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The Study of American Government

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1 The Study of American Government
Chapter 1

2 Political Power Ability to get others to act in accordance with desires/intentions Power as it affects government Government takes private matters public Rightful power = authority Legitimacy of authority Historical controversies

3 Democracy Variable Interpretations
Represents ‘true interests’ of the people Rule of the many Direct Indirect Representative democracy Leadership competition Referred to in Constitution as a Republic Founder’s distrust of direct democracy Impracticalities Fleeting passions of the people; persuasion by demagogues

4 Distribution of Powers
Majoritarian Politics Elected officials as delegates of the people Issues are sufficiently important to command attention of citizens Elite Politics View Marxist theory; capitalists Power elite; corporate leaders, military officers, key politicians Bureaucrats Pluralists Position, access to mass media, etc

5 Political Change Continual adaptation and change in political system – reflect changing beliefs Reflection of changing economic theories and situations Changing Political Preferences Preferences result in political action/legislation Importance of issues

6 Fundamental Democratic Values
Popular sovereignty Respect for the individual Liberty equality

7 Fundamental Democratic Processes
Free and fair elections Majority rule with minority rights Freedom of expression Right to assemble and protest

8 Fundamental Processes
Federalism Separation of Powers Checks and balances Constitutionalism

9 The Constitution Chapter 2

10 The Problem of Liberty Colonists wanted continued rights of Englishmen
Independence as a way to protect liberties

11 The Problem of Liberty, cont.
“higher law” embodying natural rights Real revolution was the radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people – John Adams

12 Articles of Confederation
League of Friendship John Hancock, and president, never showed up Lack of focus, national power, judicial system Many leaders had a desire for a stronger national government Ex: Shay’s Rebellion, January 1787

13 Constitutional Convention, May 1787
Philadelphia Participants ‘well read, well bred, well fed, well wed’ Madison: Father of the Constitution; strong leader; detailed notes of convention Washington: presiding officer; highly respected Franklin: elder statesman Morris: largely responsible for final working Hamilton: most forceful advocate of a strong central government

14 Constitutional Convention, 1787
Delegates looked to historical documents and political institutions Wanted Limited power of government 3 branches of government National legislature to have supreme power over states One house elected by the people

15 Constitutional Convention, 1787
Change in task – scrap Articles, and create a new Constitution Small states fearful New Jersey Plan Equal representation Virginia Plan Representation by population

16 The Great Compromise Connecticut Compromise House of Representatives
Based on population Elected by the people Senate 2 senators from each state Appointed by state legislatures

17 Other Components of the Constitution
Electoral College Protection of Property Rights Selection of the Supreme Court Nominated by President Approved by Senate August 6, 1787 – 1st draft of the Constitution presented – approved September 17

18 The Constitution and Democracy
Framers afraid of results if people had too much say in government Temporary popular passions Insecurity of minority rights A Republic Principle of majority rule Judicial review: limiting powers of popular majorities Amendments – difficult to pass

19 Key Principles of the Constitution
Separation of powers Federalism

20 Government and Human Nature
Restrictions to unlimited powers Checks and balances/ separation of powers New government had to be ratified by the state legislatures – would they give up their sovereignty to a federal government? Framers wanted to bypass the legislatures Constitution only had to be approved by 9 legislatures Resistance of the Anti-Federalists Bill of Rights

21 Bill of Rights Constitution ratified with promise of Bill of Rights
Washington took office and government implemented All 13 states had ratified by spring 1790 Went into effect 1791 ** Limited federal government, not state

22 The Constitution and Slavery
Slavery wasn’t directly dealt with Betrayal of the Declaration of Independence Compromise to ensure passage of the Constitution Side Issues 3/5 Compromise New government could not prohibit slavery before 1808 Property belongs to whomever owns it Failure to deal with slavery – Civil War

23 Motives of the Framers Economic Interests of States
Continual debates over motives of framers

24 Ratification Federalists Anti-Federalists Property owners Creditors
Merchants Elites most fit to govern Strong central government Hamilton, Madison, Washington, Jay Anti-Federalists Small-farmers Frontiersman Debtors Shopkeepers Believed government should be closer to the people Feared strong Central government – favor strong state Henry, Mason, Gerry

25 Federalist Advantages
Better represented in state legislators Controlled the press Organized The Federalist Papers Constitution ratified, 1789

26 Principles of the Constitution
Limited Government Bill of Rights as a Safeguard Separation of Powers 3 branches (influence of Montesquieu) Checks and balances Judicial Review Power of courts to strike down laws or government action Marbury v. Madison, 1803 Changing the Constitution Informally Acts of Congress (Judiciary Acts, 1789) Judicial Rulings (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954) Presidential Actions Customs and Traditions Formal Changes Amendment Process: Proposal – 2/3 vote from both House and Senate OR 2/3 of states request Constitutional Convention Ratification – ¾ of legislatures or ratifying convention in ¾ of states Time limit for ratification: 7 years

27 Federalism Chapter 3

28 Governmental Structure
Local and Federal Units of government National Delegated Powers (expressed, enumerated) Elastic Clause (implied powers) States have reserved powers (education, elections) Concurrent powers (borrow $, tax, law enforcement) Obligations of each: National: Guarantee republican governments in each state; protect each state; granting new states same rights State: fulfill faith and credit clause; privileges and immunity clause; extradition

29 Controversy Surrounding Federalism
States can block federal programs; state’s rights advocates Federalism provides for the unique political heritage of the U.S.; suits a heterogeneous population Allows flexibility for states to experiment with different ‘groups’ attaining power at the different levels

30 Mobilization of Political Activity
Because of various governmental opportunities, citizens feel they can make a difference Increased participation Lower organizational costs

31 Founding of Federalism
Government receives its power from the people Both state and federal government have independent authority Supreme Court interprets where and when federal government can intervene in state issues

32 Elastic Clauses Founders unable to make exact / exhaustive list of federal government power Hamilton felt national government supreme Jefferson felt ‘the people’ were ultimate sovereigns Madison limited national government and saw state governments as having expansive powers

33 Debate on Federalism Civil War as final showdown between states’ rights and national supremacy Supreme Court as interpreter of Constitutional intent Early Supreme Court supports Nationalists McCulloch v. Maryland Expanded power of Congress Confirmed supremacy of the federal government in the exercise of those powers Doctrine of nullification Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions Southern use in defense of slavery

34 … debate on Federalism…
Dual Federalism National government supreme in its sphere; state governments supreme in theirs Interstate commerce (Congress) Intrastate commerce (State) Whose control is it under? Currently, Congress can basically pass any laws it wants; dual federalism has disappeared

35 Federal – State Relations
Grants –in –Aid Federal funds for state projects National Needs Less money for state projects, more for national interests – crime, healthcare, etc. (1960s) Intergovernmental Lobby Want more money with less strings Categorical Grants vs. Revenue Sharing Categorical grant: specific purpose defined by federal law Block grant: grant for an entire field (community development); less restrictive Revenue Sharing: money available to be shared Give more money to poor states

36 … federal – state relations
Slowdown in Moneys Rivalry between states Changing demographics Changing economic base Federal Aid and Federal Control Fear the federal government will start running the programs they’re funding – conditions of aid Mandates to state governments If a state takes federal money, they have to do what feds say (Civil Rights) Administrative nightmare Judges may enforce federal standards

37 States Response Some loosening in requirements for action
Welfare education Continuing debate over who should control what ($, admin) Ongoing problem of interpreting the Constitution for division of responsibilities (10th Amendment)

38 Federalism and Public Policy
State and local governments still have huge amounts of authority/control Congress may seem to impede those governments but are trying to deal with their constituencies See selves as representative to Washington, not necessarily as representatives from Washington Ties to localities have loosened May not understand local concerns/priorities Special interest groups vs. all voters Social diversity Congress can correct state abuse of citizen (ie. Voting rights) Devolution

39 American Political Culture
Chapter 4 American Political Culture

40 Political Culture Distinctive, patterned way of thinking about politics/economics How things should be carried out Distinction between political and economic equality Politically equal, not economically equal

41 American Views on Political System
Liberty: preoccupation with rights Equality: equal vote and equal chance Democracy: government officials are accountable to the people Civic Duty: community affairs are important Individual Responsibility : responsible for own actions and well being

42 Factors related to political culture
Why so much inconsistent behavior? Why so much historical political conflict?

43 Economic View Free Enterprise Don’t see inequalities
Equality of opportunity, not of results Support government intervention when people’s interests are at stake Equality of opportunity ‘symbolic racism’

44 Comparative Systems Political Differences Economic Differences
Less personal involvement Different customs/laws Economic Differences Economic quality Freedom U.S. has a focus on rights that other countries may not have – influence of religion

45 Sources of Political Culture
Origins of opposition, thought, and culture Need to trust people if live in a democracy Federalists Democrats- Republicans Differing religions and cultural backgrounds reflected in politics Class consciousness Most see selves as the ‘middle class’

46 Mistrust of Government
Turmoil can lead to mistrust Political efficacy: government less concerned about citizen understanding and influence Internal efficacy: a person’s competence in understanding politics – remained constant External efficacy: belief that one can have a political impact – sharp drop

47 Political Tolerance Need to be reasonably tolerant of others
Agreement with basic right for all Disagreement regarding who is covered under rights Increased tolerance for others but not universal Pragmatism – Americans tend to be less ideological than others Continued need to realize that political liberty is fragile Can’t take liberty for granted

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