Small states demanded equal representation. Compromise on the Presidency: o They agreed on a single president, but they disagreed on how they would be chosen. o Created an electoral college which was a cumbersome system consisting of a group of electors chosen for the sole purpose of selecting the president and vice president. Each state legislature would choose a number of electors equal to the number of its representatives in congress. Each elector will vote for 2 people. o Decided that the president’s term of office should be 4 years and that the president should be eligible for reelection with no limit on the number of terms. The Final Product: The Basic Principles: o Republicanism a form of government in which power resides in the people and is exercised by their elected representatives. The framers were determined to avoid aristocracy (rule by hereditary class), monarchy (rule by one), and direct democracy (rule by the people). o Federalism the division of power between a central government and regional governments. o Separation of Powers the assignment of lawmaking, law-enforcing, and law interpreting functions to separate branches of government. Ensures that the powers of government will not lie in a single person or a group of people. o Checks and Balances a government structure that gives each branch some scrutiny of and control over the other branches. Prevents the exclusive exercise of certain powers by any one of the three branches. o Extraordinary Majority majority greater than that required by majority rule, that is, greater than 50 percent plus one. 2/3 of each chamber. Veto Legislation and Review Legislative Make Laws RLegislation Acts Legisla Executi Judiciar Confirm Executive Aturentments ve Review Executive (Senate), Override Enforce Acts and Issue ExReject Foreignand Laws Injuctions Treaties Impeach and Create Grant Pardons and Interpret or Eliminate Courts Nominate Judges Laws The Articles of the Constitution: o Article One: The Legislative Article Enumerated Powers the powers explicitly granted to Congress by the Constitution. 18 powers are enumerated. Necessary and Proper Clause the last clause in Section 8 of Article 1 of the Constitution, which gives Congress the means to execute its enumerated powers. This clause is the basis for Congress’s implied powers. Also Called the Elastic Cause. Implied Powers those powers that Congress requires in order to execute its enumerated powers. o Article Two: The Executive Article Sets the president’s term of office, the procedure for electing a president through Electoral College, the qualifications for becoming president, and the president’s duties and powers. Commander in Chief duties. o Article Three: The Judicial Article Federal Judges serve for life unless impeached. Judicial Review the power to declare government acts invalid because they violate the Constitution. o Remaining Articles: Article 5 specifies the methods for amending the Constitution. Supremacy Clause the clause of Article 6 of the Constitution that asserts that national laws take precedence over state and local laws when they conflict. The Framers’ Motives: o Biggest Issue: inability of the national or state governments to maintain order under the loose structure of the Articles of Confederation. o Wanted to protect homes, families, and means of livelihood from impending anarchy. The Slavery Issue: o Are slaves counted in population? Added whole number of free persons and 3/5 of all other persons. This gave the South a greater representation in Congress. Selling the Constitution: Federalists those who wanted a strong national government. Antifederalists those who did not want a strong national government. The Federalist Papers written primarily by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. o They have a far greater influence today when read as dispassionate analyses on the meaning of the Constitution and the political theory it embodies. o Federalist No. 10 written by James Madison. Seen as most magnificent Federalist paper due to his discussion on Pluralism. Claimed that the Constitution would prevent a “tyranny of the majority.” Government would not be directed by the people, but the individuals they elected to represent them. The purpose of this letter was to show that the proposed government as not likely to be ruled by any faction. o Federalist No. 51 Madison argued that the separation of powers and checks and balances would control tyranny from any source. A Concession: The Bill of Rights o Thomas Jefferson was not pleased that the Constitution did not contain a list of basic civil liberties. o Federalist No. 84 Hamilton argued that the addition of the bill of rights would be dangerous. o Bill of Rights the first ten amendments to the Constitution. They prevent the national government from tampering with fundamental rights and civil liberties and emphasize the limited character of national power. Ratification: st o Constitution was ratified on June 21 , 1788. Bill of Rights Guarentees for Participation in the Political Process and Respecting Personal Beliefs: •No government abridgment of speech or press; no government abridgment of peaceable assembly; no government abridgment of petitioning government for redress. •No government establishment of religion; no government prohibition of free religious exercise. Guarentees of Personal Guarentees of Personal Privacy: Privacy: •The poeple have the right to •Owners; consent necessary bear arms. to quarter troops in private homes in peachetime; quartering during war must be lawful. Guarentees of Personal Privacy: •Government cannot engage in unreasonable seraches or seizures; warrants to searach and seize require probable cause. Guarentees Against Government's Overreaching and of Personal Privacy: •Serious crimes require a grand jury indictment; no repeated prosecution for the same offense; no loss of life, liberty, or property without due process; no taking of property for public use wihtout just compensation. •No compulsion to testify against oneself in criminal cases. Guarentees Against Government's Overreaching: •Criminal defednants will have a speedy public trial by impartial local juriy; defendants are informed of accusation; defendants may confront witnesses against them; defendants may use judicial proess to obtain favorable witnesses; defendants may have legal assistance for their defense. Guarentees Against Guarantees Against Government's Government's Overreaching: Overreaching: •Civil lawsuits can be tried by •No excessive bail; no juries if controversy exceeds excessive fines; no cruel and $20; in jury trials, fact finding unusual punishment. is a jury function. Other Guarantees: Other Guarentees: •No government trespass on •The states or the people unspecified fundamental retain all powers not rights. delegated to the national government or denied to the states. Rest of Constitutional Amendments Numb Intent Subject er 11 Government Prohibits an individual from suing a state in Structure federal court without the state’s consent. Correction 12 Government Requires the electoral college to vote Structure separately for president and vice president. Correction 13 Promoting Prohibits slavery. Equality 14 Promoting Gives citizenship to all persons born or Equality naturalized in the United States (including former slaves); prevents states from depriving any person of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” and declares that no state shall deprive any person of “the equal protection of the laws”. 15 Promoting Guarantees that citizens’ right to vote cannot Equality be denied “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” 16 Promoting Gives Congress the power to collect an income Equality tax. 17 Promoting Provides for popular election of senators, who Equality were formerly elected by state legislatures. 18 Public Policy Prohibits the making and selling of intoxicating liquors. 19 Promoting Guarantees that citizens’ right to vote cannot Equality be denied “on account of sex.” 20 Government Changes the presidential inauguration from Structure March 4 to January 20 and sets January 3 for Correction opening date of Congress. th 21 Public Policy Repeals the 18 Amendment. 22 Government Limits a president to two terms. Structure Correction 23 Promoting Gives citizens of Washington, D.C., the right to Equality vote for president. 24 Promoting Prohibits charging citizens a poll tax to vote in Equality presidential or congressional elections. 25 Government Provides for succession in event of death, Structure removal from office, incapacity, or resignation Correction of the president or vice president. 26 Promoting Lowers the voting age to 18. Equality 27 Government Bars immediate pay increases to members of Structure Congress. Correction Constitutional Change: The Formal Amendment Process: o Two stages to amendment process: proposal and ratification. o Amendments can be proposed by a 2/3 vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate by a national convention, summoned by Congress at the request of 2/3 of the state legislatures. o A proposed amendment can be ratified by a vote of the legislatures of 3/4 of the states. o The last 17 amendments make public policy, correct deficiencies in the government’s structure, or promote equality. Ratficat Proposa ion l Stage: Stage: 2/3 vote of present in both 3/4 of state houses of legislatures. Congress. National convention by Constitutional request of 2/3 conv3/4 of the of state states. legislatures. Interpretation by the Courts: o Marbury vs. Madison Supreme Court declared that the courts have the power to nullify government acts when they conflict with the Constitution. Political Practice: o Has altered the distribution of power without changes in the Constitution. It says nothing about political parties or the president’s cabinet. An Evaluation of the Constitution: Freedom, Order, and Equality in the Constitution: o Federal Government strong enough to maintain order but not so strong that it could dominate the states or infringe on individual freedoms. o 16 Amendment it was proposed and ratified to replace a law that had been declared unconstitutional in an 1895 court case. This promotes social equality. Redistribution of Income.
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