September 12 Class Notes
September 12 Class Notes 206
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kendall Notetaker on Monday September 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 206 at Texas A&M University taught by John Bond in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 82 views. For similar materials see American National Government in Political Science at Texas A&M University.
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Date Created: 09/12/16
September 12, 2016 Notes I. September 12, 2016 II. U.S. Constitution A. The “Madisonian dilemma” Articles of Confederation first constitution o Central government weak, most of the power in the states o Took a unanimous vote to accomplish anything o Could raise army/navy but the states would have to provide the people o No power to regulate interstate commerce. Each state had their own money and put up trade barriers on other states o US economy in shambles Congress persuaded to call a Convention to revise the Articles o Summer of 1787 in Philadelphia o All states but Rhode Island sent delegates o George Washington, James Madison, etc. 1. All agreed for the need of a stronger central government o Known as the Federalist (Led by Jefferson and Maddison) o Individuals opposed to strong central government: Anti-Federalist oArticles could not be fixed by adding amendments oJames Madison did homework and showed up to the Convention with a rough draft 2. Wanted a “good” govt. oGoverned with the consent of the governed oOne that would protect natural rights 3. What is the basic nature of man? o Is man inherently good or evil? a) Age-old normative debate b) Answer has implications for type of government you chose o Hobbs and Locke: “state of nature” before there was government, humans were totally free to do whatever they wanted a) Hobbs: humans are inherently evil, state of nature= state of war. Free humans were in constant fear of being robbed/murdered by neighbor. So intolerable that they came together and formed social contract that created a civil society b) Locke: humans peaceful and as long as their fundamental needs were taken care of they September 12, 2016 Notes were happy. Still unpleasant because of “sabretooth tigers”/natural disasters. At some point they come together and create social contract oFramers assumed people were basic by nature a) Naturally pursue life, liberty, and happiness b) Not good/bad, but the way human nature is oGoal= design a govt. that will work well human nature as it is 4. The dilemma: How can self-interested individuals administering stronger govt. powers be prevented from abusing their powers to destroy freedoms that govt. is supposed to protect? 5. James Madison in Federalist #51 oGetting the constitution ratified was in doubt oNew York was a key state, Anti-Federalist sentiment strong oHamilton, Jay, and Madison oIntended to persuade people of New York to ratify new constitution oStudying these gives us a good idea of what they were thinking o#51 Madison says “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition” a) Government should not try to change human nature b) You must give the govt. enough power to govern (Articles did not accomplish that) B. Solutions to the “Madisonian dilemma” 1. Written Document oInnovative: in 19 century constitutions were unwritten oWhen Great Britain learned US was drafting a constitution they made fun of them oIdea is that if you write down the functions/structure/procedures/limitations then self- interested individuals can be stopped oUltimately just words on a page: won’t prevent a corrupt/self-interested individual 2. Republican (representative) Govt. oPrevents abuses of governmental power oGoverned with the consent of the governed oDid not want a democracy a) If all power was in the majority that would lead to tyranny as well (majority tyranny) September 12, 2016 Notes b) Did not trust ordinary people to make rational choices oOrdinary citizens choose individuals to represent them 3. Mixed government oRepresent both property and the number of people oHouse represents the interest of the people a) Directly elected b) Serve 2 year term oSenate: interest of property/states a) Not directly elected b) Every state has 2 c) Serve 6 year terms oMix of monarchy, aristocracy, & democracy a) Monarchy: executive b) Aristocracy: senate c) President chosen by elector, 1 electoral vote for every member in House/Senate a. State chooses their electorals d) Very little democracy 4. Fragmentation of power oSeparation of powers with checks and balances oFederalism: geographical fragmentation of power a) Central and state governments b) Constitution recognizes states as sovereign st nd C. Comparing the 1 & 2 U.S. Constitutions 1. Big Chart in Book III. Five Ways the Constitution Has Changed A. Formal Amendments- 2 Step Process a. Constitutional change comes in a variety of ways 1. Propose Amendments a. 2/3 vote in both houses of congress b. 2/3 of states petition congress to call a convention to propose amendments i. Not a vote, but the proportion of states ii. How many stats must ask for a national convention? iii. 2/3 of 50 (34 states) iv. Never been used v. How do we know: if 34 states asked for a convention what would it look like and how would it operate? vi. Congress decides c. Congress always involved in proposing amendments, but states can initiate September 12, 2016 Notes d. Current constitutions is a result of a runaway constitution 2. Ratify Amendments a. ¾ of state legislatures (most common method) b. ¾ of state conventions i. Not a vote, but proportion of states ii. Onst used once iii. 21 amendment- repeal prohibition Thanks Everyone for Checking Out My Notes