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POL101 (Part 1): The Nationalization of [American] Politics
Transcript of POL101 (Part 1): The Nationalization of [American] Politics
of American Politics
an obscenely brief discussion of US history
Conflicting interests in the colonies:
limit power (tyranny)
strong central government
: Alexander Hamilton (left), James Madison (middle), and John Jay (right)
: Patrick Henry (left), Samuel Adams (middle), and Thomas Paine (right)
another "crash course" in game theory
The "logic" of bargaining:
common ground (cooperation)
Allows a player to obtain their preferred outcome (sometimes at the expense of another player)
Examples from in-class exercise:
many players initially focused on "haggling" the prices of the oranges in an attempt to gain advantage
in some cases, neither player achieved her/his goal
some students expressed frustration because negotiations were competitive
Allows players to satisfy their most important interests, although they might have to forfeit their initial demands (at least, as they first perceived them)
The "bridge-building" (common ground) solution:
Re-frame negotiations in terms of needing certain parts of the oranges (rather than needing whole oranges)
needs only the orange
only needs orange
Therefore, if they work together, they get their needed materials and split the costs
Today, we cover the following:
Conflicting interests in the colonies
The "logic" of bargaining (in-class exercise)
Negotiating the Constitution
What we ultimately got (constitutional structure and underlying idea of our government)
What have we learned so far:
: If you
for the oranges, you typically end up spending more money, and there's no guarantee that the farmer will cut a deal with you
: both sides can win if they can see things from a different perspective (and if they can find
Federalists vs. anti-federalists
they got their Constitution ratified
but it cost them a "Bill of Rights" they believed was unnecessary
State's rights vs. federal power
advantage: federal power
"special voters" (not state legislators) elect pres.
Pres' term is shorter than Senators', but longer than House members'
no term limit for pres (for now, anyway--22th Amendment changes that)
New Jersey vs. Virginia plans:
negotiation: bridge (CT plan)
Bicameral congress (hurray VA),
but NJ plan's legislative body was used to model Senate
Note: Connecticut plan is known as the "
Northern vs. Southern states
on the one hand, Southern states benefit from "slave representation" (don't ban slavery for 20 years)
on the other hand, Northern states get the trade regulation they wanted (don't tax exports for 20 years)
what is federalism?
"unitary," "federal," and "confederal" systems
the logic/politics of modern federalism
advantages and disadvantages
the "devolution revolution"
Federal system, defined:
divides "authority" between 2 or more distinct levels of government
American-style federalism: hybrid of two systems
= concentrates decision making in one central geographic place (e.g., a central government)
= spreads decision making among sub-units (such as states); has weak central government
= divides decision making between central government and the sub-units
system (China, Britain, France)
system (USA, Canada)
system (USA [under Articles of Confederation], the Confederate States of the South during Civil War
Two distinct forms of federalism:
dual = each unit is sovereign w/in its own sphere (layer cake)
shared/cooperative = joint action between federal government and sub-national governments (marble cake)
"Dual" vs. "Shared"
The logic of Federalism
American federalism has shifted from "mostly dual" to "mostly shared"
Federalism was carefully defined in Constitution as a "founding principle"
balances the perceived tyranny of the
system with the chaos created by the
Yet, it has been shaped by decades of "politics":
McCulloch v. Maryland
Gibbons v. Ogden
Federal gov. secured its status "the supreme law of the land"
Federal gov. maintains this relationship using "carrots" and "sticks"
Carrots = federal grants to states
grants: given to states by Congress for specific purposes (highways, medicaid, AFDC, etc.)
grants: consolidate several categorical grants into a single "block" for prescribed broad activities (public education, social services, etc.)
Sticks = un-funded mandates
mandate = a rule that tells states what they must do in order to comply with federal guidelines
Congress can take money away (or take it back) if states are not in compliance
What our government looks like
The "finished product"
[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes
Article I, Section 8, Clause 3:
An individual's attitude about federalism depends partly on how much s/he values
Uniform laws (passed by a unitary government) tend to emphasize equal treatment of citizens
Diverse laws (across state gov'ts.) by their very nature allow a great deal of individual freedom
Think of this as a tradeoff between transaction and conformity costs
Advantages and Disadvantages
to American Federalism
Things to ponder (huddle up):
Federalism issues in current events
Civil Rights/Disability Rights Movement
Hurricane Katrina (and, more recently, Sandy)
Devolution = reverse federalism:
At first, the trend was toward "nationalizing" politics
Now, the federal government is "outsourcing" its power to the states
been happening since the 1980s (part of "conservative" movement to scale back federal government)
Some questions to ponder...
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
(Chapter Four and Chapter Five)
Important questions (huddle up)
How could a nation that embraced the Declaration of Independence’s creed that “all [people] are created equal” condone slavery?
Why would a majority in society ever seek to extend and protect the rights of its minorities in the face of huge costs— even those imposed by a tragic civil war?
Does America’s constitutional system impede or promote the cause of civil rights?
Are “civil rights” generic, or do we define them differently across groups according to issues for which they seek protection?
If you joined a protest group, would you be able/willing to protest non-violently?
Has the existence of a formal Bill of Rights really secured the freedoms of Americans?
Does the Supreme Court’s importance (when it comes to defining and protecting civil liberties) imply that democracy requires judges for its protection?
What other ways of protecting civil liberties might there be?
What roles, if any, do Congress, the President, and the states play in defining civil liberties?
Since the Bill of Rights does not mention “right of privacy,” how can the Supreme Court deem privacy to be a fundamental constitutional right?
Civil Liberties (CL)
CL = Protections
Freedoms that government(s) can never take from citizens
Articulated in the Bill of Rights
Civil Rights (CR)
CR = Protections
Things that government(s) must secure/protect on behalf of its citizens
Things to Consider
On the one hand:
13th Amendment (formal emancipation)
14th Amendment (granted citizenship)
15th Amendment (guaranteed voting rights)
On the other hand:
Some authority reserved to states (10th Amendment), devolution, etc.
separation of powers
politics based on "self interests" (people, not angles)
The fight for CR is rooted in the "American Dilemma" (see MLK speech @ 2:40)
Am. Dilemma = dilemma of Democracy (Democratic ideals are in conflict with):
one another (gov't. stability vs. citizens' rights)
day-to-day practices (group relations)
An American Dilemma
Setting the stage
Recall the video re: The Disability Rights Movement
Ugli Orange Simulation
Instructions: break up into groups of four (4)
One person will be
One person will be
(a pharmaceutical biologist)
One person will be
(a pharmaceutical biologist)
One person will be the
has the oranges
want to buy them (see handout)
witnesses the negotiations (see handout)
** You have 30-45 minutes, then we will discuss the results
What our government stands for
"The American's Creed is a summing up, in one hundred words, of the basic principles of American political faith. It is not an expression of individual opinion upon the obligations and duties of American citizenship or with respect to its rights and privileges. It is a summary of the fundamental principles of American political faith as set forth in its greatest documents, its worthiest traditions and by its greatest leaders."
The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) -- As shown in the film "The Butler" (2013)