Presentation on theme: "The Institutionalization of Power Poli 110J 1.3 We hold these truths to be self- evident."— Presentation transcript:
The Institutionalization of Power Poli 110J 1.3 We hold these truths to be self- evident
Course Website adamgomez.wordpress.com – Syllabus, lecture slides, electronic readings, and (eventually) paper topics will be found here under the Teaching tab
Common Sense (recap) Authority of Reason – Undermines Traditional Authority of the British monarchy – Accessible by anyone who is not blinded by the passions In this way, the authority of reason is democratic
Common Sense (recap) State of Nature as tool of political criticism – Human rights exist prior to any form of government Thus, these rights have priority over the government, and the government may not in justice infringe upon them
Common Sense (recap) Liberal/Enlightenment political values: – Commerce – Local government with weak central government – Religious toleration – Rule of Law – Society (freedom, happiness) vs. Government (power, constraint)
Declaration of Independence Should the 13 Colonies declare independence from Britain? July 1, 1776: vote 9 yes (New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, Rhode Island) 3 no (Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Delaware) 1 abstaining (NY lacked permission) July 2: Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Delaware change votes. Unanimous
Declaration of Independence We are reading the third draft. Jefferson was the sole author of the first, but it was revised in order to preserve the unity of the rebellious colonies. – Removal by congress of passage critical of the slave trade July 4, approved and sent to printer. Was it a revolution? The Declaration of Independence is the first utterance of the United States of America – Speaking the nation into existence (performative)
Declaration of Independence When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Natures God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
Declaration of Independence State of Nature Laws of Nature (Locke) and Natures God (Deism) Legitimacy of Rebellion Keen awareness that the attention of the world is on the United States First democratic government since classical times
Declaration of Independence WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
Declaration of Independence If the truths are self-evident, why bother saying them? Why then do they need to be held? How does this influence the nature of the American state? – Written in the voice of a single, national people – The US is not a community of shared blood or culture, but of shared belief.
Declaration of Independence The role of God, the Creator: Who is he? – Deism vs. Revealed Religion What is his political function? – The source of political rights Political rights are an intrinsic part of being human.
Declaration of Independence What does it mean for all men to be created equal? Equal how? Is God (of some kind) necessary for this to be true? In the first utterance of the united American nation, equality is the foundational political good, and the basis for political liberty. – Equality is thus a first order good.
Declaration of Independence That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Declaration of Independence The purpose of government is the preservation of rights – Stemming from equality An inherent right to revolution Organization of power to be determined by the people. – Again, the people are prior, as are their security and happiness, to the government.
Declaration of Independence when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.
Declaration of Independence Right and Duty – Duty how? – What is the relationship in this between positive and negative liberty? Freedom
Declaration of Independence Emerging tensions: – Which has priority, liberty or equality? – Is the United States an alliance of independent states, or is it a single, national people?
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union Approved for ratification by Second Continental Congress Nov. 2, – During the war. Became de facto system of govt until ratified March 1, 1781.
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting. – Unlike the Declaration, this is written in the voice of the various states, not in that of a unified, national people.
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union 1. Officially names the new nation the United States of America – This is really pretty self-explanatory.
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union 2. Each state remains sovereign except as limited by the Articles – Internally, each state is effectively independent of the rest. Very strong state powers.
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union 3. The US is a new nation united in perpetuity for the preservation of the rights and security of the various states. – Unlike the Declaration of Independence, the Articles explicitly guarantee the rights and security of states more than they do those of individuals. The individual is understood to be represented be his or her (that is to say, his) community/State.
4. Unrestricted movement between states for all except paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives. Local law applies Extradition
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union 5. Each state gets one vote in the Congress of the Confederation – Unicameral legislature – Disproportionately favors small states. Large states asked to contribute more for only an equal share of legislative power.
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union 6. Powers of war and foreign relations exclusive domain of central government – Internal powers largely remain with states, but the US deals with the outside world as a single political unit. – Standing armies & navies only for central govt, but states may have militias
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union 8. Central government will be paid for via funds raised by the states – No taxation powers or abilities to make funding compulsory – Could only request funding from the states, to be paid on essentially voluntary basis. Freerider problem
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union 9. Powers of central government: – Adjudicate between states – War – Weights, measures, currency
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union 13. Articles of Confederation are perpetual, can only be altered by unanimous consent of all states. – Unanimity is a hard thing to get. This gives each state immense veto powers.
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union Problems: Central government – Could not enforce requests for funding – Had no draft powers, could not compel states to comply w/requests for troops. – Often was unable to pay soldiers, much less fulfill promise of life pensions to them.
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union Recognition of these problems led to the first major political factionalization of the newly independent United States – Federalists: want fundamental reform of the structure of govt, creating a far stronger central government – Anti-federalists: believe that this would infringe on freedoms of the states, and thus of the individuals that they represent.
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union For the first time, the question becomes pressing, What is the United States of America?