PSCI 1040. Week 3-5 Book Notes. Chapter 2.
PSCI 1040. Week 3-5 Book Notes. Chapter 2. PSCI 1040
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Harley Hall on Sunday September 25, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSCI 1040 at University of North Texas taught by Mr. Eddie Meaders in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 83 views. For similar materials see American Government in Political Science at University of North Texas.
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Date Created: 09/25/16
PSCI 1040. Chapter 2 Book Notes. The Founding and the Constitution Term. Person. Concept. What Government Does and Why it Matters: o Purposes of government: promote justice, maintain peace, defend the nation, provide for the welfare of the citizenry, and secure “blessings of liberty” for Americans. o Americans sometimes believe the Framers’ separation of powers in the Constitution is a recipe for gridlock, especially when government control is divided by opposing political parties. Ex: government shutdown of October 2013 was a result of the House and Senate not being able to reach an agreement on the national budget o The Framers believed that: A good constitution created a government with the capacity to act forcefully while also promoting compromise and deliberation Delaying action until tempers have cooled and various viewpoints can be heard The cost of compromise and deliberation is sometimes gridlock Every form of government has strengths and weaknesses The First Founding: Interests and Conflicts: o British Taxes and Colonial Interests: The first half of the 18 century British ruled with a light hand Stating in the 1760s British government faced debt and other financial problems and needed revenue British deduced that debt was partially caused by expenses associated with protecting the Colonies in the French and Indian War and continuing to protect the Colonies from Indian attacks. Colonies paid little taxes. Britain began imposing new and relatively modest taxes Income tax didn’t exist yet, the government’s main revenue sources were tariffs, duties, and other taxes on commerce Stamp Act & Sugar Act- affected 2 groups whose commercial activities and interests were most extensive: New England merchants and southern planters “No taxation without representation.” This slogan was used by merchants and planters to organize and gather opposition to new taxes Merchants and planters broke Royalist ties and turned to former foes (shop keepers, small farmers, laborers, and artisans) for help With the help of the above mentioned groups, demonstrations are organized as well as boycotts of British goods, forcing Brits to take back most of the new taxes After taxes were lifted, merchants and planters felt victorious but wanted to settle the unrest they’d started Most respectable Bostonians supported the soldiers in the Boston Massacre because they were only trying to quell political unrest It wasn’t possible to end the political strife Radical forces (representing shop keepers, artisans, laborers, and small farmers that were brought to action by the merchants and planters in the first place) continued to rally for social and political change Radicals (whose leaders included Samuel Adams) insisted British power supported an unjust political and social structure within Colonies and wanted to end British rule Political Strife and the Radicalization of the Colonists o In 1733 British government granted East India Company a monopoly over the export of tea, eliminating a form of trade for colonial merchants, posing a serious threat to them o Merchants and their southern allies called on their radical adversaries (again) for support Resulted in Boston Tea Party led by Samuel Adams o Merchants wanted British to repeal the Tea Act, they didn’t necessarily want independence or have other demands BUT Samuel Adams and his radical supporters wanted to provoke British government to take actions that would alienate colonial supporters of Britain, therefore paving the way to rebellion The Boston Tea Party succeeded, British enacted several harsh laws meant to punish Bostonians and Massachusetts for their actions by: Closing the port of Boston Changing the provincial government of Massachusetts Providing for the removal of accused persons from Massachusetts to Britain for trial Restricting movement to the West (which southern planters depended on) These acts of retaliation and punishment only confirmed criticisms and fears of British rule and helped call Americans to action to support independence o The Tea Party set in motion a cycle of provocation and retaliation 1774, First Continental Congress called for a total boycott of British goods and began to consider the possibility of independence, eventually resulting in the Declaration of Independence Declaration of Independence o Written by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by the Second Continental Congress o Alongside Thomas Jefferson: Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, John Adams, and Robert Livingston o “Unalienable rights” made the Declaration assertive and attention grabbing because many still believed in the “divine right of kings” o Heavily influenced by famous English philosopher John Locke All individuals are equal and have a natural right to protect their own lives, liberties, and possessions o Created a government to protect the rights mentioned above o If government fails, citizens have the right to alter or abolish it o Declaration attempted to unify an extremely diverse population by focusing on common grievances, aspirations, and principles Articles of Confederation o America’s first written constitution; served as the basis for America’s national government until 1789 o Limited powers of central government o Confederation: a system of government in which states retain sovereign authority except for powers expressly delegated to the national government o Central government had no president/presiding officer o National government was controlled by a Congress o No matter its population, every state had one vote o Members of Congress were messengers for the state legislators o All amendments had to be approved unanimously o Laws/powers of Congress: Make peace and declare war Make treaties and alliances Coin or borrow money Regulate trade with Native Americans Appoint senior officers of the US Army However, the national government had no army to command, the country’s armed forces were made up of state militias Could NOT force one state to stop discriminating against other states o Articles of Confederation were IMPRACTICAL The Second Founding: From Compromise to Constitution o Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation were not sufficient enough to hold the new nation together as an independent and effective nation- state o Articles of Confederation downfalls: Many worried the US wouldn’t be able to successfully conduct foreign affairs Federal government couldn’t enforce existing treaties No national military States competed against each other for foreign commerce Only allowed room for a weak national government o The Articles of Confederation were NOT a total failure, there were two laws passed that shaped history: Land Ordinance of 1785- established principles of land surveying and land ownership that governed America’s westward expansion Northwest Ordinance of 1787- individual states agreed to surrender their western land claims, opening the way for admission of new states into the Union o These successes weren’t enough to save the Articles. The political and economic state of America soon deteriorated. European powers (Britain, France, Spain) adopted mercantilist policies that excluded American trade, hurting colonial commerce and further undermining trade and investment Annapolis Convention o Only delegates from 5 states showed up o Because of low attendance, not much was accomplished o Wasn’t entirely useless, one good thing that came was a carefully worded resolution asking Congress to send commissioners at a later time (not exactly implying a desire to do more than just improve and reform the Articles) o First step toward the Second Founding Shay’s Rebellion o Massachusetts farmers tried to stop the foreclosures on their land by rioting against the Massachusetts government o This event proved that Congress couldn’t act quickly in a crisis o This gave people who didn’t like the Articles of Confederation evidence that they weren’t effective o 74 delegates were chosen to go to Philadelphia to revise the Articles, 55 actually went (with every state sending delegates except Rhode Island), and 39 signed the newly drafted Constitution Constitutional Convention o Convention in Philadelphia, May 1787, lasted 5 months o Abandoned plan to fix the Articles of Confederation and focused on a second founding A Marriage of Interest and Principle o Scholars disagree on what the real motives were for the Founders in Philadelphia o Historian Charles Beard suggests it was all in the name of economic gain for the Founders as individuals o Contradictory to opinion: the framers were genuinely concerned with philosophical and ethical principles o The truth is a bit of both ideas: The new Constitution was drafted primarily by merchants and planters Although it wasn’t written for personal economic gain, but instead for widespread and long-term economic and political interests Hoping to create a new government that promoted commerce and protected property from radical state governments The Great Compromise o May 29, 1787- Edmund Randolph of Virginia proposed the Virginia Plan Virginia Plan- called for representation in the national legislature to be based on state population In favor of large states o William Patterson introduced the New Jersey Plan New Jersey Plan- called for equal representation in national legislature regardless of population In favor of smaller states o These feuds threatened to dissolve the Union o Outcome of the Virginia vs. New Jersey debate was the Connecticut Compromise (also known as “The Great Compromise”) First chamber of Congress- the House of Representatives which was apportioned according to the population of each state Second chamber- the Senate where each state has equal representation o Not all delegates like the compromise, some actually stormed out, but in the end most of the delegates preferred the compromise to breaking up the Union The Question of Slavery: The Three-Fifths Compromise o A lot of questions during the convention came out of differences of fundamentals between slave and non-slave states Pitted southern planters against New England merchants More than 90% of the country’s slaves were spread across only 5 states: Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. These slaves accounted for 30% of the total population 5 slaves would be counted as equal to 3 free persons but have no rights A lot of delegates were against slavery, but slave states indirectly threatened to leave the Union in the Northerners didn’t give in The Constitution o The framers couldn’t force the states/public to accept the new government so they added direct popular election of representatives and the Bill of Rights to secure support o The Constitution was influenced by French political philosopher Baron de la Bréde et de Montesquieu Powers of government must be divided (tripartite division) o Legislative Branch Article I House of Representatives directly elected by the people every 2 years Senate appointed by state legislatures (later changed to direct election in 17 amendment) 6 year terms The structure of the legislative branch was designed to contribute to governmental power, promote popular consent for the new government, and place limits on popular political currents that the framers saw as a radical threat to economic and social order Expressed powers- specific powers granted by the Constitution to Congress (Article I, Section 8) and the president (Article II) Elastic Clause- “necessary and proper” clause provides Congress with the authority to make all laws “necessary and proper” to carry them out Powers NOT specifically granted in the Constitution to the federal government are reserved to the states and/or the people o Executive Branch Framers viewed the Articles of Confederation’s lack of an executive as a weakness The position of president was meant to overcome stalemate Helps make the federal government capable of timely and decisive action o Judicial Branch Article III There is no explicit mention of judicial review, the Supreme Court assumed the power Judicial Review- power of the courts to review and (if necessary) declare actions of the legislative and executive branch invalid or unconstitutional (power assumed in Marbury v Madison, 1803) o National Unity and Power Supremacy clause- Article VI, the Constitution is the law of the land Required all officials (local, state, and national) to take an oath of office to support the national constitution o Constitutional Limits on the National Government’s Power Separation of Powers Power must be used to balance power Based on Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws Method of separating powers is known as “checks and balances” Each branch of government has a different constituency Federalism Greater centralization of power Places more power at the national level without undermining the states Two sovereigns (states and nation) that compete with each other, thus limiting each other’s power Bill of Rights Turned down (almost unanimously) to be included in the Constitution After the Constitution was ratified, a movement arose to adopt a national bill of rights (why they are the first 10 amendments instead of being included in the body of the Constitution) Fight for Ratification o 13 separate campaigns for ratification o Antifederalist- favored strong state government over strong national government o Federalist- favored strong national government o Federalists vs. Antifederalists Best known pieces of writing supporting ratification are the Federalist Papers- 85 essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay Defended principles of the Constitution Tried to quiet fears of national authority Antifederalists published essays as well New Constitution betrayed the Revolution and was a step toward monarchy Best antifederalist works were essays by New York State Supreme Court justice Robert Yates, written under the pen name “Brutus” and published in the New York Journal Well-written pamphlets and letters written by former Continental Congress delegate and future US senator Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, using the pen name “Federal Farmer” Representation Antifederalists wanted representatives to be a “true picture of the people” (Brutus) Federalists wanted representatives that would be more educated and willing to pursue the common good instead of just the good of their constituents Tyranny of the Majority Both sides feared tyrannical rule Antifederalists believed all governments had a tendency to become gradually more and more aristocratic o Didn’t like how some institutions weren’t directly responsible to the people (the Senate, and especially the judiciary because Supreme Court justices served for life) Federalists believed danger wasn’t because of aristocratic tendencies, but because of a majority tyranny being possible with republican governments Government Power Both sides agreed on limited government but differed on how to place limits on government action Antifederalists believed states should have more power o Supremacy and elastic clauses were seen as unlimited and dangerous grants of power o Demanded a bill of rights be added to limit the government’s power over citizenry Federalists favored broad government powers to protect against foreign foes, guard against domestic strife and insurrection, promote commerce, and expand the nation’s economy
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