American Politics: Week 2 of Notes
American Politics: Week 2 of Notes POLS 1110 - 003
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POLS 1110 - 003
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Makayla Prince on Sunday January 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 1110 - 003 at University of North Carolina - Charlotte taught by Jason Giersch in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 45 views. For similar materials see American Politics in Political Science at University of North Carolina - Charlotte.
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Date Created: 01/31/16
American Politics Notes week 2 The Constitution What is the constitution? Article 1: Legislature Article 2: Executive Article 3: Judicial Article 4: States Article 5: Amendments Article 6: Supremacy Article 7: Ratification and 27 Amendments Britain’s American Colonies & the Road to Revolution Life was good in the colonies (slaves excepted) Selfgoverning British citizens, with minimal British government Road to Revolution ● Irritants New taxes to finance French and Indian war Enforcement of trade regulations No representation in Parliament ● Protests and Boycotts First Continental Congress Sept. 1774 Declaring Independence ● Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson Justified Revolution Put blame on King Revolutionaries need foreign assistance English Heritage: Power of Ideas ● John Locke Natural rights Life, Liberty, Property Government is to protect those rights Consent of the governed Limited government American Creed, Independence, & the “Conservative” Revolution ● Individualism ● Rule by the people ● New ideas incubated in a unique environment ● Winning independence is not easy (8 year process) ● A “conservative” revolution? Unlike “liberal” revolutions, this one demanded a more limited government, not a more active one. “All men are created equal” was an indictment of monarchy, not a call toward economic equality Articles of Confederation ● Statedominated government (nonnational) League of friendship amongst states Unicameral legislature No judiciary No executive No power to tax No power to regulate commerce ● Fear of a strong central government Political Changes in the States ● Increases in liberty, democracy (if you were a white male) ● New middle class growing Artisans Farmers Elite’s power threatened ● Legislatures (not governors) held governmental power, and middle class white males became the voting majority Economic Turmoil ● Postwar economic depression hurts borrowers ● Shay’s Rebellion (1786) Farmers attack courthouses to prevent foreclosures Neither national nor state government could respond effectively Elites privately put down rebellion ● Calls for a Constitutional Convention to strengthen the central government Gentlemen in Philadelphia; Philosophy in Action ● Who attended Constitutional Convention? 55 Delegates from 12 states Wealthy planters, lawyers, and merchants ● High principles versus selfinterest Human nature (people are selfinterested, so government must be strong, but not the individuals running it) ● Political conflict resulting from factions ● Purpose of government ● Nature of government Critical Issues at the Convention ● Equality Issues Connecticut Compromise (house senate) ⅗ Compromise (how to count slaves) Voting regulations to be set by states ● State of the Economy: Poor Tariffs, inflation, and debt Powers to stabilize economy ● Individual rights issues Habeas Corpus (protects the individual from the government through trial by jury) Treason narrowly defined No religious test to hold office Thwarting Tyranny of the Majority ● Limiting majority control James Madison System ● Separating powers ● Creating checks and balances ● Establishing a federal system Federalists and AntiFederalists ● Our first political parties ● Federalists Supported constitution Strong central government ● AntiFederalists Opposed constitution No protection for civil liberties States’ power would weaken Suspicious of elites Ratification ● Ratification by special convention Got around state legislatures, which weren’t happy ● Delaware was first to approve ● New Hampshire made it official ● New York & Virginia critical ● North Carolina & Rhode Island hold out in part over concerns about individual rights Changing the Constitution ● Formal amending process Proposal (congress or national convention) Ratification (states legislatures or conventions) ● Informal process of constitutional change Judicial interpretation Political & technological change Demands for new policies ● Importance of flexibility A very short & very old constitution Constitution and Democracy ● Original constitution created a republic, not a democracy Framers thought elites should govern Representative democracy allowed constitution to become more democratic ● From elitism to pluralism Voting qualifications left up to states 5 amendments have expanded electorate More officials chosen by popular election Constitution & the Scope of Government ● Constitution designed to limit government and protect liberties Broad participation possible ● Effects of separation of powers All groups can be heard ● Effects of separation of powers All groups can be heard Encourages stalemate ● Effects of checks and balances Gridlock or ineffective policy The Constitution ● “ajority rule with minority rights.”
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