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The Constitution and the fight for ratification The Logic of American Politics Chapter Two: The Constitution.

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Presentation on theme: "The Constitution and the fight for ratification The Logic of American Politics Chapter Two: The Constitution."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Constitution and the fight for ratification The Logic of American Politics Chapter Two: The Constitution

2 Review Theory and tools Delegation – its advantages and potential disadvantages Majority rule and representative government as an attempt to strike a good balance between transaction and conformity costs. Specifics: the founding of the country Why declare independence? A new balance of costs – raising transaction costs to minimize conformity costs Free rider problems in the war effort Struggles after independence The need for a new system of government

3 Two Competing Plans Virginia PlanNew Jersey Plan Representation in legislature based on a state’s population. Representation equal among states. Unitary executivePlural executive

4 Stalemate over Plans Weeks of debate. Key sticking point – basis of representation. Sent to committee to resolve.

5 The Great Compromise Written by Roger Sherman of Connecticut A 2 chamber legislature –Lower chamber – The House of Representatives. Elected by the people. Apportioned on the basis of population. –Upper chamber – The Senate. Selected by state legislatures. Equal representation from each state (two Senators per state).

6 Separation of Power The compromise accepted, Madison turns his attention to checks and balances and separation of power. Idea comes from French philosopher Montesquieu who argued that government’s power could be effectively limited by having separate legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.

7 Separation of powers –Executive branch – President –Legislative branch – Congress – House and Senate –Judicial Branch – Supreme Court (and federal courts)

8 Designing the Executive Many of the founders were afraid of executive power, especially when held by a single individual. One of the most debated issues at the Constitutional Convention despite widespread agreement that George Washington would be the first president. Proposals ranged from Alexander Hamilton’s single, powerful executive elected for life to a plural executive selected by the legislature for short time periods with very limited power.

9 Designing the Judiciary Objects of debate: –Who would appoint Supreme Court justices – the president or the Senate? –Should a network of lower federal courts be created or should state courts handle all cases until they reach the federal Supreme Court?

10 The Issue of Slavery Later in the convention some southern delegates insisted on 2 guarantees for their “peculiar institution” as conditions for remaining at the convention and endorsing its result: –Unrestricted right to continue importing slaves –Return of runaway slaves in northern states Result: Assurance that importing slaves would not be banned before 1808 and agreement to return runaway slaves.

11 The Issue of Slavery Why did the more numerous northern delegates give in to the southern ones? –Need to get the Constitution passed South threatening to defect if demands weren’t reached –New England states got something they wanted in return A “logroll” occurred – the South dropped its opposition to commercial issues important to New England such as the ability of Congress to raise taxes on imports with a simple majority vote

12 Amending the Constitution The Articles of Confederation had required unanimous consent to amend them. Amendment procedure adopted can be seen as an effort to balance transaction and conformity costs. Also a compromise between nationalists and states’ rights delegates.

13 Amending the Constitution

14 Adopting the Constitution Article VII provided the procedure Must be adopted by the conventions of 9 of the states –Eliminated unanimous consent required under Articles of Confederation. –Withdrew authority for approval from state legislatures who might be reluctant to agree.

15 The Fight for Ratification 3 of the delegates at the convention refused to sign the Constitution – Edmund Randolph, Elbridge Gerry and George Mason Some prominent political leaders had refused to participate in the first place

16 The Constitution as Object of Debate Debate was not limited to the state conventions Two groups –The Federalists –The Antifederalists

17 The Antifederalists Included Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, George Mason, James Monroe, Samuel Adams and George Clinton Opposed the Constitution

18 The Antifederalists A more heterogeneous group than the federalists United by opposition to Constitution but not in support of an alternative Writings appeared in newspapers and circulated in pamphlets

19 The Antifederalists Got stuck with the name Anti-federalists when their better organized opponents took the name federalists Saw themselves as the true federalists because they ascribed to the principles of federalism set forth in the Articles of Confederation Preferred a decentralized federal system of government with the states above the national government Pro-states’ rights

20 The Antifederalists Recognized some need for change but by and large defended the status quo Thought that the Philadelphia convention had overstepped its bounds

21 The Antifederalists Afraid the national government would usurp the power of the states Thought the Constitution had aristocratic tendencies New governmental system too complex

22 The Antifederalists Not opposed to union Thought that true democracy only works in small, homogenous republics Saw the United States as too large and diverse to be under a single set of laws

23 The Antifederalists Thought there needed to be explicit safeguards against tyranny Called for a bill of rights to be a part of the Constitution

24 The Federalists The Federalist Papers Originally published in New York newspapers under the pen name Publius Written by 3 men – John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison

25 The Federalist Papers 85 essays –Jay wrote 5 –Hamilton wrote the most –Madison wrote the most famous and arguably the best Provide insight into the intent of those who wrote the Constitution

26 The Federalists Nationalists Pro-federation not necessarily pro- federalism Actively supported the Constitution and argued for its ratification

27 The Federalists Two of the most famous Federalist papers are #10 and #51 Both were written by James Madison Focuses on the fundamental problem of self-governance

28 Federalist No. 10 Madison explores the likelihood that a tyranny of the majority would arise in a democracy and identifies a solution. Goal: to design a republic so the majority can’t tyrannize the minority

29 Federalist No. 10 Responds to the strongest argument of the Antifederalists -- that a “large Republic” cannot long survive. Discusses the negatives of faction defined as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”

30 Federalist No. 10 Madison identifies two ways to eliminate factions –authoritarianism – worse than the disease –conformism – impractical So if the causes of factions cannot be removed, then one must control their effects

31 Federalist No. 10 Two kinds of factions –Minority –Majority Argues that minority factions are not a threat in a democracy.

32 Federalist No. 10 A direct democracy would allow the majority to tyrannize the minority Solution – representative government

33 Federalist No. 10 How representative government prevents majority tyranny: Dilutes factious spirit – to get elected have to appeal to a diverse constituency

34 Federalist No. 10 Bigger is better Turns the antifederalist argument that small republics are better on its head. Instead, Madison says small is dangerous. A large population and territory makes it harder for potential tyrannical majorities to arise and to collude against a minority interest

35 Federalist No. 51 Argues that the system is designed to avoid usurpation of power By separating government officers into different branches (separation of powers) and giving them the authority to interfere with each other’s actions (checks and balances) they could defend the integrity of their offices.

36 Checks and Balances – shared power Examples: Congress passes laws but the president can veto and the court can declare them unconstitutional Presidents appoint but the Senate must confirm Congress can impeach and remove the president and federal judges

37 Federalist No. 51 Solving the delegation problem – keeping agents honest Ambition is made to counteract ambition…

38 The Federalist Papers Madison probably didn’t agree with everything he wrote Helped convince those undecided about the Constitution that the system would not give rise to a tyrannical government

39 The Road to Ratification December 7, 1787 Delaware ratifies 30-0 December 12, 1781 Pennsylvania ratifies December 18, 1787 New Jersey ratifies 38-0 December 31, 1787 Georgia ratifies 26-0 January 9, 1788 Connecticut ratifies February 6, Massachusetts ratifies April 26, 1788 Maryland ratifies May 23, 1788 South Carolina ratifies June 21, 1788 New Hampshire ratifies 57-47

40 The Road to Ratification With the New Hampshire vote, the Constitution officially took effect. But without New York and Virginia, two large and centrally located states, the new government wasn’t given much of a chance.

41 The Road to Ratification June 25, 1788 Virginia ratifies July 26, 1788 New York ratifies November 21, 1788 North Carolina ratifies May 29, 1790 Rhode Island ratifies 34-32

42 An Antifederalist Legacy: the Bill of Rights Madison had agreed to write one and introduce it at the first congress to help get the Constitution ratified Bill of Rights introduced in Congress September 9, December 15, 1791 Bill of Rights ratified and becomes part of the Constitution

43 The Federal System The Logic of American Politics Chapter Three: Federalism

44 Federalism Federalism is a hybrid system mixing elements of a confederation where lower level governments possess all real authority and unitary government in which national government has a monopoly on constitutional authority.

45 Sources of Power

46 American-style federalism In a federal system, authority is divided between two or more distinct levels of government. In the United States, the division is between the national (federal) government and the states Before adopting a federal system in the Constitution, the nation had experienced unitary government while under British rule and a confederation under the Articles of Confederation.

47 Characteristics of Federal Systems A government must have constitutional relations across levels and interactions that satisfy three general conditions: 1.The same people and territory are included in both levels of government. 2.The nation’s constitution protects units at each level of government from encroachment by the other units. 3.Each unit is in a position to exert some leverage over the other.

48 The Federal System in the U.S. Some people consider the U.S. federal system to have 3 levels but that is not accurate. National and state government have a federal relationship. State and local government have a unitary relationship. Local governments are established by the states and operate under state authority. They do not have independent constitutional authority.

49 Review Fundamentals and logic of United States’ institutional design –Limiting power –The role of compromise Introduction to federalism


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