module 1 - merged

Author: ericccao

Post on 02-Jun-2018




0 download

Embed Size (px)


  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    Why Government?

    Key concepts

    I. The basis for creating governmentPeople create government through a social contract to resolve conflicts, protect the weak, and to set rules for behavior.

    II. Agreement on the core roles of governmentMost Americans agree that government should maintain order, provide for national defense, and promote the general welfare.

    III. Disagreements about promoting the general welfareAmericans disagree about whether government should redistribute income or the extent that individual liberties should berestricted.

    IV. Government is neededGovernment may be a necessary evil, but it provides necessary services.

    I. The basis for creating government

    Thomas Hobbes, a 17th-century English philosopher, believed that without government people would be in perpetualconflict.

    During the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called War;and such a war as is of every man against every man.Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Ch. XIII), 1651

    Hobbes also thought that without government peoples lives would be little better than animals.

    [N]o knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continualfear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Ch. XIII), 1651

    All societies have formed governments, but some people have thought government unnecessary.

    I heartily accept the motto, That government is best which governs least . . . Carried out, it finally amounts to this, whichI also believe,That government is best which governs not at all. " Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, 1849

    Nobody's wallet is safe when the legislature is in session.Murphy

    A. People create government because:1. they do not always get along2. the strong may abuse the weak 3. some of them may be irresponsible4. conflicts need to be resolved

    a) Hobbes (15881679) advocated a master ruler he called Leviathan. b) John Locke (16321704) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (17121778) argued for a social contract.

    social contract : A hypothetical agreement among members of a society (or between a society and its ruler) regarding therights and duties of each.

    B. A social contract asks citizens to exchange some freedom for governmental protection.

    1 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    1. The U.S. Constitution is a social contract.2. The framers spelled out the terms of the contract in the preamble:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    II. Agreement on the core roles of government

    Government has three primary tasks:A. Maintaining order and security

    1. People generally do not wanta) anarchy Hobbes war of every man against every man. b) vigilante justice people taking the law into their own hands.

    2. Locke claimed that governments should protect life, liberty, and property.3. His words became part of the Constitution in the 5th and 14th amendments.

    No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of lawU.S. Constitution, Amendment V

    [N]or shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of lawU.S. Constitution, Amendment XIV, Section 1

    B. Providing for the common defense1. National defense is the responsibility of the federal governmentnot the people themselves or the states.

    Example: In the 1970s, Governor Meldrim Thomson of New Hampshire requested nuclear weapons for the state National Guard to use against potential encroachment from Maine or Quebec. His request wasdenied.In the same spirit, Governor Thomson urged residents of Nantucket to secede from Massachusetts and join New Hampshire.

    C. Promoting the general welfare1. Governments:

    a) provide public goods

    public good : Goods or services available to all citizens and which are unlikely to be produced by the market. Examplesinclude highways, national defense, public health, and air-traffic control.

    b) solve the free rider problem.

    free rider : The ability of an individual to enjoy the benefits from a collective action without having to pay for the benefit.

    Example: Everyone wants clean air.(1) Cars with expensive pollution-control equipment pollute the air much less than cars withoutit.(2) If everyone takes a free rideavoids buying less-polluting carsexpecting others to paythe price, no one will have clean air.

    2. The government may provide some public goods. Examples: Electric utilities, public transportation, interstate highways, airportsa) Some governments run airlines, telephone companies, railroads, television and radio networks, andmedical care. b) The government plays a role in the economy through taxing, spending, and regulating the moneysupply.

    sidebar : Approximately one-third of the U.S. GDP is attributable to government expenditures.

    III. Disagreements about promoting the general welfare

    A. Should governments regulate business?1. Advocates believe that government may

    a) prevent monopoly power b) be able to resolve disputes between businesses Thinkwell Corp.2

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    2. Opponents believe that regulationa) is inefficient and counterproductive b) creates red tape and bureaucracy

    B. Should governments redistribute income? Note: Governments redistribute income through

    a) progressive income taxes

    progressive income tax : A tax system in which the tax rate rises as income rises.

    b) Social Security and Medicarec) tax credits to businessd) welfare.

    2. Advocates believe that redistributiona) provides for the common good b) helps poor people live better lives

    3. Opponents believea) redistribution leads to inefficiency and dependency.

    C. Should governments promote equality over individual freedom?1. Americans believe in the rule of law and in treating people equally.2. Citizens in other countries emphasize collective welfare over individual freedom.

    D. How should governments protect individual freedom?

    1. People disagree abouta) drug laws b) safety belts in carsc) the right to an abortiond) hate speech

    E. Should governments guarantee equality of opportunity or equality of results?

    IV. Government is needed

    A. Is government a necessary evil?1. It is necessary and may, at times, be evil.2. Government provides many of the goods and services necessary for a modern society.3. Government protects citizens rights.

    4. Government stabilizes the economy.

    3 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    Who Governs?

    Key concepts

    I. AnarchyAnarchy (no government) is efficient, but lacks a method for resolving disputes.

    II. MonarchyMonarchy (government by a hereditary leader) is efficient, but usually results in arbitrary leadership.

    III. OligarchyOligarchy (rule by elites) is efficient, but usually becomes arbitrary and self-serving.

    IV. Direct democracyDirect democracy (all citizens participating in all decisions) is inefficient, but eliminates arbitrariness.

    V. Representative democracyRepresentative democracy (decision-makingby elected representatives) is inefficient, but eliminates many of the disadvantagesof other systems.

    I. Anarchy

    anarchy : The condition of having no government and no laws.

    In anarchy, citizens set their own rules and act in their own self-interest.A. Advantages

    1. Simple2. No bureaucracy3. Maximum freedom4. Few constraints

    B. Disadvantages1. No method of

    a) resolving disputes b) protecting the weak from the strongc) prevent the irresponsible from harming others

    II. Monarchy

    monarchy : Governance by a hereditary, unelected leader, often based on perceived divine right.

    Monarchy is the most common way people throughout history have organized governments.A. Advantage

    1. Efficiencya) The monarch decrees laws and everyone obeys them (or else).

    B. Disadvantage1. Arbitrariness

    a) Citizens have no protection against the monarchs whims.

    1 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    III. Oligarchy

    oligarchy : Government by a small, elite group.

    Oligarchy is government by elites.A. Advantages

    1. Some people are smarter and wiser than ordinary citizens. Note: Most organizations are run by elites; most people in a society are unprepared to govern.

    2. When the most competent people rule, society is protected from the uninformed.Joseph Schumpeter (18831950) : Austrian political economist who developed a unique philosophy of capitalism anddemocratic political institutions.

    When a typical citizen of democracy turns toward politics he yields to extra-rational or irrational prejudices and impulses.He will relax his usual moral standards as well, and occasionally give in to dark urges. This may prove fatal to his nation. Joseph Schumpeter,Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (1942)

    B. Disadvantages1. Elites may be

    a) self-serving b) evilc) arbitraryd) unconcerned with protecting individual rights

    C. Does the United States have elements of elitist rule?1. American sociologist C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) wrote The Power Elite (1956).

    a) Mills claimed that an elite group of corporationscontrols theU.S. economy, government, entertainment,and food supply.

    Example: A small number of corporations control the flow of vast amounts of information.2. President Eisenhower warned of a military-industrial complex in 1961.

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. President Dwight Eisenhower, Farewell Address, January 17, 1961

    military-industrial complex : An informal alliance of military leaders and corporations that devise schemes for spendingtax revenue for its own benefit.

    IV. Direct democracy

    History provides very few examples of direct democracy.

    direct democracy : A model of government in which all citizens meet periodically to discuss and then vote on almost allmatters related to government.

    Example: In ancient Athens, all citizens met to pass laws and discuss all government matters.

    sidebar : Athenian citizenship was limited to native-born adult maleswomen and slaves were excluded.

    A. Remnants of direct democracy remain in some New England towns.1. Adult citizens meet once a year to vote on budgets and make other political decisions.

    B. Advantages1.Reduces the opportunities for arbitrariness.

    C. Disadvantages1. Direct democracy is very inefficient.2. Many people will not participate because of time constraints.3. Many people will be ill informed.4. The rights of minorities may be sacrificed. Note: The Founders feared that direct democracy would deteriorate into mob rule as it did in ancient Athens. Thinkwell Corp.2

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    There is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party, or an obnoxious individual. James Madison, Federalist No. 10, November 22, 1787

    V. Representative democracy

    In a representative democracy, citizens delegate political authority to others.

    representative democracy : A republic; specifically, a government whose authority is obtainedand held, directlyor indirectly,through free elections in which all competent adult citizens are allowed to participate.

    A. Characteristics1. Regular, fair elections2. The right to express ideas and criticize candidates3. The right to vote Note: The governments of the U.S. and most other western countries are representative democracies.

    B. Advantages1. Representative democracy

    a) limits arbitrary government b) protects individual rightsc) may protect minoritiesd) creates loyalty and legitimacy

    C. Disadvantages1. Representative democracy

    a) is slow and inefficient b) may oppress minoritiesc) may be overwhelmed by ignorant and intolerant votersd) may be hijacked by corporate wealth

    2. Constitutions and bills of rights limit the actions of government, guard against tyrannical majorities, and protect minority rights. Not all western democracies have these safeguards.

    Bill of RightsConstitutionCountry

    yes (1791)yes (1788)United States

    no*noUnited Kingdom

    yes (1960)yes (1982)Canada

    noyes (1900)Australia

    *An English Bill of Rights in 1689 dealt only with relations between parliament and the monarch.

    3. When deciding among different forms of government, people have tried to increase the advantages andreduce the shortcomings of each.4. Democracywarts and allmay offer the most benefits and fewest drawbacks of any system so far.

    3 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    Political Power

    Key concepts

    I. What is political power?Political power concerns the ways government enforces laws and distributes political benefits.

    II. Sources of political powerPolitical power is generally derived from force or legitimacy.

    III. Democratic legitimacyPolitical power in a democracy is grantedand can be withdrawnby the people acting as individuals or in groups.

    I. What is political power?

    A. For many people, political power is a negative phrase.1. For many years in Chicago, it implied organized theft, sleaze, corruption, and get rich quick schemes. Itwas seen as a way to

    a) enrich oneself b) find jobs for ones relatives

    B. Political power can be a valuable resource.1. It can be used to make life better for people.2. Politics can be a noble calling.3. People can dedicate their careers to creating a more just society.

    C. Harold Lasswell provided a neutral definition: Political power is who gets what, when, and how.D. Political power involves

    1. causing others to modify their behavior as the government wants2. deciding who does and does not receive political benefits

    II. Sources of political power

    A. Force1. The main way in which governments get and maintain power

    Example : Mao Tse-tung: Political power comes from the barrel of a gun.2. Historically, political power almost always involves violence.

    a) Governments use(1) violence to make people obey laws(2) secret police, spies, the army

    b) Force is used in the U.S., where citizens(1) obey laws to avoid going to jail(2) avoid behavior that would incur a fine

    B. Legitimacy

    political legitimacy : The widespread acceptance that government has the authority to make decisions.

    1. The widespread acceptance thata) government has the authority to make decisions b) officials are appropriately designated to actc) citizens have the obligation to obey

    2. This makes governmenta) much easier

    1 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    b) cheaper (1) Reduces the cost of using force if citizens voluntarily obey laws

    c) more productive(1) People do not live in fear of arrest or pain.(2) People are happier.

    3. Origins of legitimacya) Monarchy: The king claims the divine right to rule. b) Oligarchy: People believe elites are superior and better able to rule.

    c) Democracy: The people grant authority.

    sidebar: The word democracy comes from the Greek words demos (the people) and kratos (authority).

    III. Democratic legitimacy

    A. Legitimacy in a democracy1. People elect leaders

    a) for fixed terms b) with the option of voting them out at the next election

    2. Government decisionsa) reflect what the people want, or b) the people vote the bums out of office

    B. Dictators often try to appear democratic through1. elections with just one candidate2. lifetime terms

    C. Concerns about legitimacy in a democracy1. Roughly half of Americans do not bother to vote, even in presidential elections.2. Many citizens believe that voting is irrelevant.3. Majority wishes do not always prevail.4. The public is often not fully informed on all issues.5. Equality of justice is not always achieved.6. Citizens lives, liberty, and pursuit of happiness are sometimes restrained.

    D. The theory of pluralism addresses these concerns.

    pluralism : A society in which autonomous groups seek political power in order to achieve their goals.

    1. Democratic institutions prosper as groups compete to obtain their goals.a) Groups represent individuals interests without their direct involvement. b) No one group can gain too much power because of the competition.c) Decisions will be compromises.

    2. Criticism of pluralisma) Powerful economic interests have inordinate power to get what they want.

    Example : E. E. Schattschneider, a political scientist, wrote:The flaw in the pluralist heaven is that the heavenly chorus sings with a strong upper-classaccent.(1) Not all interest groups are equal.(2) Groups with more power represent the wealthiest citizens.(3) Powerful groups convince average folks to identify with corporate interests.

    b) Charles Lindbloom, a political scientist, claims that business:(1) has a privileged position in America(2) uses its position to subvert legitimacy(3) has ready access to

    politiciansthe mass media

    (4) creates circularity- business is able to convince people that they actually want what business wants- voters do not challenge business goals- the government gives business what it wants Thinkwell Corp.2

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    Conclusion:Democracy has flaws, but its procedures for correcting them allow citizens to make changes and decide how power is exercised.

    3 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    Britain and the Colonies

    Key concepts

    I. Life in the early coloniesAlthough the colonists settled in America for many different reasons, they eventually developed a common set of understandingsabout their government.

    II. Establishing coloniesEngland established colonies by social compacts, through joint stock companies, and by land grants. Each method entailed adifferent set of social arrangements.

    III. Colonists and popular sovereigntyThe colonists eventually claimed a certain amount of popular sovereignty and demanded economic and political rights as

    English citizens.IV. Grievances leading to rebellionWhen Britain continued to deny the colonists rights as British subjects, their grievances led to acts of rebellion.

    I. Life in the early colonies

    A. American settlers came from all over Europe, but predominantly from England.1. English settlers

    a) founded Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607 Note: The first slaves were traded in America in 1619.

    b) reached Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620.B. Government

    1. The colonists came from varied political backgrounds.2. They reached common understandings about their governance, including ideas about

    a) popular sovereignty b) the fundamental right of self-governmentc) their rights as English subjects

    C. Colonial life was better in America than it had been in Europe.1. Colonists enjoyed economic and political liberties:

    a) Freedom to buy and sell property b) Freedom to work in any chosen occupation (no guilds)c) Unrestricted wagesd) Freedom of movement

    2. Some colonies instituted religious intolerance.a) Puritans

    (1) came to America seeking religious freedom(2) set up a theocracy in Massachusetts

    theocracy : A government structure in which religious leaders establish the rules based on their interpretations of religiousdoctrine.

    b) Female religious dissenters could be tried and executed for being witches.c) Nine colonies set up state churches.

    (1) Many colonists believed that they were necessary for civil order.

    II. Arrangements for establishing colonies

    1 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    A. Compacts1. Social agreements made by the people to decide how to govern themselves.

    Example: Mayflower Compact of 1620

    sidebar : Mayflower Compact of 1620In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, ofGreat Britain, France and Ireland , King, Defender of the Faith, &c.Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country,

    a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern Parts of Virginia;do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presenceof God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering andPreservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equalLaws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for theGeneral good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November , in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King Jamesof England, France and Ireland , the eighteenth, and ofScotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini,1620.

    2. Political power came from the people, not the king.3. People made their own arrangements about how to govern.

    B. Joint stock companies

    1. Colonies formed by investors. Examples: Massachusetts Bay and Virginia

    2. British investors formed the companies to extract raw materials and ship them to England.3. The colonies were governed by the company stockholders.4. The colonists decided many things for themselves because of the time it took to receive instructions fromLondon.

    C. Land grants from the Crown1. In 1632, Lord Baltimore was granted the territory that later became Maryland.2. New York, New Jersey, Carolina, and Pennsylvania were created by land grants.

    III. Colonists and popular sovereignty

    A. The colonists at first had no say in how they were governed. They later began to assert the right to popular sovereignty.B. By the 1700s, colonists from every colony were demanding their rights as English subjects. They

    1. modeled their demands for rights on the British constitution

    sidebar : The British constitution is a mixture of tradition, custom, and practice and has never been written down. Theconstitution mainly concerns the relation between the monarch and parliament.

    2. wanted to recreate the fabric of English life3. looked to the House of Commons and British common law as a model for settling political disputes

    sidebar : The basis of British law is the common law, or the law established over time through custom and court decisions,not legislation. Much American law is grounded in British common law.

    4. sought protections for individual rights under British lawa) Habeas corpus

    habeas corpus : (Latin foryou should have thebody) The rightof protection against unlimited imprisonment unless formallycharged by a court.

    b) The general rule of lawc) The British legal system with public trials and juriesd) Protection from arbitrary government

    IV. Grievances leading to rebellion

    A. The British controlled foreign affairs, defense, and trade. Thinkwell Corp.2

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    1. The British extracted raw materials (timber, metals, wool) and sent them to England for processing.

    mercantilism : Economic system of the European nations from the 16th to 18th centuries based on the theory that nationalwealth and power were best served by exporting finished goods to colonies and in turn extracting raw materials from them.

    2. The Navigation Act of 1660, the Wool Act (1698), and the Iron Act (1750) prevented the colonies fromtrading with other countries.

    B. Britain taxed the colonies to finance their administration.1. The Sugar Act of 1764 imposed tariffs (import taxes) on sugar, coffee, wine, and other popular goods.2. The Stamp Act of 1765 imposed a tax on all kinds of printed material.

    sidebar : The Stamp Act did not tax postage stampsthey would not be invented for another 75 years. It required paper goods like newspapers, legal documents, books, pamphlets, and playing cards to be printed on specially stamped (watermarked) paper.

    a) The colonists boycotted goods covered by the Stamp Act. b) The Continental Congress declared the act to be taxation without representation.c) Parliament repealed the act in 1766.

    C. The Tea Act of 1773

    sidebar : The Tea Act was intended to save the ailing British East India Company, which had 17 million pounds of unsoldtea at the time. The company was a major source of tax revenue for the British government.

    1. Taxed tea (among other things)2. Led the colonists to boycott British goods3. Protests over the act culminated in the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773.

    a) Over 300 chests of tea were dumped into Boston Harbor. b) The Sons of Libertyinstigators of the partycried, Boston harbor a tea-pot this night.

    D. British reactionThe die is now cast. The colonies must either submit or triumph.George III of England 1. Britain closed Boston Harbor and placed the Boston government under British control.E. Why were the colonists rebelling?

    [T]he American revolution was not fought to obtain freedom, but to preserve the liberties the Americans already had as

    colonists.Samuel Eliot Morrison, Oxford History of the American People (1965)

    1. They wanted an end to unfair taxation and regulations.2. They wanted local self-government.3. They wanted a continuation of their rights as English citizens.

    3 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    An Introduction to Political Culture

    Key concepts

    I. Definition of political culturePolitical culture can be defined as the shared set of beliefs, values, and expectations a group or country holds about political processes.

    II. Political culture and decisionsPolitical culture can be determined by examining how political and economic decisions are made.

    III. The four types of political cultureThe four major types of political culture are communism, socialism, state capitalism, and market democracy.

    IV. Differences among the four typesPolitical cultures place varying emphasis on security, liberty, and equality. U.S. political culture can be best understood byexperiencing others.

    I. Defining political culture

    political culture : Generally shared beliefs, values, norms, and expectations of a group or country about government and political processes.

    A. Political culture1. refers to the expectations citizens have about government and its operation2. is distinct from a particular form of government (like monarchy or representative democracy)3. can be determined by examining a peoples beliefs and expectations about several concepts

    B. To understand a countrys political culture, ask some questions:1. Equality For whom? Under what circumstances?2. Liberty For whom? For what? When? How?3. Individuals and groups Which is more important? Is emphasis placed on individual activity or group effortand consensus?4. Security Should the government provide it, or should people be responsible for their own?

    II. Political culture and decisions

    A. Describing political culture can also be done by looking at who makes political decisions.1. Do citizens or the government make most political decisions?

    Examples : Who chooses the location of roads? Who establishes relations with other countries?B. Political culture can also be described by looking at how a countrys economic decisions are made.

    Examples : Do individuals working in a market economy make the decisions?Does the state make economic decrees that the citizens obey?

    sidebar : An economic system in which the state establishes economic priorities and owns the means of economic productionis called a command economy.

    III. The four types of political culture

    A. Communism1. A political culture in which people value state decisions in politics and economics.2. Equality is preferred to liberty.

    Example : The former USSR

    1 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    sidebar : There are very few communist countries today. The Peoples Republic of China, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cubaare among the only ones.

    B. Socialism1. Citizens have a large say in political decisions.2. The state guides the economy (determining wages and income levels, etc.).

    Example : The Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway, and Denmark)C. State capitalism

    1. The state rather than its citizens has a strong political voice and provides political direction.2. The market drives the economy. Example : Most of Latin America

    D. Market democracy1. Citizens believe that they control the government and that it works for them.2. The market drives the economy.

    Example : The United States

    IV. Differences among the four types

    A. Compared to other cultures, market democracies tend to be individualistic and to value liberty more than equality.1. In Sweden (a socialist culture), economic leaders believe the ratio of a CEOs salary to that of a janitor should be 2:1.

    2. In the U.S., economic leaders say it should be as much as 20:1.

    sidebar : For the largest U.S. corporations, the ratio is closer to 400:1.

    B. Security, associated with greater state control, is valued less by market democracies than by other cultures.1. Cultures other than market democracies believe the state should provide housing, health care, and educationfor citizens.2. Market democracies believe that individuals are responsible for these things. Note: Generalizations about political cultures are stereotypes not everyone in a political culture whollysubscribes to the cultures predominant beliefs.

    C. Political cultures reflect values and expectations rather than behavior, though political cultures influence behavior. Example : Though the U.S. is a market democracy, the government has a great deal of political power. Thoughthe U.S. has a market economy, the government regulates the economy to some extent.

    Conclusion:To understand U.S. political culture better, travel abroad, experience the strengths and weaknesses of other politicalcultures, and learn how the rest of the world sees the U.S. Thinkwell Corp.2

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    The Foundations of American Culture

    Key concepts

    I. Definition of political culturePolitical scientists define American distinctiveness by referring to American political culture, the shared values and beliefsof Americans regarding the organization of government and society.

    II. Principles of American political cultureAmerican political culture is organized around liberty, equality, democracy, capitalism, and religious faith.

    III. Inconsistencies and contradictionsAmerican political practice has often fallen short of its ideals, but the inconsistencies have created tensions that have in turndrawn the practices nearer the ideals. American political culture is succinctly summed up in the Pledge of Allegiance.

    I. Definition of political culture

    What does it mean to be an American?A. The question might bring to mind images of national holidays such as the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Easter, or images of political activities like demonstrating for or against a particular policy.B. It might also bring to mind people of all races and languages coming together to form one nation.C. Political scientists define Americans by referring to American political culture, which has evolved since the countrysfounding.

    political culture : Generally shared beliefs, values, norms, and expectations of a group or country about government and political processes.

    Note: A shared political culture does not mean that all citizens agree about all aspects of the culture.

    II. Principles of American political culture

    American political culture is based on five core elements: liberty, equality, democracy, capitalism, and belief in God.A. Liberty

    sidebar : Patrick Henry made a speech in support of the American revolution on March 23, 1775, before the Virginia Houseof Burgesses (the colonial assembly). He ended the speechwith thewords Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchasedat the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, giveme liberty or give me death!

    1. Americans believe

    a) they should be able to do as they please b) the government should not constrain their choices

    sidebar : The freedom to do as one pleases is called positive liberty; the freedom from interference with ones actions iscalled negative liberty.

    c) they should be able to live their lives as they see fit as long as they do not hurt othersd) in individualism the idea that they are best able to make decisions about their lives

    2. Americans conception of liberty leads to tolerance.a) Because they want to live their lives as they see fit, they will allow others to do likewise.

    B. Equality

    1 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    1. Americans believe ina) equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes

    (1) All Americans should begin their lives with an equal chance of success, but without a guaranteeof equal results at the end of their lives.

    b) political equality, not economic equality(1) In politics, everyone gets one vote.(2) In economics, there is no comparable practice for ensuring equality.

    c) equal treatment under the law

    (1) The wealthiest and most powerful Americans should be subject to the same legal system asthe poorest and weakest Americans.

    C. Democracy1. Americans are committed to democracy.2. The particularly American belief in democracy includes:

    a) Freedom of political expression(1) All people should be able to

    (a) say what they want(b) campaign as they wish(c) advocate whatever policies they prefer

    b) Majority rule(1) After campaigns and voting, the person receiving the most votes wins.(2) The margin of victory is unimportant.

    Example: In the 2000 presidential race, George W. Bush beat Al Gore by a small number of votes in Florida, which gave Bush the state and the election.

    c) Protection of minority rights(1) Everyone will be in a minority at some point.(2) The majority should not be able to oppress minorities or trample their rights.

    d) Distrust of government(1) Americans are suspicious of governments that have too much power.(2) Americans want to keep government under popular control so that the peoples interestsnotthe governmentsare paramount.

    D. Capitalism1. Americans want the freedom to

    a) buy, make, and sell whatever they want b) live wherever they choose

    2. It is a distinctly American trait to accept widely unequal economic outcomes. Example: In the U.S., less than 30% of the people believe that the government should work to equalizeincomes. In Hungary and Italy, the percentage is closer to 80%.a) Unlike most Europeans, few Americans believe that the government is responsible for caring for thevery poor or guaranteeing every citizen basic food and shelter. b) A majority of Americans believe that hard work guarantees success; a minority of Europeans believethis.

    Example: From 1972 to 1996, the percentage of Americans who believed the government shouldguarantee citizens a job stayed around 28%.

    E. Faith in God1. A high percentage of Americans believe that God is real and plays an important part in their lives anincreasingly rare belief in western democracies.

    sidebar : In the 1997 World Values Survey, 53% of Americans agreed with the statement that religion was very importantin their lives. In the United Kingdom, 16% agreed; in France and Germany, 13%.

    Example:From 1980 to 1998, nearly 80% of Americans claimed that religion is an important part of their lives.

    2. Americans believe in the free exercise of religion, not in a state-supported church.

    III. Inconsistencies and contradictions Thinkwell Corp.2

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    All Americans do not accept the principles of American political culture, and this has been true throughout U.S.history.

    Example: The Declaration of Independence states that All men are created equal, yet America toleratedslavery for almost 200 years.

    sidebar : The first slaves arrived in the American colonies in the 1670s, and slavery continued until ratification of the 13thAmendment in 1865. Many of the Founders were slave owners.

    Example: Women and ethnic minorities were denied the vote for most of U.S. history.1. These inconsistencies

    a) did not mean that early Americans were hypocrites b) created tensions that in each case were resolved in favor of equality

    A. Inconsistent beliefs regarding freedom of speech and the press1. Trouble with free speech

    a) Around 90%of Americansbelieve that people should be able to say what they want without restriction. b) Less than 25% would allow people to use a public building to denounce the government.

    2. Trouble with a free pressa) Around 80% of Americans believe in unfettered freedom of the press. b) Only 32% would allow the press to advocate overthrowing the government.

    B. Americans have come to have less trust in government.1. In 1958, around 72% of Americans generally trusted the government.

    2. That percentage has fallen steadily,a) reaching a low of 25% in 1978 b) increasing only to 30% in 1988

    sidebar : The periods when Americans trust in the government dropped most precipitously correspond to the Vietnam War and Watergate eras.

    C. Americans have become more tolerant of minorities.1. Minorities and freedom of speech

    a) From 1954 to 1994, the percentage of Americans who agreed that an admitted communist should beallowed to make a speech increased from 28% to 70%. b) The percentage of those agreeing that an antireligious person should be allowed to make a speechgrew from 38% to 72%.

    2. Minorities and freedom of the pressa) From 1954 to 1994, the percentage of Americans who agreed that libraries should carry books writteneither by a communist or an antireligious author increased from 29% to 69%.

    3. Minorities and political tolerancea) From 1930 to 1990, Americans became increasingly likely to consider qualified minority candidatesin presidential elections.

    (1) By 1990, around 90% of Americans would consider a Catholic or Jewish candidate.(2) Around 80% would consider a female candidate.(3) The percentages for atheists and homosexuals were much lower (45% and 40%), but hadincreased over time.

    sidebar : The Pledge of Allegiance remains the most succinct statement of Americans core political values.

    I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation,

    under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

    Note: Schoolchildren used to be required to say the pledge, but Americans increased tolerance for dissent has meantthat this is no longer true.

    sidebar : In West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) , the Supreme Court ruled that [t]o sustain the compulsoryflag salute we are required to say that a Bill of Rights which guards the individual's right to speak his own mind, left it opento public authorities to compel him to utter what is not in his mind"

    sidebar : The first version of the Pledge of Allegiance appeared in the magazine Youths Companion on September 8, 1892.

    3 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    Its authorship was disputed until 1939, when Francis Bellamy was declared the author. Congress mandated the addition of under God to the pledge in 1954. Thinkwell Corp.4

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    Unity and Diversity

    Key concepts

    I. UnityThe United States is unified by an agreed-upon government and a political culture with shared values and expectations.

    II. DiversitySources of diversity in the U.S. include ethnicity, language, religion, sexual identity, class, geography, and political interests.

    III. Implications of diversityIncreasing diversity means politicians have to appeal to wider groups and makes it difficult to define what it means to be anAmerican. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about these sorts of issues eloquently in the 1830s in Democracy in America.

    I. Unity

    A. E Pluribus Unumout of many, oneis found on all circulating U.S. coins.

    sidebar : The motto E Pluribus Unum is also found on the Great Seal of the United States.

    B. What unifies the United States as a country?1. Not race, religion, or ethnicity.2. Americans are unified by the government they have consented to and by a political culture with shared valuesand expectations.

    II. Diversity

    Many sources of diversity contribute to the richness of American life.A. Ethnicity

    1. American society includes whites, blacks, Asian-Americans, Latinos, and American Indians.2. By 2020, no ethnic group will contain a majority of American citizens.

    B. Language1. More than 100 languages are spoken in America.2. Spanish is so widely spoken that it is possible to live in the U.S. and rarely come into contact with English.3. Different languages cause people to see the world differently.

    C. Religion1. Americans include Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and other religious believers.

    D. Age1. The fastest growing age group in the U.S. comprises those over 85.2. Very old citizens may have different political goals and interests than younger voters.

    E. Gender and sexual identity1. Women make up a majority of the population and are beginning to play a more prominent role in politics.2. Homosexuals and other sexual minorities are also gaining visibility in society and politics.

    F. Class1. Many Americans prefer to believe that America is a classless society.2. Nevertheless, the United States has a lower, middle, and upper class.3. Different classes often have divergent political interests.

    G. Geography1. Within a country as large as the U.S., distinct regional differences have emerged.

    1 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    Examples: Southerners see the world differently than Northerners do.Yankees differ from cowboys.

    2. There are often geographical personalities within a state. Example: Those in rural areas may have different political goals than those in urban or suburban areas.

    H. Interest groups1. American politics features thousands of interest groups.2. Nearly every political idea will find groups organized to espouse or oppose it.

    I. The U.S. has always been diverse.

    1. The first white settlers found a variety of Indian tribes.2. Every wave of migration has increased Americas diversity.

    J. Earlier in the countrys history, there was great pressure to assimilate and to become first and foremost (and maybeonly) an English-speaking American.

    1. There is now a greater appreciation for the contributions different groups make to American society.2. Americans now see themselves both as American citizens and as members of other groups.

    III. Implications of diversity

    A. Political implications1. Political participants (voters, politicians, and officeholders) increasingly include women and members of ethnic and sexual minorities.2. Participation by these groups has changed the composition, activities, and decisions of legislatures.3. It is now much more difficult for politicians to run for office and appeal only to white, English-speakingvoters.

    B. What does it mean to be an American?1. Earlier in U.S. history, those thought to be un-American were hounded and harassed.2. Today Americans are more tolerant and quicker to see minorities as Americans who happen to possessdifferent traits.3. Assaulting American political culture is one of the few ways to be labeled un-American now. One way todo this is to directly challenge American beliefs in liberty, equality, self-reliance, or civic duty.

    C. Alexis de Tocqueville, a French aristocrat, visited the U.S in the 1830s. He1. wrote Democracy in Americaabout his travels and observations2. recognized that Americans were joiners (banding together for a variety of causes) and passionate religious believers

    3. noticed that Americans share a belief in equality before and under the law and further believe that they areunited by their government4. noted that Americans are not only concerned with the interests of their separate groups, but that they arealso careful to consider what is best for the society as a whole

    D. The challenge today is to maintain E Pluribus Unum, preserve diversity, and create a higher unity. Thinkwell Corp.2

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    Video Biography: What Is Government?

    Key concepts

    I. There may be different opinions about the role of government.

    II. What comes to mind when you hear the word government?

    III. Why do we need government?

    IV. How does government affect you personally?

    V. The government affects you in countless ways, most of which you probably take for granted.

    I. There may be different opinions about the role of government.

    A. In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that Americas government was of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    [T]hat this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedomand that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

    B. Lets turn to the people and ask what they think about their government.

    II. What comes to mind when you hear the word government?

    A. Responses:1. Conspiracy theory2. People3. The president4. Trickery5. Politics6. The people in Washington7. I hate government8. A big, faceless, scary thing9. Elected representatives who are supposed to do the bidding of their constituency10. Protective11. The laws12. Punishing criminals

    13. A lot of complexity14. A necessary evil15. Thats a big question.

    III. Why do we need government?

    A. Responses1. For infrastructure such as a highway system2. To protect against the forces of capitalism3. Organization4. To make sure that everyone starts out on an equal playing field5. To ensure a better quality of lifehealth care, prescription drugs, education

    1 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    6. To help keep things running smoothly7. Without government, there would be chaos.8. To establish ground rules9. To act as an instrument of the people10. To protect the weak and put limits on those who act on their baser instincts

    IV. How does government affect you personally?

    A. Responses1. It offers something to conflict with.2. It extrapolates money from me, takes education money, and raises personal taxes.3. It sustains basic livelihoods, offers jobs, and takes care of the roads.4. I guess it indirectly affects me.5. The state and local governments should have more of an effect on peoples lives than the federal one.6. Everything! The grocery store, day care, income . . .

    V. The government affects you in countless ways, most of which you probably take for granted.

    A. The government affects you if you1. mail a letter 2. take out a guaranteed student loan3. drive on the highway4. drink tap water 5. pay Social Security taxes at work Thinkwell Corp.2

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    The Road to Ratification

    Key concepts

    I. The split between Federalists and AntifederalistsThe Federalists, representing educated property owners, supported the Constitution. The Antifederalists, representing smallfarmers, opposed ratification.

    II. Antifederalists objectionsThe Antifederalists feared the Constitution eliminated states rights, gave too much power to the president and courts, andfailed to protect individual rights.

    III. The Federalists campaignThe Federalists argued that the Constitution would enhance prosperity, protect rights, and limit government. Their efforts ledto ratification.

    I. The split between Federalists and Antifederalists

    A. Problems with the Constitutional Convention1. The convention exceeded its purpose of amending the Articles of Confederation.2. The Constitution violated the amending process of the articles.

    a) The articles required unanimous consent of the states. Note: This made ratification of the new constitution unlikely.

    3. The convention put Article VII in the Constitution to help the ratification effort.a) States would hold conventions to vote on ratification.

    (1) This would bypass the state legislatures.(2) This gave pro-ratification forces time to organize.

    b) Ratification would require the support of only nine states.B. Federalists

    1. Mostly educated property owners2. Supported the Constitution3. Accused of

    a) safeguarding order b) protecting propertyc) not increasing freedom

    C. Antifederalists1. Mostly small farmers2. Opposed the ConstitutionExample: Typical Antifederalist response:

    Lawyers and men of learning and money can expect to be the managers of the Constitution and get all the power and all themoney into their own hands. Then they will swallow up all us little folks just like the whale swallowed up Jonah.Unidentified Massachusetts Antifederalist

    3. Wanted to protect local government Note: Charles Beard, an American historian, wrote An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution in1913.a) Beard argued that the framers wrote the Constitution for their own self-interest. b) He was wrong about some of the particulars.c) But the Constitution does protect property and the existing distribution of resources.

    1 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    II. Antifederalists objections

    A. The Antifederalists feared the Constitution1. destroyed states rights2. gave too much power to the president and courts3. was unrepresentative because senators were indirectly elected4. lacked a bill of rights

    Note: They rallied around the slogan No bill of rights, no constitution.

    B. Validity of objections1. Many federalists were among the elite and powerful.2. A strong central government does limit state government.3. The president is the most powerful elected official in the world.4. The Supreme Court and the federal courts are among the most powerful courts in the world.5. Senators were originally elected by the legislatures.

    a) The 17th Amendment in 1913 provided for direct election of senators.6. The Federalists promised a bill of rights.

    III. The Federalists campaign

    A. The Federalist Papers (17871788)1. Eighty-five essays published anonymously under the name of Publius

    2. Written by Alexander Hamilton (50), James Madison (30), and John Jay (5)3. Written to convince the New York state convention to ratify the Constitution

    a) The authors thought ratification by a large state like New York would add legitimacy to theConstitution.

    4. Argued thata) The Constitution would create prosperity and wealth. b) The governmental structure protected rights.c) Checks and balances would keep government from violating rights.d) The president, Congress, and the courts were limited to their enumerated powers.e) A bill of rights was not necessary.

    B. Ratification progress1. By early 1788, five small states had ratified.2. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire, the ninth state, ratified.

    a) The Constitution was now in force.C. The Virginia convention

    Note: The support of large states like Virginia and New York was crucial for gaining legitimacy.1. James Madison led the Federalists campaign in Virginia.2. Patrick Henry led the Antifederalists.3. George Washington was a delegate to the convention.4. To clinch victory for the Federalists, Madison introduced the Bill of Rights.5. Washington then announced his support.6. Virginia ratified on June 25, 1788. Note: New York ratified on July 26, 1788.

    D. Reasons for the Federalists success1. Better organization2. More resources3. A good media campaign4. Supported by important people throughout the country5. Opponents presented no alternative

    Still to come: The Bill of Rights Thinkwell Corp.2

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    The Constitutional Convention

    Key concepts

    I. Leading up to the Constitutional ConventionThe states experienced confusion and economic disorder under the Articles of Confederation.

    II. Assembling in Philadelphia, May 1787Congress invited delegates from every state to assemble to amend the Articles of Confederation.

    III. Key issuesDiscussions centered on the authority of the national government, representation of states in the government, degree of involvement of citizens, new territories, and slavery.

    IV. Scrapping the Articles of ConfederationDelegates offered opposing plans outlining their preferences for the new government.

    V. The daunting task The priority was to establish a government that would maintain order without infringing on liberty.

    I. Leading up to the Constitutional Convention

    The Articles of Confederation did not work.1. The ineffectiveness of the weak central government led to

    a) economic chaos b) military problemsc) general governmental breakdown.

    A. In 1785, George Washington offered to host a group of merchants negotiating an economic dispute.1. The group decided to hold another meeting next year to address broader issues.

    B. In 1786, a larger meeting was held in Annapolis.1. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and delegates from five states attended.2. This group invited representatives from all states to meet to consider the exigencies of the union (to fixthe problems of the Articles of Confederation).3. The delegates also asked Congress to arrange a meeting.

    a) Congress invited representatives from every state to come to Philadelphia for the sole purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.

    II. Assembling in Philadelphia, May 1787

    A. Fifty-five delegates (of the 74 invited) came.1. They represented nine states.

    a) Delegates from Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maryland arrived late. b) Rhode Island boycotted the convention.

    2. About 40 delegates played major roles in discussions and decisions.B. The delegates endured much physical discomfort.

    1. The weather was very hot, even for early summer.2. Secrecy required doors and windows to be kept locked shut.3. Hygiene was poor (in line with the cultural standards of the day).

    C. The delegates were a remarkable group of representatives.1. They were highly educated for their time31 had earned college degrees.2. Most were experienced in politics.

    1 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    3. Many were skilled in public debate and logic.4. They took the convention seriously. They

    a) realized they might be making history b) were optimistic about the future of the country.

    [W]e were now digesting a plan which in its operation would decide for ever the fate of republican government. James Madison, debates at the Constitutional Convention, June 26, 1787

    D. Their occupations reflected their leadership abilities.1. 31 lawyers (over 50% of the total)2. 12 businessmen3. 17 slaveholders (including George Washington and James Madison)4. All delegates were white, male, and of Christian heritage.

    E. The convention broke roughly into two camps:1. Federalists, who wanted

    a) a strong central government b) a minimal role for citizens generally

    2. Republicans, who soughta) a much weaker federal government b) stronger state governmentsc) a broader role for citizens

    III. Key Issues

    A. How strong should the central government be?1. Republicans favored a weak central government.

    a) They came only to adjust the existing system. b) Some delegates opposed having any central government at all. Example: Two of the three delegates from New York left in disgust when they realized the assemblywas moving towards a stronger central government.

    2. Federalists favored a strong central government.a) They wanted a new constitution. b) They came to rewrite the Articles of Confederation.

    B. How should states be represented in Congress?

    1. Less-populous states favored equal representation for each state.a) This would ensure protection of their interests.

    2. Populous states wanted greater representation because of their larger populations and greater economicimportance.

    C. What should be the role of the people?1. Some delegates distrusted the people.

    a) They feared allowing the people to participate in government. b) Alexander Hamilton favored the British model and wanted a king (namely, George Washington). Note: James Madison wanted a republican system based on popular involvement.c) No one favored democracy for every resident.d) Voting would be limited to white male landownerse) The goal was to insulate the government from popular passions and prejudices.

    D. Should the western lands be controlled by the central government or the original states?1. Georgia and Virginia claimed all the land from their coastal borders to the South Seas.2. Other states wanted to claim more land to their west.3. Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, and other states that did not border the western territories feared thisgrowth.

    E. How should the national government deal with slavery?1. Southern states wanted to protect slavery and its expansion into the territories.2. Northern states opposed slavery and its expansion.

    IV. Scrapping the Articles of Confederation Thinkwell Corp.2

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    A. James Madison had been studying in the months before the convention.1. He had examined

    a) European political theory b) ancient Greek and Roman historyc) existing state governmentsd) experiences under the Articles of Confederatione) British history

    2. His chief concern was governments potential to become tyrannical, to threaten liberty and property.

    a) His solution was to(1) avoid widespread participation in the government (he opposed direct democracy)(2) divide powers among a legislature, executive, and judiciary to protect liberty.

    B. The Virginia Plan Note: Madison and the Virginia delegation arrived early.1. Their 15 proposals became the agenda for the convention:

    a) Strengthen the central government b) Divide power among a legislative, executive, judicial branchc) Establish a bicameral legislature

    (1) Lower assembly to be elected directly.(2) Upper assembly to be chosen by the members of the lower house from lists of candidatessubmitted by the legislatures.(3) Representation for each state to be in proportion to population and taxes.

    d) Have the legislature select an executive groupto serve one term at a timee) Establish a national judiciary with judges appointed for lifef) Allow the executive and a group of judges to form a committee to approve or override the legislatureg) Allow the legislature to override state laws

    C. The New Jersey plan Note: Small states opposed the Virginia Plan1. They proposed:

    a) Equal representation in Congress (not based on population) b) A unicameral legislature that would impose taxes and regulate commercec) A legislature-appointed executive group with veto power d) A national supreme court with limited jurisdiction

    e) No federal judicial systemf) National law to be binding on states and enforced by Congress and the courts

    V. The daunting task

    The daunting task of the Constitutional Convention was to create a central government strong enough to prevent thechaos and disruption experienced under the Articles of Confederation, but not so strong as to threaten liberty.

    3 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    Final Steps to a Federal Government

    Key concepts

    I. Philadelphia in the summer of 1787The delegates at the Constitutional Convention had to draft a document that they all could agree on and that the states wouldratify.

    II. CompromisesThe delegates settled issues in ways thatappeased everyone somewhat. These issues concerned representation, the organizationof the government, national versus state powers, the role of the people, territories, slavery, treaties, and the courts.

    III. AdjournmentSeptember 17, 1787

    The final document is signed and celebrated.

    I. Philadelphia in the summer of 1787

    Delegates at the Constitutional Convention faced two overwhelming challenges:1. Draft a constitution that all could agree on and that the states would ratify.2. Escape the stifling confines of Independence Hall.

    A. Conflicts exacerbating the challenges:1. Roles of populous and less populous states2. Power of the central government and state governments3. Role of the people4. Claims of states to western territories5. Slavery

    II. Compromises

    Compromise would be required to reach agreement and produce a constitution.A. The Virginia Plan for a bicameral legislature was quickly accepted.

    1. Determining representation in each house became the issue.a) Less populous states wanted equal representation. b) Whether representation should be based on population or by state seemed unresolvable.c) A committee containing one delegate from each state was appointed to work on the problem.

    B. The committee developed the Great Compromise (sometimes called the Connecticut Compromise).1. Representation would be based on

    a) population for the House of Representatives.

    (1) Representatives would be popularly elected. b) states for the Senate(1) Each state would have two senators.(2) Senators would be chosen by state legislatures. Note: No statecould be forced to give up its equal representation in theSenate unless it consented.2. All revenue bills would originate in the House.3. The compromise was a major setback for the large states.

    C. Role of the central government and state governments1. The central government was stronger than that under the Articles of Confederation.

    a) No monarchy was allowed.

    1 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    b) It created an executive who could veto legislation.(1) One persona president(2) Elected for a specified term(3) It was not yet determined how the president would be elected.

    (a) Less populous states feared direct election since they had fewer people.(b) Many distrusted the citizenry and feared popular elections.

    c) A national judiciary was established.d) The new government also had a legislature with powers, including control over

    interstate commerce.2. Electoral College

    a) A compromise worked out by another committee. b) Each state was given electors equal to its representation in Congress.

    (1) Every state had a minimum of three electors (equal to one representative plus two senators).c) The candidate with most electoral votes became president.d) The candidate with second-most votes became vice president.

    3. Congress was given the power to impeach and remove from office the president and other federal officersfor serious crimes.

    a) The House votes to impeach on specific charges. b) While the Senate conducts a trial and passes the final judgment.

    4. Control over interstate commercea) Congress

    (1) regulates trade among the states(2) allows development of a national internal market

    D. Supremacy clause Note: This is the major assertion of the power of the central government over the state governments.1. Laws and treaties approved by Congress are the supreme law of the land.2. If federal and state laws conflict, federal laws prevail.

    E. Role of the people Note: The Articles of Confederation specified that the nation was a union of states.1. Constitution states that the We the people rather than the states are sovereign.

    a) The people apportion some power among the national, state, and local governments. b) They keep some powers for themselves.

    F. Claims to western lands Note: The delegates were lucky on this issue because Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance, assertingcongressional control over the territories until they became states.

    G. Slavery1. Slaves to be counted as 3/5 of a person for both representation in Congress and assessing taxes.2. Congress could ban the slave trade after 1808.3. The South insisted on a fugitive slave clause to guarantee that runaways were returned to their owners.

    sidebar : The words slave and slavery do not appear in the Constitution.

    H. Other compromises1. Regional tensions

    a) Southern states feared the more developed North would discriminate against them in trade. Example : John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, had tried to negotiate a treaty that would have favorednorthern merchants. b) The South insisted on a clause that any treaty had to be approved by 2/3 of the Senators.

    (1) This would effectively give the southern states a veto over unfair treaties.2. The federal court system

    a) agreed to establish a national supreme court b) could not agree on a model for the new federal court systemc) gave Congress the power to create lower courts.

    III. AdjournmentSeptember 17, 1787

    A. Only 39 of the 55 delegates signed the final document (sixteen refused). Thinkwell Corp.2

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    1. Of those that did sign, several approved only with reservations.B. On September 17, 1787, the delegates signed the Constitution and recommended it to the states for approval.C. The assembly celebrated at a nearby tavern. Conclusion:Ratifying the Constitutionthe next stepwould prove to be even harder than writing it.

    3 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    An Introduction to Government

    Key concepts

    I. Government and lifeGovernment affects nearly every aspect of peoples daily lives: laws, schools, family, jobs, private behavior, and the economy.

    II. Questions and answersThe Thinkwell lectures will pose questions about government that may not be completely answered. Politics is not a completescience, and people disagree about political solutions.

    III. Meet the professorsProfessors Rom, Dickinson, and Rosenberg specialize in different areas and bring different perspectives to political questions.

    Each hopes to challenge students to answer questions for themselves and become part of today's political debates.

    I. Government and life

    Government concerns things that affect people daily.A. Government is about

    1. Laws and the police Example : Under what conditions can you be arrested, stopped, or searched?

    2. Rights Example : What are your rights if you are accused of a crime?

    3. Schools4. Family5. Jobs

    6. Opportunity7. Discrimination

    Example : Government can supportor fightdiscrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, andreligion.

    8. Sex Examples : In some states, sex between unmarried persons was illegal as late as 1972.Sex between gays and lesbians was still illegal in some states until 2003.

    9. Prices of goods and services

    II. Questions and answers

    A. The Thinkwell lectures are about asking questions.1. What are the government's activities?2. How does the government accomplish its goals?3. How do governmental actions affect you?4. How should democratic government in the U.S. act?5. How should government respond to problems?

    B. Questions may not be fully answered1. There is more than one answer to almost every question.

    a ) You have to decide what you think about the questions.2. Politics is an interpretive art, not an exact science.

    a ) It involves facts, but also questions of morality and justice.b) People disagree about the answers to these kinds of questions.

    Warning : Professors have strong opinions. Do not confuse those opinions with the facts.

    1 Thinkwell

    3rd Edition Updates
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    Checks and Balances

    Key concepts

    I. Preventing tyrannyThe framers tried to ensure that any proposed government not become a tyranny.

    II. Separation of powersDividing authority among three branches prevented any single institution from accumulating excess power.

    III. Checks and balancesEach branch has tools and procedures for influencing actions of the other branches, thus assuring that no branch can dominategovernment.

    IV. ResultsChanges occur slowly, and major changes occur only after a consensus is reached.

    I. Preventing tyranny

    James Madison posed the following challenge:

    In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enablethe government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. James Madison, Federalist No. 51, February 8, 1788

    A. The framers of the Constitution1. were deeply concerned that any proposed government would degenerate into despotism and tyranny

    Note: In Federalist No. 47, James Madison noted that the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executiveand judiciary, in the same hands . . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.2. believed that merely telling the government to act properly would not be enough

    a) Parchment barriersbarriersmerely written down on paperwould not provide sufficient protection.

    Will it be sufficient to mark, with precision, the boundaries of these departments, in the constitution of the government, andto trust to these parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power? James Madison, Federalist No. 48, February 1, 1788

    3. created an institutional structure separating the powers of governmenta) Legislature (Congress) b) Executive (the president)c) Judiciary

    4. gave the branches of government checks and balances over one another.

    sidebar : The phrase checks andbalances does notappear in the Constitution. It occurs in the title of Federalist No. 51TheStructure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments.

    separation of powers : A system within a government in which the executive, legislative, and judicial branches are independentof each other.

    checks and balances : Constitutional provisions that allow each branch of government some control over the specific actionsof the other branches.

    1 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    II. Separation of powers

    The separation of powers among the three branches is a structural safeguard against tyranny.A. Three branches of the national government:

    1. Congress2. President3. Judiciary

    B. The national government also shares power with state and local governments.

    C. The separation of powers prevents the accumulation of power in one branch or level of government.D. The branches of the national government are not wholly unconnected; they share power.

    III. Checks and balances

    Checks and balances are tools the branches use to guard against tyranny. Note: This system is one of the great innovations of the Constitution.A. In Federalist No. 51, James Madison suggested that the challenge was to give each branch of the government awill of its own.

    In order to lay a due foundation for that separate and distinct exercise of the different powers of government . . . it is evidentthat each department should have a will of its own. James Madison, Federalist No. 51

    B. The framers saw conflict as a virtue.1. They created sites and institutions that would conflict with each other.

    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 No. 51

    2. Each branch must be given incentives to protect its powers.C. The structure of government divides power and creates conflicts.

    1. The legislature is divided into the House of Representatives and the Senate.a) Both are required to pass legislation.

    2. The president is strengthened his consent being required for legislation.3. Sovereignty is divided between the states and the federal government.

    a) The states must honor federal legislation.

    D. Specific checks were enacted.1. Congress over the president

    a) The president cannot introduce legislation but must have a member of Congress introduce it. b) The president cannot enact a budget; Congress must do that.c) All legislative actions of the executive branch require congressional approval.d) Congress can override presidential vetoes by a two-thirds vote of both houses.e) The House has the power to impeach government officials and the Senate to decide guilt or innocenceon the charges.

    sidebar : Impeachment Statistics:Judges impeached: 13Judges convicted: 7Presidents impeached: 2Presidents convicted: 0

    f) The Senate has the power to confirm senior presidential appointments.g) The Senate has the power to ratify treaties negotiated by the executive branch.h) Congress alone has the power to declare war.

    2. Congress over the courtsa) Introduction of constitutional amendments to overturn court decisions Thinkwell Corp.2

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    b) Organization of the court systemc) Determination of courts jurisdictions

    3. The president over Congressa) Veto power over congressional bills b) Negotiation and commander-in-chief powers for foreign affairs, including conducting war, proposingtreaties, and providing for national defensec) Power of appointment at senior levels of government, including judgesd) Use of the bully pulpit to appeal directly to citizens and gain their support

    e) Calling special sessions of Congressf) Pardoning citizens convicted of federal crimes

    4. Judicial checksa) Judicial review: the power of the courts to declare laws unconstitutional. Examples: The Supreme Courts ruling in Brown v. Board of Education(1954) declared state lawsrequiring racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. Roe v. Wade(1973) declared state laws outlawing abortion unconstitutional.

    sidebar : Judicial review is not mentioned in the Constitution. In Marbury v. Madison(1803), the Supreme Court ruled thatit had the power to declare laws unconstitutional because it is the duty of judges, not legislators or executives, to interpretthe law.

    E. Other checks1. State and local governments check the national government through the manner in which they implementfederal laws and programs.2. Voterselectoral reviewdetermine whether officials continue to serve.

    IV. Results

    The framers were most concerned about the legislature acquiring excess power.A. Change is very difficult to bring about.

    1. The systema) makes it easier to stop than to enact legislation b) places a premium on compromise

    (1) This can dilute the substance of bills.B. Protecting the existing distribution of power and resources gives an advantage to the wealthy.C. Significant change can occur only when there is broad consensus supporting the change.D. Is this a price worth paying to safeguard against despotism and tyranny?

    3 Thinkwell

    Constitutional Principles
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    III. Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation

    The articles provided for a loose confederation of states and a weak central government.

    Preamble to the Articles of Confederation:To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting.Whereas the Delegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled did on the fifteenth day of November in theYear of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Seven, and in the Second Year of the Independence of Americaagree to certain articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay,Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia in the Words following, viz. "Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, NewYork, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

    A. Main weaknesses of the articles1. Each state retained sovereignty.

    a) All powers not specifically given to the central government were retained by the states.2. Unicameral Congress

    unicameral : Describing a legislative assembly comprising one chamber.

    a) Each state had one vote in Congress.

    b) Passing legislation required nine votes.3. No president or executivea) Congress could appoint administrators.

    4. No federal court systema) All courts were at the state level.

    B. Congressional powers and weaknesses1. Congress could

    a) control foreign policy b) print money.

    2. Congress could nota) tax

    (1) Congress had to ask the states for money if it needed it. b) enforce lawsc) control the western lands.

    Note: The Canadian offer: Canada was allowed to join the United States without special permission. It declinedthe offer.

    Canada acceding to this confederation, and adjoining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitledto all the advantages of this Union; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine States. Articles of Confederation, Article XI

    C. Amending the articles1. Required

    a) A majority vote in Congress b) A unanimous vote of the states.

    Note: This meant a single state could prevent adoption of measures approved by all the others.John Adams referred to the Massachusetts delegation as our embassy.

    References to the nation indicated a particular state, not the country as a whole.

    IV. Problems resulting from the weaknesses

    A. The lack of a president meant that the country could not respond quickly to problems.B. Financial problems

    1. Congress could not tax, so it printed money. Thinkwell Corp.2

    American Government
  • 8/10/2019 Module 1 - Merged


    sidebar : To finance the Continental Army, the Continental Congress issued approximately $226 million dollars in paper money. The states printed about $200 million dollars of their own. Hyperinflation resulted, and people were reluctant to usethe new currency. In 1780, Congress devalued its currency to stop the inflation. However, Congress began cranking up the printing press again, giving rise to the saying "not worth a Continental."

    C. Trade and diplomatic problems1. Congress could not regulate interstate commerce, so states taxed one anothers goods.2. Each state could negotiate treaties with other countries.

    Note: Congress could not enforce even the treaty that ended the Revolutionary War.3. Each state printed its own currency and demanded payment in it.D. Military problems

    1. Congressa) could not draft soldiers b) was helpless to deal with insurrections or foreign aggressionc) disbanded the military for lack of funds.

    E. Open rebellion1. Shays Rebellion

    a) In 1786, 1,500 farmers in Massachusetts captured several courthouses and the city of Springfield.(1) The farmers were in debt.(2) They were protesting repossession of their farms by creditors.

    b) The rebellion was lead by Captain Daniel Shays, a decorated captain in the Continental Army.c) Congress had to beg money from the states to put down the rebellion.

    Note: Only Virginia sent funds.d) A militia was eventually raised in Massachusetts to fight the rebels and repossess the farms.e) The rebellion exposed the extreme weakness of the central government.

    Conclusion:1. Winning the war for independence left the colonies fragmented and in disarray.2. It eliminated their central governing authority and their common enemy.3. The failure of the Articles of Confederation exacerbated their problems and convinced many people of theneed for a stronger government.

    3rd Edition Updates