Chapter 2 Notes
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Date Created: 10/03/16
Chapter 2: The Revolutionary War The First Founding There was a variety of interests in colonial America They included -New England merchants -Southern planters -Royalists - Shopkeepers, artisans, and laborers -Small farmers British Taxes and Colonial Interests Beginning in the 1750s, the British Crown began imposing a series of modest taxes on the colonists, in part to pay some of the costs of imperial defense Types of taxes-levies on stamps and commercial goods, like sugar and molasses, causes several of the colonial interests to begin to organize against the Crown Political Strife and the Radicalizing of the Colonist A series of provocative acts and counteracts radicalized the colonists and led to the Declaration of Independence -Boston Tea Party (1773) -First Continental Congress (1774) -Lexington and Concord (1775) -Second Continental Congress (1776) This is the Collective Action Principle in action The Declaration of Independence “All men are created equal” Governments derive their legitimacy from the consent of the governed Declares that when a government no longer serves the needs of the people, the people have a right to revolt Does not create a government Revolutionary War The war of Independence was long and bloody, with tens of thousands of casualties among colonists, British soldiers, and native Americans who fought on both sides The colonists ultimately prevailed because it was so long, so bloody, and so expensive, and for the British, there was no end in sight The Articles of Confederation The first American Constitution America is really 13 sovereign states with a weak central government -No standing army -Weak executive -No ability to tax and spend -Problems of international standing -Shay’s Rebellion Constitutional Convention (1787): Key Issues Key Issues: -Revise or scrap the Articles of Confederation -National Power vs. State Power -How much democracy? -Slavery Some answers: -The Great Compromise -The Three- Fifths Compromise The Constitution Convention produced a Constitution with seven articles -The first three articles outline the structure and power of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. - Other articles relate to national power, the amendment process, and the ratification process It is a brief document Article 1: Legislative Branch Bicameralism: Division of a legislative assembly into two chambers or houses Expressed government powers Necessary and Proper Clause- Also referred to as the “elastic clause” Article 2: Executive Branch Provides for an independent, stronger, and more “energetic” executive than in the Articles of Confederation. The president is the commander in chief, chief executive, and chief diplomat Other powers include the nomination of executive and judicial officials and the power to grant reprieves and pardons Article 3: Judicial Branch Provides for a Supreme Court and other federal courts Congress can establish Justices and judges have lifetime terms and are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate Does not explicitly provide for judicial review, the power of the courts to declare actions of the legislative and executive branches invalid or unconstitutional Article 4 & 6: National Unity & Power Provides reciprocity among the states through the “full faith and credit” clause and the “privileges and immunities” clause Promotes national power through the national supremacy clause Article 5: Amending the Constitution Sets forth the procedures for amending the constitution Article 7: Ratification Calls for ratifying conventions in each of the 13 states The constitution is deemed ratified when 9 of the 13 states vote to ratify Constitutional Limits on the National Governments Power Separation of Powers: division of governmental power among several institutions Federalism: divides power between a central government and regional government Bill of Rights: ensures certain rights and liberties to the people, fight for ratification The Fight for Ratification: Federalists vs. Antifederalists Federalists favored ratification and a stronger national government Antifederalists opposed ratification but disagreed among themselves about what the alternative should be At issue: -Nature of representation -Danger posed by tyranny of the majority -Scope and location of governmental power Federalists vs. Antifederalists: Limiting Government Power Representation: antifederalists wanted more representatives and greater representation of various interests Threats posed by the majority: federalists worried about the tyranny of the majority Governmental power: federalists wanted more centralized power. Antifederalists wanted more local control Beyond the Constitution: Limiting governmental power The federalists and antifederalists agreed that governmental power had to be checked; they also agreed that “mere parchment barriers” would not be enough In Federalist 10, James Madison outlines the strongest argument from the Federalist camp for why popular government will succeed in the new United States -The key problem of democracy is instability and factionalism -Factions are sown into the nature of man -So we must control the effects of faction -Representation and “filtering” of public opinion - “Extend the Sphere”- take in a greater variety of interests The American” solution” is that well agree to disagree Amending the Constitution: There have been just 17 amendments to the Constitution since 1791 Two of these cancel each other out (prohibition) The remaining 15 amendments can be broken down into 3 categories -Expansion of the electorate -Changing elections Articles 7-25 7- provided a spate ballot for the vice president in the electoral college xiv- penalized states for depriving freed slaves of the right to vote xvii- provided for the direct election of senators xx- shortened the time between elections and inauguration of the new president and congress xxii- limited the presidential term xi- limited the jurisdiction of federal courts over suits involving the states xiii- eliminated slavery and the rights of states to allow property in the form of persons xiv- established due process of law in state courts for all persons; later used to apply the Lincoln; “the perpetual of our political institutions” Argues for the rule of law Argues that the perpetuation of our political institutions requires that citizens must not tolerate any violation of the law, no matter how small Argues that we should work to change unjust laws, but they must be observed while they are in force King, “Letter from a Birmingham jail” King argues for civil disobedience in the face of unjust or immoral laws Argues that individuals have a moral duty to break an unjust law Argues that individuals must accept the consequences “openly and lovingly” in order to arouse the conscience of the community Institutional Features: Federalism: divides power into two levels, national and state Separation of Powers: divides each level of the government against itself These institutional features limit the power of the government by dispersing power and making collective action difficult Auxiliary Precautions: “A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”-James Madison, Federalist 51 -Federalism and the separation of powers are important precautions against the “tyranny of the majority.” -Institutions are subject to revision and modification as competing forces seek new decision rules that will give them and advantage -Federalism and the separation of powers have evolved considerably over time Why keep the states? Some at the Constitutional Convention, particularly Alexander Hamilton, preferred an even stronger national government than one they created The well-established history of the state governments was an important reason the states retained so much power Defining Federalism: Federalism is the division of powers and the functions between the national government and state governments The constitution provides “expressed powers” (make currency) and “implied powers’ to the federal government The 10 amendment reserves the rest of governmental power for the states Why federalism matters: hurricanes Katrina and sandy In the case of hurricane Katrina (2005), federal, state, and local officials blamed one another for the governments slow response When hurricane Sandy (2012) hit the New Jersey shore, President Obama and state and local officials were very careful to work together to coordinate disaster response States’ Obligations to one Another The Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause: States are to recognize actions and decisions taken in other states as legal and proper Privileges and Immunities Clause: A state cannot discriminate against someone from another state or give special privileges to its own residents Local Government and the Constitution: Local governments (counties, cities, towns, etc.) are not granted any power in the Constitution, as they are creations of the state legislatures and state constitutions Most states have given larger cities in their states home rule: a guarantee of noninterference in local affairs Four Stages of Federalism: Dual federalism (1789-1937) Cooperative federalism (1937-1960s) Regulated federalism (1960s-1990s) New federalism (1990s-present) Dual Federalism Powers were shared between the federal government and state governments States exercised the most important powers It was called “dual federalism” because the duties and operations of the different levels of government remained more strictly separated Exceptional Cases Establish National Power: McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) established the power of the federal government by utilizing the necessary and proper clause by utilizing the supremacy clause Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) reinforced federal power Despite these cases, federal power barely grew until the New Deal From Dual Federalism to Cooperative Federalism During the New Deal (1930s), Congress enacted legislation expanding the federal government’s role in regulating commercial activity The supreme Court shifted course and upheld federal regulation of a variety of commercial activities (NLRB v. Jones and Loughlin Steel Company) Cooperative Federalism (1937-1960s) Marked by supportive relations, sometimes partnerships, between the federal government and the state and local governments. A rise in “grants-in-aid”: funds given by Congress to state and local governments Regulated Federalism (1960s-1990s) The federal government dictates national standards states must meet or rules state must follow A rise in unfunded mandates: national standards or programs imposed on states and local governments without accompanying funding New Federalism (1990s-Present) Efforts to craft national policies to return more discretion to the states Rise in block grants Unfunded Mandates Reform Act Loosening of federal restrictions on grants-in-aid, like the Welfare Reform act Efforts by the courts to interpret the interstate commerce clause more narrowly New Federalism and the Health Care Reform Act Is the individual mandate in the new health reform law constitutional? NO! There is no expressed power in the Constitution to require citizens to purchase anything from a private firm, and it has nothing to do with regulating interstate commerce Yes! The penalty imposed for not purchasing health insurance is a tax. In addition, this is simply part of regulating a commercial activity, just as most states require people to purchase auto insurance The Separation of Powers “You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” – James Madison, Federalist 51 The separation of powers seeks to lint the power of the federalist government by dividing government against itself Checks and Balances: A system of Mutual Vetoes There is no strict separation of powers The constitution established mechanisms through which each branch of government is able to participate in and influence the activities of the others Each branch has agenda and veto power that requires cooperation among branches to get things done Legislative Supremacy The Constitution did not create “separate but equal” branches -The legislative branch was expected to be the most powerful branch -This is one reason for bicameralism Branches are given the power to defend themselves against “encroachments.” Separation of Powers and the Rise of Divided Government Democratic Congresses struggled with the Nixon and Reagan administrations for control over war and spending powers A republican house of representatives struggled for policy control and eventually impeached Bill Clinton (although the senate did not convict him) Today, conservative Republican House and Senate majorities battle President Obama for power Checks and Balances: The Rationality Principle at Work The idea behind checks and balances is perhaps the clearest expression of the rationality principle at work “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place.”- James Madison, Federalist 51 Checks and Balances and the Debt-Ceiling Increase Congressional Republicans wanted spending cuts, including cuts to Medicare President Obama insisted on tax increases on the wealthy and defense spending cuts Checks and balances kept each side from dictating terms to the other Checks and Balances and the Fiscal Cliff At the end of 2012, Congress and the president faced the “fiscal cliff,” a combination of spending cuts and significant tax increases set to kick in unless a different agreement could be reached Eventually, the parties agreed to increase taxes on those earning over $400,000 and set a deadline for the sequester later on The Role of the Supreme Court Has Evolved over Time Judicial Review: The Court’s ability to strike down presidential actions or laws passed by Congress Used sparingly for most of American History Used more frequently in recent years Collective Action or Collective-Action Problem? Do federalism and the separation of powers facilitate collective action or create new collective-action problems? Both are true: -By dispersing power, collective action is made more difficult -By giving each branch some influence over the others, these institutions facilitate negotiation, compromise, and moderation