American Government and Politics Chapter 2-3 Notes
American Government and Politics Chapter 2-3 Notes PLS 102-04
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nat Rantala on Saturday October 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PLS 102-04 at Grand Valley State University taught by Sheri. L. Rogers in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see American Government and Politics in Political Science at Grand Valley State University.
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Date Created: 10/15/16
PLS 102 Textbook: American Politics Today Chapter 2 The Constitution and the Founding Chapter notes Constitution Articles of Confederation was the first national document written in 1781 The United States has the oldest Constitution in the world. After WW1 we wrote Germany’s Constitution and Japan’s after WWII. Constitution was written in 1787 after it was agreed the Articles of Confederation failed. Confederation is a loose organization States were powerful, and the national government was weak. o No executive branch o No judiciary/ no enforcement o Only a legislature 1 state 1 vote Why the Articles Failed o Weak Congress Couldn’t tax so they could not pay war debts Couldn’t enforce laws because they lacked a judiciary branch o Strong States They feared that power would be centralized like when they had a king Controlled interstate commerce Individual currencies Own foreign policies o Practically impossible to amend In order to do so, it required unanimous support from all the states. Constitutional Convention (1787) Major Issues o Rhode Island refused to send a delegate to the convention because they were the smallest and benefitted the most from the Articles of Confederation. Large states v small state Majority rule v minority protections National power v state power Legislative power v executive power Slave v nonslave states Federalists o Supported new constitution o Stronger national government o A single executive with specific power o That national government did not threaten liberty o Constitution protected the Antifederalists o Opposed new constitution o Favored strong state gov o Favored an executive constrained by the legislature with limited powers o Wanted explicit protection of civil liberties o Opposed national regulations on commerce o Felt the constitution favored the wealthy over the small farms. Authors of the Federalist: John Jay, Madison, and Hamilton What mechanism did Madison propose to prevent the concentration of power? o He suggested the separation of powers and how no one will have more power than the rest but they will be equal yet to be able to hold the other branches accountable and in check. How do each of these mechanisms prevent the concentration of power? o Instead of being unicameral, make it bicameral and elections for each position would be different and each would have a different power and they all had a power held over the others and checks that would keep power from being concentrated in one branch. Virginia Plan (1. large state v small state) o Get rid of the Articles of Confederation o Bicameral legislature (power to populous states) o One executive chosen by the legislature o Strong judiciary New Jersey Plan o Keep Articles of Confederation o Keep a unicameral legislature (with 1 state 1 vote), but give it more power. o At least two executive branches chosen by the legislature o Weak judiciary Connecticut Compromise o Bicameral legislature o House of Representatives number of delegates determined by population o Senate each state gets two members Threefifths Compromise o The southern states first said that the slaves should not be counted in the Articles of Confederation because they didn’t get any rights anyway, but since the House of Representatives has delegate based on number, they wanted the slaves to count as citizens Constitution: Key Provisions o It would take effect after 9 of the 13 states ratified it, all of them eventually ratified it, lastly Rhode Island o Limited government o Rule of Law o Separation of powers o Checks and Balances Federalism th o Reserved powers Constitution reserves powers for the states, 10 amendment o Supremacy clause national law is the superior law of the land Content o 7 Articles and 27 amendments o Amending the Constitution, 2/3 of Congress and ¾ of States o Only 17 times has the Constitution has been ratified in the past 200+ years o Article 1 The Legislature Describes how members are chosen and lists power Elastic clause allows the legislature the power to expand for necessary and proper reasons Enumerated powers are powers explicitly given to the states o Article 2 The Executive Describes who may be President, the powers of the President, and the electoral college. o Article 3 Judicial Creates a Supreme Court Given 2 powers, settle disputes problems between states or between the federal government and a state government Judicial Review (Marbury v Madison, 1803) – the power to evaluate laws to determine whether or not they are constitutional. Interpretation of Constitution o Originalism Original meaning Inflexible (process for amending) Clear principles (not relative) Politics cannot influence interpretations o Living Constitutions Intent Dynamic (evolving interpretations) Modern views on contemporary issues (outdates views may be inappropriate) No single interpretation Bill of Rights o First ten amendments o Ratified in 1791 because antifederalists wanted explicit protection of individual rights Constitution and the Three Principles of Politics o Politics is conflict o The political process matters: the constitution created the process for politics o Politics is everywhere Why has the Constitution endured? o Certain parts are ignored o Ambiguous: the language is general and is open to interpretation o It can be amended o Allows for multiple interpretations Challenges o Gridlock (separation of powers) o Communication technology (freedom of speech, privacy) o Terrorism (due process laws) o Healthcare (federalism) What are some arguments for replacing the Constitution? o Its outdated o It doesn’t apply to modern day What are some arguments for keeping the Constitution? o A new one would cause so many new problems o Should we keep it, or replace it? Why? Chapter 3 Federalism Unitary system is what most other countries have, most power comes from the central government Federal system, power is spread throughout state, local and national government. The U.S. has 89,000 governments Confederate system, weak national government but strong state power Advantages of Federalism o Allows more access to government o Provides a check on national power o Allows for policy experimentation o Promotes competition among states, states want people and jobs Disadvantages of Federalism o It may mask discrimination o It is more difficult and costly o Justice may be administered unevenly o Creates negative competition, states compete that cut cost that cut services, a race to the bottom. Federalism and the Constitution o Enumerated powers, expressly listed to certain governments Full faith and credit clause Privileges and Immunities Clause o Implied powers Not specifically listed but given indirectly to the government o Reserved powers Reserves powers to states o Concurrent powers Exercised by both state and national government o Prohibited powers Powers denied to one level of government o Supremacy clause th o 14 amendment Equal protection clause Types of Federalism o Dual Federalism Means that there is a clear distinction between the powers and responsibilities o Cooperative Federalism Overlapping functions, marble cake o Coercive Federalism The federal government can put pressure on state governments to do something o Fiscal Federalism The national government takes in more money with taxes and they allocate money for policies o Categorical Grants Specifically designated for a certain purpose/ policy Advantages Redistribution of resources Party competition is low in some states Large interest groups cannot exclusively dominate federal policies. Reduce risk of “race to the bottom” o Block Grants Money is given to the states under a broad category Advantages Promotes competition among states to provide the best services at the lowest tax rates Creates opportunities for local actors to influence policy Tailors policy choice to local needs Provides a check on national power Competitive Federalism o Shifting power o Competition for grants Who should control policy? Federal government or state governments? o Drinking ages o Healthcare policy o Gun control o Immigration policy Reflection Question: Choose one of the following policies is the federal government or are state governments best equipped to address this issue? Why? o Samesex marriage o Medical marijuana o Education o Welfare policy Key Terms I. Articles of Confederation: sent to the states for ratification in 1777, these were the first attempt at a new American government. It was a later decided that the Articles restricted national government too much, and they were replaced by the Constitution. II. Limited government: A political system in which the powers of the government are restricted to prevent tyranny by protecting property and individual rights III. Monarchy: Cha