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Pitt PS 0200 - Constitution

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PS 200 1st Edition Lecture 3Chapter 2: The Constitution and the FoundingI. The Historical Context of the ConstitutionA. Articles of Confederation: The First Attempt at Government1. Articles of Confederation: first attempt at a new American government. It swung too far in the direction of a limited government.2. Limited government: political system in which powers of the government are restricted to prevent tyranny by protecting property and individual rights3. Written in 1776 during Second Constitutional Congress. Served as basis for organizing government 4. All power given to states, no leader, any changes to Articles required 9/13 approval5. Trade among states and with foreign government was complicated and inefficient6. Shay’s rebellion exposed discontent with new government.B. Political Theories of the Framers1. Broad consensus (1) rejection of monarchy (2)popular control of gov through republic monarchy(3) limitations on government power that would protect individual rights and personal property2. Republican democracy: a form of government in which interests of people are represented through elected leaders3. Monarchy: form of government in which power is held by a single person4. Republicanism: government in which elected leaders represent view of people5. Three crucial ideas: Equality, self-rule, natural rights6. “consent of the governed”: government gains its legitimacy through regular elections in which the people living under that government participate to elect their leaders7. Natural rights: “unalienable rights” “life, liberty, and he pursuit of happiness”. Central purpose8. Federalist Papers: written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. Sway public opinion in favor of Federalists’ position9. Federalist 51: need for republican government and separated powers10. Federalist 10: central problem for government is to control factionsC. Economic Interests1. Class differences among Americans were insignificant in comparison to those in Europe2. Regional differences3. Favored stronger national government and reform of Articles of Confederation4. Federalists vs AntifederalistsII. The Politics of Compromise at the Constitutional ConventionA. There were many tensions over the changes that required political compromiseB. Majority Rule Versus Minority Rights1. A central problem is protecting minority rights within a system ruled by majority2. Madison defined faction as a group motivated by selfish interests against the common good. These notes represent a detailed interpretation of the professor’s lecture. GradeBuddy is best used as a supplement to your own notes, not as a substitute.3. Factions must be set against one another to counter one another’s ambitions and prevent the tyranny of any single majority faction.4. Done through separation of powers in the form of checks and balances5. Pluralism: idea that having a variety of parties and interests within a government will strengthen the system, ensuring that no group possesses total controlC. Small States Versus Large States1. Virginia Plan: proposed by larger states that representation based on population and other things to strengthen national government2. New Jersey Plan: proposed by smaller states that each state should receive equal representation in national legislature, regardless of size3. Great Compromise: proposed by Connecticut that Congress would have two houses: a Senate with two legislators per state and House of Reps where each state would be based on populationD. Legislative Power Versus Executive Power1. How much power should the president have relative to the legislative branch2. Limiting Presidential Powera. Idea of a single executive was rejected by delegatesb. Agreed upon a single executive, but constrained the power by system of checks and balancesc. Gave president “veto” power which could be overruled by Congress with 2/3 votes in both housesd. Antifederalists scared of open-ended powers. Madison reassured them by saying they would be clearly enumerated in the Constitution. e. Constitution gives one extraordinary power: power to grant reprieves and pardons3. Selecting the Presidenta. Issues of majority rule and minority rights, state vs national power, and nature of executive power itself. b. Parliamentary system: legislative and executive power is closely joined. Parliament selects chief executive who forms the cabinet from members of parliamentc. Framers recommended (1) president would be selected by electoral college, representation based on number of reps and senators in Congress for each state (2) members of each state’s legislature would determine method for choosing their state’s electorsd. Didn’t work. Because political parties emerged and electors became agents of parties. 12thamendment required that electors cast separate votes for president and vice president. E. National Power Versus State and Local Power1. Issues of national power superseding state laws, apportionment in legislature, slavery, regulation of commerce and taxation, and the amending process. 2. Federalism, division of power among autonomous levels of government, was the compromise3. Reserved powers: powers that are not given to the national government by the Constitution, or not prohibited to the states, are reserved by the states or the people4. National supremacy clause (Article VI): any national law is supreme law of land and takes precedence over any state law that conflicts with it. F. Slave States Versus NonSlave States1. Slave states didn’t want slaves to count because they didn’t receive same benefits as citizens. NonSlave states wanted them to count due to tax burden. 2. Compromise that a slave would count as 3/5 of a person for tax purposes3. 3/5 Compromise: each slave would count as 3/5 of a person to determine number of House members and distribution of taxes4. Northern states agreed to return runaway slaves and southern states agreed to allow Congress to regulate commerce and tax imports with a simple majority voteIII. RatificationA. The Antifederalists’ Concerns1. Most worried about role of president, transfer of power from states to national gov, and lack of specific guarantees of civil liberties2. Most important objection was lack of protections for civil liberties 3. Wanted a Bill of RightsB. The Federalists’ Strategies1. Federalist Papers2. Federalists agreed to add Bill of Rights. Essential for support from NY, Mass, and VirginiaIV. The Constitution: A


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