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American Government Class and Reading Notes

by: Courteney Feld

American Government Class and Reading Notes Gov 310L

Marketplace > University of Texas at Austin > Political Science > Gov 310L > American Government Class and Reading Notes
Courteney Feld
GPA 3.2

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About this Document

my personal notes from the book and lecture :)
American Government
Mr. Benjamin Hardee
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Courteney Feld on Sunday February 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Gov 310L at University of Texas at Austin taught by Mr. Benjamin Hardee in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 31 views. For similar materials see American Government in Political Science at University of Texas at Austin.


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Date Created: 02/07/16
Week 3 Class and Reading Notes Montesquieu class notes:  Locke = materialistic, apolitical society ideals; transfers politics to rule of justice  Modern political science started by Hobbes, Locke, and Montesquieu  Montesquieu- separation of powers  Political liberty- power of what one wants to do and not having to do what one doesn’t want  Liberty exists only in moderate governments; divide power and set limits  No power or institutions should be forced on the people  3 powers- Legislative, National Executive, Civil Rights Executive  Judicial power for punishing crime if needed  People shouldn’t/mustn’t fear that the government will hurt them  Judicial power not run by permanent senate, instead, superior individuals  Legislative power because it would be arbitrary to have Legislative connected directly with executive  People vote for representatives, but shouldn’t enter the government otherwise because lack certain political virtue or wisdom  Body of nobles to check over body of common people  For society to succeed, it cannot be purely democratic  Executive power- in hands of monarch; right to veto and enforce laws  Legislative has right to congressional oversight Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence Rough Draft:  Subordination equal, independent  Rights inherent and inalienable  Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness  Power = consent of governed  Right of people to alter/abolish abusive government and start new one due to the King of England’s abuses; America’s grievances as listed:  Absolute tyranny  Refused laws meant for public good  Neglect important matters  Dissolved representative houses repeatedly  Refused others to be elected  Refused to let foreigners in  Officers harass citizens  Established new offices with own power  Armies and ships of war in times of peace  Quartering troops in homes  Cut off world trade  Taxes without consent of people  No trial by jury  Declared citizens out of allegiance and protection  Destroyed towns and lives  The peoples’ repeated petitions answered with injury  Reject king and Great Britain  Free independent colonies/states Class notes:  America’s foundings- colonization, declarations, etc.  American moral principles- based on Declaration of Constitution  Culture and legal documents go hand in hand; culture and universal values  Continental congress decided whether to officially declare independence  Declaration = Locke’s ideas, Natural Law  Right to overthrow abusive government  Safety and happiness  Draft includes slavery issue, but final document excludes it (Adams edited it out)  Foundation of political life = morals, equality, Locke’s State of Nature  Intrinsic rights, not controlled by other person, do what you want without harming others  Justice in society  Property  Pursuit of Happiness to underscore the fact that happiness is the number one feature of a good government  Affirmative/positive rights- pursuit suggests individual endeavor instead of idea that the government should provide “happiness”  Freedom and equality are instruments of government  Life, Liberty, Property – government ends  Education  Military service = life and liberty, self-sacrifice (not addressed in Declaration) Articles of Confederation: nd  2 year of America’s independence  Article I- “The United States of America”  Article II- Each state has sovereignty, freedom, independence, power/rights, Congress  Article III- states form league of friendship for common defense and security and welfare  IV- moving to and from states, trade/commerce, the business of 1 state is also the business of the others; punishing injustice  V- delegates from each state to form Congress; power of states to recall delegates  No less than 2 per state nor more than 7  Each state gets 1 vote in congress  Freedom of speech/debate in Congress  VI- no state can form allegiance with other country/king; no nobility  No duties/taxes  No vessels of war in peace times or body of forces  Military armed and ready  Always consent of USA  States can’t wage war without consent  VII- Military officers appointed by Legislature of each state and called to assemble by state  VIII- taxes by proportion of land within states  IX- congress how power to determine peace/war  Judges and jurisdiction  Alloy and value of coin; standard weights and measures  Power to adjoin at any time and place, but never for more than 6 months at a time  Publish journal of their proceedings monthly  X- during recess of Congress, power goes to 9 states  XI- Canada admitted and entitled  XII- money and debt considered charge against US  XIII- every state must abide by Articles and Congress Class notes: Declaration of Independence Continued  Declaration is the apple of gold; constitution is the silver frame  Declaration goes beyond Locke- all men are created equal  “property”  “pursuit of happiness” much broader  Patriotism shouldn’t be forced but natural; individual interpretations; overshadows the things about the country that are bad  Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness are primary in government, but not only purpose of government  Jefferson’s draft comments on slavery  King of Britain’s doing  Slavery is cruel war against human nature  However, he owned slaves as economic necessity; ideal vs. practical  Democracy – people have right to overthrow destructive government and replace it with any form of government most likely to work for them  Must be democratic vote on type of government, but government doesn’t have to be a democracy necessarily Vices of the Political System of the US- James Madison:  Led to Virginia Plan- New Constitution 1. Failure to comply with constitutional requirements 2. Encroachments on federal authority- wars and treaties of Georgia with Indians, unlicensed compacts between VA and MD, also Pennsylvania and NJ, Massachusetts troops 3. Violations of Law of Nations and treaties 4. States trespassing each other’s rights- vessels, paper money, debts, states restricting commercial intercourse with others 5. Concert in matters of common interest 6. Internal violence (slavery being one) 7. Partiality of one’s own interests/rights 8. Lack of ratification of Articles 9. Multiplicity of laws in several states 10. Mutability of laws of states 11. Injustice of laws Class notes on Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union: states have more power than federal articles adopted as mutual defense league during American Revolution However, later realized its setbacks and limitations Late 1780s Article II- most important; any power not expressed in articles, government does not have; state sovereignty Article III- common defense and security Committee of states like the Executive- takes over when Congress not in session Limited and weak committee- more than one person, so executive power always in session Groups should have Legislative Power instead of Executive (which should be 1 person only) Article IX- Congress’s powers Lack of states’ cooperation Powers- money, peace and war, boundary disputes between states, issue requisitions (no taxing power) Parchment barrier ex: no electronics in class with penalty  if taxes weren’t paid illegally and there was no penalty formally, people wouldn’t pay  congress had little money, and debt issues  No Judicial power under Articles of Strong Executive  War/external danger makes people cooperate Madison’s Critique Class Notes:  Articles do not constitute a political society because they compromise only a league of mutual defense  Articles can’t be saved, adopt new constitution  Articles don’t have necessary and proper clause for government’s powers  No Executive and Judicial Powers- states violate Congress and interfere with each other  political and financial chaos  Shay’s Rebellion- farmers rebelled over taxes, which led to George Washington sending troops to end the uprising  Not strong military, not enough money, not enough power  Something wrong sometimes with majority rule  Madison created VA plan with strong central government as focus


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