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Political Science Chapter 8 Notes from Textbook

by: Kayra Reyes

Political Science Chapter 8 Notes from Textbook POLS 1336

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Kayra Reyes

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These notes are from Chapter 8 from the textbook "University of Houston: American Democracy Now" by Brigid Harrison, Jean Harris, and Michelle Deardorff. Its a super easy outline of the chapter wi...
US and Texas Constitution and Politics
Sharon M Davis
Class Notes
political science, civil rights, liberties, constitution, articles of confederation, Amendments, colonies, executive, legilative, judicial, checks and balances, virginia, plan
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kayra Reyes on Tuesday September 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 1336 at University of Houston taught by Sharon M Davis in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 80 views. For similar materials see US and Texas Constitution and Politics in Political Science at University of Houston.


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Date Created: 09/06/16
Chapter 8 from “University of Houston: American Democracy Now” by Brigid Harrison, Jean Harris, and Michelle Deardorff The constitution is the oldest written document in the world since 1789 due to its: 1. Basic structure: “ a federal system with two levels of sovereignty (national and state) and 3 branches of government in the national gov. 2. The fundamental principles on which the framers built the gov. (popular sovereignty, protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” *vagueness of constitution makes it flexible for interpretation and discussion according to evolving values The Articles of Confederation failed so they created this to have a republican democracy and liberty and a national government Pg 168. Constitution: “presents the fundamental principles of a government and establishes the basic structures and procedures by which the government operates to fulfill those principles” Unwritten Constitution: ideas and processes that are accepted as a basic necessity of government though not written in the constitution Written Constitution: a formal, paper document detailing/listing the rules of a government/political system and the rights of the governed CONSTITUTION’S 3 MAIN GOALS/TOPICS ADDRESSED 1. Government’s mission and long term goals 2. Description of government structures and bodies 3. Details of government’s “operating procedures” Pg 170. BEGINNING OF AMERICA Manny voyagers came as indentured servants: work several years for an individual who has paid for their voyage (to America) Religious groups and Africans populated the land, as well as natives previously there In colonies, there were elected officials to deal with every day matters while the king of Britain had governors in the colonies to ensure HIS own ruling was enforced Britain collects taxes to pay debts causing colonists to rebel and bring about topics like liberty and sovereignty Pg 171. After the Seven Years’ War ended by the Treaty of Paris, tariffs are imposed for Britain’s economic benefit such as (1764) Sugar Act: “increased taxes on molasses, coffee, textiles, etc.” (1765) Stamp Act: taxes placed on legal and commercial paper documents Colonists rebelled because they argued that tariffs without representation in the colonies was unfair = BOYCOTTING (by ending purchases and making homemade goods) and Protests Ex: Sons of Liberty: founder  Samuel Adams, used acts of violence to protest Leads to: The Quartering Act (1765): law requiring that colonists provide supplies and supplies to troops abroad (in America) Paying for troops is like paying an extra tax, plus soldiers came to colonies and found themselves second jobs, ones colonists could no longer occupy (1766) Declaratory Act: (law passed the same day the Stamp Act was repealed) law said that the Parliament had all the authority over the colonies and power to make any laws it pleased Townshed Revenue Act of 1767: expanded the list of goods to be taxed and said government had ALL power to impose these taxes 1768: Samuel Adams worked to petition to repeal the Townshed Act, repealed in 1770 Boston Massacre (1770): soldiers shot a group of colonists killing 5 and injuring 6 Massachusetts’s Committee of Correspondence: “group dedicated to encouraging and maintaining the flow of information and the spread of calls for rebelling among Mass. Colonists” Pg 172. Boston Tea Party (1773): colonists angered by the Parliament’s tax laws (in this case, the Tea Act which placed taxes on imported tea) dressed as Mohawk Indians and poured thousands of pounds of tea into the harbor Response from Parliament= Coercive/ Intolerable Acts (1774): closed the Boston port from receiving imported goods until the tea was repaid *also banned all assembly and political engagement FIRST CONTINENTAL CONGRESS Concerns: taxation without representation, government’s abuse of power + a growing sense of community in the colonies= Call to action First Continental Congress (1774): meeting in Philadelphia including delegates from all colonies except Georgia to write together a list of concerns to send to the king Pg 173. Sent a Declaration of Rights and Grievances: a list of right’s deemed to be entitled to colonies Articles of Association: plan to “create a Parliament for the colonies” Battle of Lexington and Concord came before the 2 ndcont. congress: “shots heard around the world,” soldiers shoot fire and seize the colonists’ weapons Second Continental Congress: (originally to discuss the king’s response to their letter) but after L&C, to work s independent nation and fight British power George Washington in chosen to lead the armies for battle Common Sense by Thomas Paine: pamphlet explaining to colonists that they would only have liberty if they got their independence from Britain Declaration of Independence: was drafted by Thomas Jefferson, announcement of colonies’ independence from Britaina *influenced by The Enlightenment: Locke  all men free and equal, natural rights, and life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, Jean Jacque Rousseau  power of people, protect life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, option to revolt Set of 3 Radical Principles: 1. All men are created with natural rights: rights given by nature or God, not government 2. Proposed all governments need “consent of the governed” 3. Expressed that citizens have a right to revolt and create a new government if current government is not legitimate American Revolution: lasted 8 years from 1775 to 1783, ended by the Treaty of Paris in 1783, fight for independence (and victorious) Articles of Confederation (1777): drafted by Second Continental Congress before the end of the American Revolution “each state established a republic”: representative democracy Bicameral legislature: legislature with two parts, chambers Pg 175. Bill of Rights: ensures list of rights government cannot take from or abuse citizens Confederation: “a union of independent states in which each state” has its own power to govern itself In the Articles of Confederation, the legislature was unicameral: has only one chamber  Had no judicial branch, executive branch, or a president  Congress also had no power in international or financial affairs to tax states to used funds to pay debts, etc.  No unitary economic system, states had different currencies, taxes on interstate trade/goods, different trade policies= UPRISINGS BIG EVENT= Shay’s Rebellion: in Massachusetts, farmer’s unable to pay debts and bankrupt, revolt and cause chaos, however, Congress has no army, and no power to tax and pay for necessities to stop rebellion Constitutional convention consisted of elites in nation totally misrepresenting the common public Created constitution that would ensure democracy and liberty + Bill of Rights to ensure specific rights are not infringed upon Pg 178. Dual Sovereignty (now called a federal system): a government system that allows ultimate authority to be divided/shared between central and regional governments each governing different policy matters Supremacy Clause: all treaties and laws made by national government are the “law of the land” and override any other laws Separation of Powers: 3 branches of government, system ensuring no one group had too much control in government and its divided to different branches Judicial: “Resolves conflicts over the law” Legislative: creates laws Executive: enforces laws Checks and Balances: system made so branches can monitor and limit their powers Pg 179. Topic of concern and representation in national government James Madison proposed the Virginia Plan: State representation would be based on population (people vote for lower house of bicameral and lower house elects representatives in upper house of bicameral) BUT this means states with less people get less representation William Patterson proposed the New Jersey Plan: Wanted unicameral legislature where each state had an equal vote BUT this ignored the difference in population and views of the majority of the nation THUS the Connecticut Compromise: state representation in bicameral legislature by state population in House of Reps. and 2 votes per state in Senate 17 amendment: right to elect/vote for senators in congress 12 amendment: changes presidential election procedures from electors giving two votes for president showing winner as president and runner up as vice president to each elector getting one vote for president and one vote for vice president Electoral College: body of electors that decide whose president and vice president *states determined voting eligibility: Only property owning white men could vote and women in (NJ only) However, non-property owning (aka impoverished), minorities, and women couldn’t vote Pg 180. Topic of concern: slavery Declared slaves to be property and required anyone to return any escaped slaves to owners Three Fifth Compromise: one slave= 3/5 of a free man = more representation for southern states in congress *northern states think they should pay more tax then for more population Pg 181-182. Constitution was signed in 1787 Article I- Legislative Branch: law making power, two chamber of legislature can check each other when voting for bills as there is a need of 50% plus one votes for each other’s laws Article II- Executive Branch: enforces laws, negotiates treaties, and commander in chief; president’s (checks) are power to veto: ability to reject bill passed by congress to be revoted on Advise and consent: (legislature’s check on president) power to reject or approve treaties or presidential appointments, like need for legislative branch’s blessing Article III- Marbury v. Madison: case that gave court the power to determine if governing body violated the constitution (aka judicial review) Article IV- States must respect each other’s laws and adding new states Article V- Making amendments to the constitution Pg 183. 1. Proposal of amendments 2. Ratification of proposed amendment Two Methods: 1. 2/3 vote by House and Senate, then sent proposals to the states 2. Constitutional convention, 2/3 of state legislature vote on it then sent to states Article VI- Constitutional Supremacy: national government is in charge of managing national debts and its law is above all the land Pg 184. Article VII- Constitution Ratification Process: required vote from 9/13 states at convention, after signed, sent to states for ratification Federalists: supported constitution as originally presented Anti-federalists: thought constitution gave national government too much power and could endanger individual freedom and NEEDS Bill of Rights to protect liberties The Federalist Papers: used “essays in the form of letters” to address the public’s concerns and convince them to support the ratification of the constitution Mercy Otis Warren: antifederalist and politically engaged woman who influenced the debate on constitution and Bill of Rights Antifederalists argued that only a Bill of Rights could limit government power Federalist: Alexander Hamilton Antifederalist: Thomas Jefferson Pg 185. First eight amendments from the Bill of Rights= government’s responsibility to protect liberties Civil Liberties: government protected rights th 9 amendment: says there’s more liberties than those listed th 10 amendment: state’s rights Pg 186. Framers expected that constitution would be discussed as society and values changed Judges decide how to interpret the constitution Formal amendment: approved changes to constitution’s words by states (only 27 times so far) Framers made constitution difficult to change because otherwise there’d be no purpose for a constitution All amendments ratified fill in these categories: 1. Extend civil liberties and rights 2. “altered the selection of officials or operation of the branches of national government 3. Dealt with crucial policy concerns Pg 188. Constitution has not only been amended but also reinterpreted Richard Beeman identifies themes in Supreme Court Rulings: 1. As society changes, the constitution evolves as well 2. “tensions created by the separation of powers and the dual sovereignty of our federal system 3. “Clarification of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights” 14 amendment: emphasizes and evolves meaning on equality -Although aiming to be unbiased, courts can’t avoid the public or other branch’s opinions on certain matters due to checks and balances


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