Presentation on theme: "The Founding Fathers and a “More Perfect Union” The Building of the American Constitution."— Presentation transcript:
The Founding Fathers and a “More Perfect Union” The Building of the American Constitution
The First Government of the United States was Fatally Flawed Congress couldn’t levy taxes Congress couldn’t regulate commerce There was no National Judiciary Each state had just one vote despite population National government couldn’t act against a state The national government was bankrupt following war States became embroiled in trade wars
Solution? FEDERALISM Compromise (“The Great”) allowed all states to share sovereignty with the national government The national government took supremacy over many matters including commerce, defense, civil liberties, etc. State governments took supremacy over issues of great local importance including education, etc. Federalism in America is a combination of confederal (unitary) and federal theories.
The Three Compromises in Philadelphia All rooted in the idea of “Equality” Madison and the “Tyranny of the Majority” – Equality of the States – Slavery – Political equality [right to vote]
EQUALITY OF THE STATES PROBLEM – SHOULD STATES BE REPRESENTED EQUALLY OR IN PROPORTION TO THEIR POPULATION? SOLUTION – CONNECTICUT COMPROMISE: STATES HAVE EQUAL REPRESENTATION IN THE SENATE AND PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION IN THE HOUSES
SLAVERY PROBLEM – WHAT SHOULD BE “DONE” WITH SLAVERY SOLUTION – STATES AGREED TO ALLOW CONGRESS TO STOP IMPORTATION OF SLAVES AFTER NO ISSUES OR OTHER PROBLEMS ADDRESSED
POLTICAL EQUALITY PROBLEM SHOULD THE RIGHT TO VOTE BE BASED ON UNIVERSAL MANHOOD SUFFRAGE OR SHOULD IT BE RESTRICTED [education, property, wealth, etc] SOLUTION – LET THE STATES DECIDE QUALIFICATIONS FOR VOTING
Federalism – The American Version Division of power between national, state, and municipal governments Compromise between dictatorial national government and independence of the states Historically, the national government has continued to gain power: – Expressed Powers: “enumerated” in the Constitution – Implied Powers: “suggested” in the Constitution – Inherent Powers: certain powers which all independent nations have; i.e. foreign policy matters
This Uniquely American System is embodied by the Constitution of 1789 – at the time a very controversial document Supporters were called Federalists – James Madison – Alexander Hamilton – John Jay Emphasized importance of a strong central government (unitary) to improve on the problems of “the Articles” Published “Federalist Papers” in New York Opponents were known as Anti-Federalists – Patrick Henry – John Hancock – Samuel Adams Opposed surrendering state powers to the central government Concerned about the return of a strong Executive (King George paranoia) Argued for a Bill of Rights to counteract the strong national gov’t.
Basic Principles of the Constitution 1.Representative Government 2.Federalism 3.Separation of Powers 4.Checks and Balances 5.Rule of Law 6. Popular Sovereignty
Representative Government Popular Sovereignty Selection of representatives in “free” and scheduled elections Governance by the “consent of the governed”
Why is the National Government getting stronger? Many problems are of a national nature States need the national government for $$ Unequal distribution of wealth among and within states Inability or unwillingness of states to deal with certain problems “Statements of power” to the national government from the Constitution: – General Welfare clause – Commerce Power – Defense of the Nation – Necessary and Proper clause – elastic clause Courts have slowly and methodically taken away states constitutional rights
Duties of the National Government Guarantee territorial integrity of the states Guarantee a republican form of government Protect each state from invasion Protect against domestic violence within states – 1894 Pullman Strike – 1957 Little Rock Crisis – 1962 University of Mississippi – 1963 University of Alabama – 1992 L.A. Riots Assist with natural disasters Congress chooses to admit new states
Powers DENIED to the States No coining or printing of money No tariffs No troops in peacetime No signing of treaties with other nations without Congressional consent No slavery (13 th Am.) No depriving of life, liberty, property without due process (14 th Am.) No denial of vote on basis of race (15 th Am.) No denial of vote on basis of gender (19 th Am.) No power to destroy the federal system (Civil War?) – No “NULLIFICATION”
Powers and Responsibilities of the States NO ENUMERATED POWERS IN THE CONSTITUTION (10 th Am – “powers not given to national government are reserved to the states”) Education Marriage Voting Property Laws Public Safety Laws Welfare Establishment of local governments State taxes
Concurrent Powers Powers shared by National and State Governments Powers not denied to the states or given to the national government Collecting Taxes Making and enforcing laws Borrowing and spending $$ Regulating Commerce *Education *Welfare *Highway Construction *Urban Renewal
Hope all is good
Separation of Powers Insures against any one branch from gaining too much power Different constituencies for different branches of government Different terms of office for different branches of government
Checks and Balances Executive (Presidency) – Checks on Congress Propose legislation Veto legislation – Checks on Judiciary Appoints federal judges Enforces court decisions (or not!) Legislative (Congress) – Checks on Executive Override veto Impeachment Ratify treaties / justices / budget – Checks on Judiciary Impeachment / Confirmation Amendments Judiciary (Federal Courts) – Check on Executive Review of Presidential Actions / Behaviour – Check on Legislature Judicial Review
THE LIVING CONSTITUTION A Document to create “A Government for the Ages”
The Constitution 200 years later! The Framers created a document that has evolved over time, allowing it to adapt to societal changes. 1.Elastic Clause 2.Amendments 3.Informal Methods
The Elastic Clause Article I, Sec. 8, Line 18 “To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department thereof.” Constitution evolves as National Government sees more opportunities to make “necessary and proper” laws.
Amendment Process Only FORMAL way to “change” the constitution. Requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the entire Congress Three-quarters (3/4) of state-wide legislatures must ratify
THE OTHER “FORMAL WAY” 2/3 OF CONGRESS CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION [called by Congress after 2/3 of the states have requested it.] ¾ OF STATES RATIFY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION [¾ of states ratify it]
Informal Ways to Amend/”Change” The Constitution Actions of Congress – Passage of laws, i.e. creation of Federal court system, agencies, commissions Actions of the Executive – Foreign policy, commander in chief power Actions of the Courts – JUDICIAL REVIEW Actions of Political Parties – Party Arrangement and Division in Congress Unwritten Traditions – Precedent of two-term presidency – Creation of “The Cabinet” – Congressional Committee System
The United States Constitution of 1789 Structure BRIEF VERSION!
Article I – Legislative – Bicameral House – Power to make laws, taxes, etc. – ELASTIC CLAUSE (sec. 8, line 18) Article II – Executive – Law Enforcer, Commander-in-Chief, etc. Article III – Judiciary – Supreme Court and Lower Federal Courts Article IV – Miscellaneous Guarantees – Guarantee of republican form of government Article V – Amendments Article VI - Recognition of “Supreme Law” Article VII - Ratification