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American Politics: Week 2 of Notes

by: Makayla Prince

American Politics: Week 2 of Notes POLS 1110 - 003

Makayla Prince
GPA 3.2

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These notes cover everything from the second week of class
American Politics
Jason Giersch
Class Notes
american politics
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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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