Political Science 100: Reading Notes Ch. 2
Political Science 100: Reading Notes Ch. 2 Posc 100
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Laura Pratt on Friday January 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Posc 100 at California State University Long Beach taught by in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 39 views. For similar materials see Intro to american government in Political Science at California State University Long Beach.
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Date Created: 01/29/16
Chapter 2 Pages 1835 The Second Day of Class o The second chapter starts with the vignette referring to the exchange between the professor and the student and the professor alludes to the fact that our founding fathers were politicians like we consider politicians today (and how many people are unhappy with the changes made in the government today) Background to the Constitution o The U.S. Constitution was derived from the Magna Carta, American models of colonial and state governments and their experience with the Articles of Confederation o “The First Continental Congress in September 1774 established regular lines of communication among the colonies” and focused on the attitude to combat British forces in America o “The Second Continental Congress in May 1775 created the Declaration of independence” o The Articles of Confederation were ratified by March 1781 The Articles of Confederation (17811789) o Had no executive or judicial system established o The states had to approve Amendments to articles (needed 9/13 state’s approval) o Congress could NOT impose taxes o Confederation DID have the power to declare war o These established a feeble central government The Constitutional Convention o The controversy was between the small states that wanted to be represented as 1 vote and the larger states that thought their larger population entitled them to giving more weight to the vote The Great Compromise resolved this dispute which established our current day Congress “which is represented based on population in the lower house (House of Representatives) and equal representation for all states in the upper house (Senate)” o The other dispute was over whether slaves should be considered people in regards to voting and taxes Threefifths compromise resolved this issue The Framers o Washington, Hamilton, Madison, Franklin o The Framers were NOT representative of the general population (they were white, educated, wealthy, males) Motives behind the Constitution o Charles Beard argued that the Constitutional Convention was actually a counterrevolution organized by the delegates to improve their own property holdings by transferring power from states to central government o Critiques of Beard’s theory include the fact the framers wanted a strong central government to raise a strong army and to resolve the disputes within the nation that existed when states held all the power o Both theories could work together – the framers’ private and public interests could coincide Politics and Alcohol in America o This is basically just a little snippet of what it was like running for office in the 1700s – the runners were expected to buy boos to gain public support; those who did not do this (for lack of funds or principle) did not win Is the Constitution Antidemocratic? o The Constitution has been called antidemocratic because from the start it excludes a lot of pethle (e.g. minorities and women) o 14 Amendment revolutionized the constitution by making it applicable to more people Federalists versus AntiFederalists o Federalists: favored strong national government “Protection of private property rights and limits on popular participation in government” Pessimistic about human nature o AntiFederalists: favored strong state governments “Wanted fewer limits on popular participation” o “Constitution is a compromise of these two positions” Ratification and the Bill of Rights o To avoid someone becoming too powerful in office – term limits were imposed (e.g. compulsory rotation) o Controversy over whether to include the Bill of Rights: federalists believed that “liberty was best protected by the procedures” while the antifederalists believed the Bill of Rights was a proclamation of fundamental truths o Antifederalists won this dispute and the Bill of Rights were added to the Constitution on December 15, 1791 Four Major Constitutional Principles o 1. Established the structure of government (3 branches of government: executive, judicial, and legislative) o 2. Distributed certain powers to this government o 3. Restrained the government in exercising these powers o 4. Both grants and limits governmental power Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances o Separation of Powers: “powers of government should be divided and put into the care of different parts of the government” o Checks and balances: created because separating powers is NOT enough to prevent one part of the government from monopolizing the rest Three branches limit one another Creates balance of power Examples: presidential veto, president can call Congress into special session, etc. o Term limits prevent one branch/individual from becoming too powerful Federalism o Separates the governing power from the national and state level to avoid one becoming too powerful o Two ideas of federalism: the first is that Constitution and the laws of the central government are supreme; the second idea is that the state governments are ensured independence and have reserved powers not delegated to the national government o Issues such as gun control and immigration are topics the state and federal governments often disagree on o The government relations between the state and federal level has become more intricate as is seen in funding public education No child left behind – difference across states but imposed at the federal level by Bush The Debate over Modern Federalism o Central government has grown stronger o The economy has been regulated by the national government which has been perceived as good by the liberal side; conservatives who are wealthy tend to trust state and local governments more o Reagan – “New Federalism” – gave large block grants of money to states and localities to use with few controls from the central government (Clinton continued this trend) o Obama’s Race to the Top program offered states money if they changed their laws to meet higher educational standards o Wilson wrote about how federalism is a flexible system that represents diverse ideas, opinions, and people and that one generation cannot settle the disputes between state and local governments
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