PSC 1002 Introduction to American Politics Week 2 Notes
PSC 1002 Introduction to American Politics Week 2 Notes PSC 1002
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Caroline Jok on Saturday January 23, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSC 1002 at George Washington University taught by John Sides in Spring2015. Since its upload, it has received 40 views.
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Date Created: 01/23/16
WEEK 2 NOTES Introduction to American Politics Professor JPSC 1001 Caroline E. Jok The George Washington University Class 3 ~ The Constitution The Constitution: 1. Constitution created institutions that addressed collective action problems 2. Collective action problems in the early United States weaken the country a. The articles of Confederation established institutions too weak 3. Constitution is a product of collective action a. Disagreements lead to compromise 4. Constitution attempts to balance the transaction and conformity cost • The Government is meant to deal with Collective Action Problem o Stability, durability • Collective action problems i n Early America o Free riding and prisoners dilemma lead to the under supply of public goods (national sector) o Increase of government securities (money) • Inflation o Economic Turmoil - Shays rebellion in 1786 • Goal: Prevent Wars - they are costly Raise taxes so government has money • • No effective political cooperation *There was no effective political institutions to address the problem Compromises in the Constitution 1. Composition and powers of legislature 2. Election and powers of executive 3. Slavery (3/5ths compromise) 4. Individual rights (bill of rights) Institutional Design • Centralizing government reduces transaction costs • Attempts to minimize conformity costs via: o Separation of powers o Popular sovereignty o Federalism Class 4 ~ The Constitution Continued Compromises in the Consti tution 1. Composition and powers of legislature 2. Election and powers of executive 3. Slavery a. Willing to wait to address the importation of slaves b. Willing to wait to address the status of fugitive slaves i. Compromise: return the fugitive slaves c. Do we count the slav es for representation? i. North: That gives the south more power ii. South: Wants more power iii. Compromise: 5 slaves:3 whites - those not taxed = slaves, count to some extent but not to the extent of the south's wanting iv. Brutus: how can we count these people? If we don't give them freedom 1. Not representative of liberty Logroll: Compromise: North agrees to demands, south can regulate interstate commerce with simple majority a. South: Commerce: The South is worried about the prevention of exports throug h parts b. North: Slavery - gives up provisions on slavery i. Morally problematic ii. How politicians work through different preferences to postpone conflict iii. Fails, which leads to war 4. Bill of Rights a. Antifederalists fear the strength of the National Government b. Concession: liberties in the Bill of Rights c. "what will it take to get enough people on board" • The Point of the constitution is o to replace the Articles of Confederation o give national government more power to get things done Institutional Design: • Centralizing the government reduces transaction costs • Necessary and proper clause: broad and ambiguous o Stopped the counter productive fights between the states • Value o Decrease transaction o Increase conformity costs • How do you design an institution that miti gates both of these? • Separate powers = increased transaction costs • Popular sovereignty • Federalism Why? • The founders are human realist • Risk: Put the government in place • Attempts to minimize conformity costs: o Separation of branches Study Guide Questions: • In Logic Chapter 2, try to find concepts and ideas that highlight collective action problems. The drafting of the Constitution was the result of collection action problems, but why? • Collective Action Problem: Multiple individuals would all benefit from a certain action, but has an associated cost making implausible that any individual can or will solve it alone. • After the Revolutionary War, America was governed by the Articles of Confederation. What were the Articles of Confederation? What is a confederation? • What were the problems with the Articles of Confederation? • Shays' Rebellion is one of the events that ultimately led to drafting the Constitution. What did Shays' rebellion show about the weakness of the American government under the Articles of Confederat ion? • The Constitution is a document filled with compromises. Please make sure you understand the following: the Virginia Plan, the New Jersey Plan, the Great Compromise, and the compromise over slavery. • Unlike the Articles of Confederation the Constitution creates three branches of government. Why? What are those branches and what are their powers under the Constitution? • The Framers realized that the federal government needed to be stronger under the Constitution than it was under the Articles of Confederat ion. What kinds of clauses and ideas were placed in the Constitution to make the federal government stronger? (Hint: focus on concepts like federalism, commerce clause, and the supremacy clause.) • In the Principles book, Brutus argues that the Constitution is not as great as it seems. What are his main concerns with ratifying the Constitution? • In Federalist 10, Madison discusses the concepts of factions and tyranny. What are each of these? Why were the Founders so concerned with these ideas? What is Madison' s answer to control factions and prevent tyranny? • Federalist 51 gives more details about the separation of powers (also known as checks and balances). Make sure you understand this concept. How will delegating specific powers to the different branches prevent tyranny and oppression? Reading Notes ~ Logic Chapter 2: The Constitution The Road to Independence • Distance limited Britain's capacity to govern the colonies • Colonies enjoyed home rule A legacy of self governance • British appointed governors/colonial councils/judges • Popularly elected legislature in control of money could dominate other government institutions • State assemblies supplied another vital resources: elected politicians experienced in negotiating collective agreements. • Colonist wrote themselves constitutions • 1754: Albany congress: first serious proposal for a national government o Ben Franklin: Plan of the Union • American Army to provide colonies' defense • Popularly elected national legislature w/ power to levy taxes • Executive appointed by the British King o Case of Free Riding - Britain's protection, soldiers, managing trade etc. Dismantling Home Rule • End of French and Indian War ( 1763) • British are Broke & go to the colonies for taxes o also violate home rule • 1765 Stamp act (tax on all printed materials) • No Taxation without representation § True interest: home rule • Asserting home rule • Local groups confronted tax collectors and prevent ed them from performing their duties. • Demonstrations § Boston Tea Party (1773) • British Response: Restraining Acts and Coercive Acts Closed port of Boston to commerce • • Dissolved Massachusetts assembly Quartering act • • Those charged sent to England for trial The Continental Congresses • 1774 First Continental Congress called by Samuel Adams o Passed resolutions condemning British taxes and administrative decrees o Adoption of the Declaration of American Rights • Reasserted home rule • Agreement to ban trade with Brita in • Enforce the boycott against the prospect of massive free riding § Committees of observation: impose patriotic morality with investigations of treasonable conversations and public rebukes § Base for statewide conventions that sprang up throughout the colonie s (de facto governments: collected taxes, raised militias , passed "laws" and selected delegates to second continental congress) • May 1775 Second Continental Congress o Responded by action like a national government o Instructed the conventions to reconstitut e themselves as state government based on republican principles • Bicameral (2 chamber) legislatures, governorship, limited the terms and authority o Issued the nation's first bonds o Established a national currency o Authorized George Washington to head the national armies The Declaration of Independence • January 1776 Common Sense • Jefferson drafts resolution of separation (Declaration of Independence) America's First Constitution: The Articles of Confederation • Articles of Confederation: first co nstitution (ratified 1781) • Confederation: highly decentralized system in which national government derives limited authority from the states rather than directly from citizens. o States select officials o Retain authority to override that government's decisi ons o Transferred form and functions of the Continental Congress to the new Permanent Congress o Major laws: 9 of 13 o Direct taxation: unanimous agreements. o Sought to replicate home rule o Collective action costs: nationhood o Britain had provided: defense, comme rcial market The Confederation at War • States responsible for recruiting troops/arming them • Congress: coordinator (identify military requirements, assess the states, channel contributions to the army) o Can also borrow money through bonds (risky/expensive) • Collective action Problem Reading Notes ~ Brutus (2 -1) Anti-Federalist No. 3 November 15, 1787 Show the powers that are not properly deposited for the security of public liberty. • The Legislature o No Equality of representation • 5 slaves to 3 "freemen" • Indians not taxed • "if they have no share in government, why is the number of members in the assembly, to be increased on their account?" • Representation should be in exact proportion to the numbers o One man or a few men, cannot possible represent the feelings, opinions, and characteof a great multitude. o For an assembly to be a true likeness of the people of any country, they must be considerably numerous o Ought to have representation of each class o The "aristocracy" of the country will be elected o Wealth creates influence o The government will be too elevated - distance between people and their representatives o No security against bribery/corruption Reading Notes ~ Madison (2 -2) Federalist No. 10 November 22, 1787 Argument for a large, diverse republic Starts with general statements/assumptions The surest way to avoid tyranny is to design a political system where factions are numerous and non can dominate. Statements on the divide in government • Government is simply instable o Private rights will be threatened o 2 methods of removing the causes of fa ction: • Destroying the liberty • Giving every citizen the same opinions/passions/interests • There will be divides, it's in the nature of man o Mankind is more likely to fight/oppress rather than to co -operate for the common good o Most common source of disagreeme nt: unequal distribution of property • The legislators will only be advocates to their own causes o Justice should balance o It is impossible to be impartial Analysis on size • There can't be too many or two few representatives • The way they are chosen isn't fair o Too many electors: representatives are not acquainted with their local circumstances o Too few: the representative is too attached and unable to vote for the good of the nation • Size of society o The smaller: fewer the parties and interest in in working on it • More frequently will a majority be found of the same party • Domino affect and you have a glass ceiling and an oligarchy o *addresses the difference between republic and democracy - can there be a happy medium? Better to be big • • Small = Possibility of a religi ous sect dominating The constitution is a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government. • Reading Notes ~ Madison (2 -3) Federalist No. 51 February 8, 1788 In a representative democracy citizens must delegate authority Pitting ambition against ambition will keep representatives from using power for their own will The constitution will have effective checks and balances • The reason this government has so many parts is to keep each part in its proper place • Each department should have a will of its own o Should be made of members that have as little control as possible in the members of others o It might be too expensive for the people to elect everyone • Members of each department should be as little dependent on others • Security against concentration of several powers o Giving those who administer each dep. The constitutional means/motives to resist others (defense) • Government of men over men: you must enable the government to control the governed and itself. • The legislature should be divided to secure it from being c ommandeered o The branches must be different o The weight of the legislative authority requires that it s divided
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