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Copy of AP Government - The Constitution
Transcript of Copy of AP Government - The Constitution
1. Why was the Bill of Rights adopted so soon after Constitution was ratified?
2. Why did so many authors of the Constitution fear factions?
3. Why did the Framers agree on separation of powers?
AP The Constitution
It all started in 1787 with the Constitutional Convention...RIGHT?!
1. "A FIRM LEAGUE OF FRIENDSHIP
-weak national govt
-"sovereignty, freedom and independence"
(1 state = 1 vote)
2. FLAWS IN THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION
-can't regulate commerce
-couldn't enforce will
-Amendments required unanimous vote of all 13 states
The Articles of Confederation
1. Momentous Decision
-"for the sole and express purpose" of revising AOC...
1. Madison/Hamilton feared abuse of powers
2. unruly mobs+Shays rebellion+ radical legislators in RI proved dangers of "excessive democracy"
Limits on Majority Rule
Formal Amendments Process
1. what is the difference between a democracy and a republic?
2. What branch of government has the greatest power?
To What Ends?
1. Does the Constitution tell us what goals the government should serve?
2. Whose freedom does the Constitution protect?
Absence of intolerance, bigotry & superstition
Reason can solve social problems
Regulate human society
These laws can be discovered by human reason
Social progress IS possible
Government with laws =
better society = progress inevitable
Absolute Monarchs controlled…EVERYTHING ...enlightened wanted liberty
Intellectual freedom was a natural right
Progress requires freedom of expression
Enlightened thinkers opposed superstition, intolerance and bigotry
Advocated full religious tolerance
The American Revolution
Britain's "tyranny" over the colonies
desire to limit central gov
Reading of the
Declaration of Independence
(1776) from John Adams HBO series
An uprising in Massachusetts where a band of farmers led by Daniel Shays attacked courthouses to prevent foreclosures
demanded end to foreclosures, relief from oppressively high taxation & more circulated paper money
Why was it so important?
"An Assembly of Demi-Gods"
-September 11 to September 14, 1786
-New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware,
-called for constitutional convention
-May 25 to September 17, 1787
-12 of 13 states sent delegations
-states selected 74 delegates, only 55
-7 were governors, 33 lawyers, 34 college
graduates, 8 signers of DOI
-Suppose to revise AOC...
People were self-centered and selfish
"There are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men: the love of power and the love of money" - Benjamin Franklin
-unequal distribution of property leads to political conflict (rival factions)
-society = propertyless majority + wealthy few
-Neither faction trusted so keep both in check
Purpose of Government
"the preservation of property is the end of government" - John Locke
Feared the threat of "excessive democracy" (shays rebellion & debtors in RI)
Nature of Government
Agreed with the Montesquieu
supported limited government with specific powers
carefully designed set of checks and balances
representation based on each state's population
New Jersey Plan
1. unicameral legislature
2. equal representation despite population
3. "Pennsylvania & Virginia wish to create a system in which they will have enormous and monstrous influence."
-Gunner Bedford of Delaware
Still gives less populous state a disproportionate influence
10 most populous states have 20 senators. They have 53% of population.
10 least populous states have 20 senators. They have 3% of the population.
90% of slaves lived in South, so what did the South want?
NORTHERN VIEW: Slavery is "a nefarious institution. It is the curse of heaven on the states where it prevails." Governor Morris of Pennsylvania
"Why then should the blacks, who are property in the South, be in the rule of presentation more than the cattle and horses of the North?"
- Delegate Eldridge Gerry of Massachusetts
all "free persons" and "three-fifths of all other persons"
should be counted for representation...and taxation
Gov't should promote economic growth AND
-Obtain revenues through taxing
-Coin Money & regulate its value
-Regulate interstate and foreign commerce
-Establish uniform laws of bankruptcy
- Establish post offices
-It prohibits suspension of habeas corpus. A writ of habeas corpus is a court order requiring that an individual in custody be brought into court and shown the cause for detention.
is a court order requiring that an individual in custody be brought into court and shown the cause for detention.
bills of attainder
Legislative act that inflicts punishment without a court trial
ex post facto laws
punishes a person for acts that were not illegal when the act was committed
upholds right to trial by jury in criminal cases
Prohibits the imposition of religious qualifications for holding office
The Three Branches
A. Separating powers
-Montesquieu: power must be used to balance power
B. The legislative Branch
1. Article I: bicameral Congress of two chambers
C. The Executive Branch
1. Article II: executive branch led by president chosen by electoral college
D. The Judicial Branch
1. Article III: judicial branch with Supreme Court the highest court in the national government
Checks and Balances
1. Congress and the President
-Congress makes law, President can veto
-Congress can override veto with two-thirds vote
-President negotiates treaties BUT congress must approve
2. Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court
-President nominates justices to the to the Supreme Court
-Senate approves or rejects nominations
-Supreme court declares laws or president acts unconstitutional
-Congress can propose amendment to reverse Supreme Court ruling
House of Reps by majority vote impeach Supreme Court Justices & President.
Senate (two-thirds vote) convict and remove Supreme Court justices and the President
1. slows change and encourages compromise
2. The 3 branches are not completely independent.
Ways Const. limits Majority Rule
1. An insulated Senate 2. An independent judiciary 3. indirectly elected President
limits powers of majority in the government
Checks and Balances
Separation of Powers
Framers saw Senate as safe guard against irresponsible majorities in House of Reps.
State legislatures originally chose senators (staggering terms more resistant to popular pressure)
insulated from popular control
appointed by Pres. confirmed by Senate
Serve until resign/retire/die in office
Indirectly elected President
1. President is NOT elected by popular vote
2. Framers created an electoral college to chose a "distinguished character of continental reputation"
The Fight for Ratification
A. The Process
1. Articles could only be amended by ALL 13 state legislatures
2. Framers decided Const. should only need 9 of 13 states to ratify
3. Ratification sparked nationwide debate between Anti-federalists and Federalists
B. The Anti-Federalists
1. Small farmers, shopkeepers & laborers
2. Favored strong state governments and weak national governments
3. Called for Bill of Rights to protect individual liberties
1. large landowners, wealthy merchants, and professionals
2. weaker state govt & strong national government
3. Promised to add amendments specifically protecting individual liberties
D. The Federalists Papers
1. 85 essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay
2. Federalist No. 10, Madison argued political factions are undesirable but inevitable BUT a proper representative democracy will regulate interests
3. Federalist No. 51, bigger republic = more factions = fragmented political power = curb threat by non-wealthy majority
1. Delaware/New Jersey/small states ratified quickly
2. Virginia and New York very close
3. N. Carolina and Rhode Island insisted on bill of rights
4. First Congress quickly ratified first 10 amendments
1. Methods of proposal
two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress
national constitutional convention called by Congress at request of two-thirds of the state legislature
2. Methods of ratification
By Legislatures in three-fourths of the states
By conventions in three-fourths of the states
This illustrates the federal structure
of American Government
Requires support of super majorities in both
Congress and the states
1. Congress has passed a number of laws that both clarify and expand constitutional provisions.
2. Judiciary Act of 1789: began the process of creating our federal court system
3. Acts of Congress created the cabinet departments, agencies and offices in the executive branch
4. Congress has many laws that have defines and expanded the Commerce Clause.
1. Commander in Chief: send troops in to combat w/o declaration of war
2. Executive agreement is a pact made by the President with the head of a foreign state
Pre-1940 the U.S. Senate had ratified 800 treaties vs presidents' 1,200 executive agreements;
1940 to 1989 presidents signed nearly 800 treaties vs 13,000 executive agreements.
1. Judicial Review
2. Judicial Review is not specifically described in Const.
3. Marbury v. Madison in 1803 established judicial review
1. Did Marbury have a right to the writ for which he petitioned?
2. Did the laws of the United States allow the courts to grant Marbury such a writ?
3. If they did, could the Supreme Court issue a writ of mandamus?
Yes bc the commission (appointment) was done legally
Yes bc the Supreme Court is suppose to protect individuals...even the President.
No, bc the Judiciary Act of 1789 (allowed for writ) was unconstitutional
1. Political Parties not mentioned in the Constitution. Referred to as "the baneful effects of the spirit of party"
2. Since 1830's parties have held conventions to nominate candidates...electoral college becomes a rubber stamp for popular vote of state?
3. How are congressional committees organized and led?
According to the Constitution the President has power to nominate judges who are approved by the Senate
Unwritten tradition of senatorial courtesy requires the President to first seek the approval of the senator(s) of his party from the state the nominee will serve
A little conversation
"Why did you pour that coffee into your saucer?
"Even so, we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it."
"To cool it"
Constitutional Questions Today
Constitutional Questions Today
Tea Party believes the Constitution is in jeopardy - check it out:
Others, including the Constitutional Accountability Center, say the Tea Party has the Constitution all wrong: