Here’s what we’ll cover…•What is the purpose of government?•What are the various forms of government?•What are the basic values of democracy?•What are the various political ideologies?•What are the roots of the American politicalsystem?
What is the purpose of government?
Part one (in groups of five)Imagine that all the students in yourschool were transported to an islandwhere there were enough naturalresources for you to live on, but where noone had lived before. When you arrivedyou had no means of communicating withpeople in other parts of the world. Onthe basis of this situation, your groupdecides what actions they would take foryour stay on the island. Be prepared toshare findings with the whole class.
Part twoImagine that at this point youdiscover other groups of peopleliving near you. Make changesto your living arrangements.This could include isolationism,war, or cooperation in the formof a treaty. How would theircommunity go about adaptingto the changes now present. Beprepared to share findings withthe whole class.
Part threePirates have been raiding allgroups on the island. Theiractions have been quite effective.They appear to be stronger thanany single group living on theisland. How would yourcommunity react to the problemof outsiders and the potentialdestruction of your community? Beprepared to share findings withthe whole class.
Discuss: What is the purpose of government?
What are the various forms of government?
In your groups, define and list advantagesand disadvantages of each• Democracy• Direct Democracy• Representative Democracy• Constitutional Democracy• Presidential Democracy• Republic• Constitutional Monarchy• Parliamentary Democracy
Values of Democracies• Personal liberty• Respect for the individual• Equal opportunity• Popular consent (popular sovereignty)• Free and fair elections• Majority rule• Freedom of expression• Right to protest/assemble
American Political IdeologiesMost Popular:• Conservative: less government, moreindividual freedoms (chart)• Liberal: Government power should beused ti improve society (chart)• Neoconservative (using thegovernment to actively work toachieve conservative goals)• Libertarian (less is more: governmentshould have little or no say overeconomic and personal matters)• Socialist (high taxes, sharing wealth)
What are the roots of the American politicalsystem?
Impact of Enlightenment• Began in Science• Attempt to bringreason to the world• Social Contract• Government must bendto the will of thepeople• People have a right tooverthrow• John Locke
The Articles of Confederation• First Government: colonists wanted a constitution--a written document that defines rights andobligations and puts limits on government.• The colonists created a loose league of friendshipunder "The Articles of Confederation.“• The Articles were a reaction to the unitary systemused in Britain in which all of the power andsovereignty is vested in the central government(States were stronger than National Government)
Here They Are
Some of The Articles• "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and everypower, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated."• Members of Congress were appointed by state legislatures; individuals could not servemore than three out of any six years.• Only the central government is allowed to conduct foreign policy and to war. No statesmay have navies or standing armies, or engage in war, without permission of Congress(although the state militias are encouraged).• Expenditures by the United States will be paid by funds raised by state legislatures, andapportioned to the states based on the real property values of each.• Defines the rights of the central government: to declare war, to set weights and measures(including coins), and for Congress to serve as a final court for disputes between states.• Declares that the articles are perpetual, and can only be altered by approval of Congresswith ratification by all the state legislatures.
Problems Under the Articles ofConfederation• Congress had trouble getting a quorum of nine states toconduct business• The Congress had no power to tax. States coined their ownmoney and trade wars erupted.• Congress had no power to regulate commerce among thestates or ensure a unified monetary system.• States conducted foreign relations without regard toneighboring states needs or wants.• Duties, tariffs, and taxes on trade proliferated with differentones in each state.
America Under the Articles• The economy began to deteriorate. Several years of bad harvestsensued. Farmers went into ever-deeper debt.• Many leaders worried about questions of defense, trade, andfrontier expansion.• Under the Articles, the central government was not strong enoughto cope with these problems.• By 1786, several states had called for a convention to discuss waysof strengthening the national government.
Last Straw: Shays’s Rebellion• In Massachusetts, banks were foreclosing onfarms and the Massachusetts legislatureenacted a new law requiring all debts be paidin cash.• Daniel Shays, a Revolutionary Warveteran, was outraged and frustrated withthe new law and the huge debt burden offarmers.• Shays led a group of 1500 armed anddisgruntled farmers to thecapital, Springfield. They forcibly preventedthe state court from foreclosing on their
Shays Rebellion• Congress authorized the Secretary ofWar to call up a national militia torespond and provided $530,000. Everystate except Virginia refused.• A private army put down ShaysRebellion.• Failure of Congress to protect thecitizens and property of Americans wasa glaring example of the weakness ofthe Articles.
Writing the Constitution• On February 21, 1787, Congress called fora Constitutional Convention inPhiladelphia "for the sole and expresspurpose of revising the Articles ofConfederation.“• In May, the convention met and theVirginia delegation suggested they throwout the Articles and devise a new systemof government!• This act could be considered treason, sothey adopted a pledge of secrecy (nailedwindows shut)
The Virginia and New Jersey Plans• The delegates submitted plans for a new government.• The Virginia Plan proposed that sovereignty be vested in thepeople and not the states.• The New Jersey Plan would have primarily strengthened theArticles by giving Congress the ability to raise revenues and wouldhave kept a unicameral legislature chosen by state legislatures.
The Great Compromise• Connecticut offered a compromise takingelements of each plan.• The legislature would be bicameral with thelower house (House of Representatives)based onpopulation and the upper house (Senate)premised on equal representation for the states.• Both houses had to pass all legislation so bothsmall and large states were satisfied.
Anti-Federalist Opposition to This• In general, the Anti-Federalists viewed theConstitution as a threatto five cherished values• Law• Political Stability• The Principles of theDeclaration ofIndependence• To Federalism• Anti-Commericalism
What’s special about states’ rights?• Anti-Federalists believed that effectiveadministration could only exist in states witha small territory with a homogenouspopulation.• In large, diverse republics, many significantdifferences in condition, interest, and habithave to be ignored for the sake of uniformadministration.• A large national government would imposeuniform rules despite Americandiversity, resulting in hardship and inequityin many parts of the country.
The Federalist Papers• A set of essays, written by Hamilton, James Madison, andJohn Jay, and published in New York newspapers under thepseudonym Publius.• During the ratification controversy, these essays werecirculated nationally.• The essays linked opposition to the new Constitution withhot-headed liberals (Patrick Henry) and those with a vestedinterest in maintaining a weak government (George Clinton).
Federalist #10, Madison• This essay explains how the Constitutionprotects against a tyranny of themajority, without resort to dictatorship.• The key to understanding Madison’s argument isthat the tyrant is an individual or group who, ifgiven power, would harm others in pursuit ofself-interest.• A faction is the term to describe an individualor group seeking that power.
Federalist #10: Enlightened Statesmen“It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmenwill be able to adjust these clashing interestsand render them all subservient to the publicgood. Enlightened statesmen will not alwaysbe at the helm. Nor, in many cases, can suchan adjustment be made without taking intoview indirect and remote considerations,which will rarely prevail over the immediateinterest which one party may find indisregarding the rights of another or thegood of the whole.”
Federalist #10: Minority Factions• A minority faction can becontrolled through elections.• The minority “may clog headministration, it may convulse thesociety; but it will be unable toexecute and mask its violenceunder the forms of theConstitution.”
Federalist #51• Why do we need theseparation of powers?• Because individualsgiven power will use itfor personaladvantage.• “If men wereangels, no governmentwould be necessary.”
Federalist #51: Checks and Balances• A constitution must balance two aims: sufficient capacityfor governance and effective control over the leadership.• A system of checks and balances was what Montesquieumeant, rather than a strict separation of powers.• To function effectively, the system of checks and balancesrequires multiple branches of government.• Each branch must be independent from the others.• Each branch must sufficient power to hold the others incheck.
An Aside: Could the Founding Fathers beElected Today?
Ben Franklin• Discovered electricity• Autobiography: “The onehe was born to write”• Invented Franklin stove;bifocals• Great at dispensingwisdom: “$2391.23 savedis “$2391.23 earned…”• LOVED the ladies• Appreciated a good fartjoke
George Washington• First in war; first inleadership• First prize in 1782Williamsburg bake-off(he won EVERYTHING)• Also won prize for“Most Places Slept”• Had bad teeth
John Adams• Wrote Massachusetts stateconstitution• First VP—did NOTHING for8 years—he set thestandard!• Good: Made unpopulardecisions based on hisprinciples• Bad: Made unpopulardecisions based on hisprinciples
Thomas Jefferson• Wrote Declarationof Independence• Louisiana Purchase• Library of Congress• Started University ofVirginia• Sally Hemmings
Alexander Hamilton• Created financialsystem• Hated Jefferson• Put himself on $10; TJon $2—brilliant!• French bashed beforeit was popular• Born in West Indies• Had a penchant fordueling