Model: Athenian Democracy• Direct Democracy: people vote on their behalf• Adult male citizens participated (lottery for involvement)• Courts: only juries (no judges)
Model: Roman Republic Began with the overthrow of the Monarch around 509 BC and lasted over 450 years Republic: Elected officials; based on consent of the governed; rule of law important Ended with Julius Caesar
Impact of Enlightenment Began in Science Attempt to bring reason to the world Social Contract Government must bend to the will of the people People have a right to overthrow John Locke
The Articles of Confederation First Government: colonists wanted a constitution--a written document that defines rights and obligations and puts limits on government. The colonists created a loose league of friendship under "The Articles of Confederation.“ The Articles were a reaction to the unitary system used in Britain in which all of the power and sovereignty is vested in the central government (States were stronger than National Government)
The Popular Articles "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated." Members of Congress were appointed by state legislatures; individuals could not serve more than three out of any six years. Only the central government is allowed to conduct foreign policy and to war. No states may 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, and apportioned 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 Congress with ratification by all the state legislatures.
Not So Well-Known Articles Article 4: “This is a fake article” Article 12: “No one will really read d@#*n thing” Article 6: “See article 12” Article 14: 2 eggs, beaten 2 tablespoons sugar Pinch salt 1/2 cup molasses 2 teaspoons baking soda 1/3 cup boiling water 1 1/2 cups sifted flour 1 1/2 cups cranberries, cut in half Washington’s recipe for Cranberry Pudding (serves 6 to 8)
Problems Under the Articles of Confederation Congress had trouble getting a quorum of nine states to conduct business The Congress had no power to tax. States coined their own money and trade wars erupted. Congress had no power to regulate commerce among the states or ensure a unified monetary system. States conducted foreign relations without regard to neighboring states needs or wants. Duties, tariffs, and taxes on trade proliferated with different ones in each state.
America Under the Articles The economy began to deteriorate. Several years of bad harvests ensued. Farmers went into ever-deeper debt. Many leaders worried about questions of defense, trade, and frontier expansion. Under the Articles, the central government was not strong enough to cope with these problems. By 1786, several states had called for a convention to discuss ways of strengthening the national government.
Last Straw: Shays’s Rebellion In Massachusetts, banks were foreclosing on farms and the Massachusetts legislature enacted a new law requiring all debts be paid in cash. Daniel Shays, a Revolutionary War veteran, was outraged and frustrated with the new law and the huge debt burden of farmers. Shays led a group of 1500 armed and disgruntled farmers to the capital, Springfield. They forcibly prevented the state court from foreclosing on their farms.
Shays Rebellion Congress authorized the Secretary of War to call up a national militia to respond and provided $530,000. Every state except Virginia refused. A private army put down Shays Rebellion. Failure of Congress to protect the citizens and property of Americans was a glaring example of the weakness of the Articles.
Writing the Constitution On February 21, 1787, Congress called for a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.“ In May, the convention met and the Virginia delegation suggested they throw out the Articles and devise a new system of government! This act could be considered treason, so they adopted a pledge of secrecy (nailed windows shut)
The Virginia and New Jersey Plans The delegates submitted plans for a new government. The Virginia Plan proposed that sovereignty be vested in the people and not the states. The New Jersey Plan would have primarily strengthened the Articles by giving Congress the ability to raise revenues and would have kept a unicameral legislature chosen by state legislatures.
The Great Compromise Connecticut offered a compromise taking elements of each plan. The legislature would be bicameral with the lower house (House of Representatives)based on population and the upper house (Senate) premised on equal representation for the states. Both houses had to pass all legislation so both small and large states were satisfied.
Anti-Federalist Opposition to This In general, the Anti- Federalists viewed the Constitution as a threat to five cherished values Law Political Stability The Principles of the Declaration of Independence To Federalism Anti-Commericalism
What’s special about states’ rights? Anti-Federalists believed that effective administration could only exist in states with a small territory with a homogenous population. In large, diverse republics, many significant differences in condition, interest, and habit have to be ignored for the sake of uniform administration. A large national government would impose uniform rules despite American diversity, resulting in hardship and inequity in many parts of the country.
The Federalist Papers A set of essays, written by Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, and published in New York newspapers under the pseudonym Publius. During the ratification controversy, these essays were circulated nationally. The essays linked opposition to the new Constitution with hot-headed liberals (Patrick Henry) and those with a vested interest in maintaining a weak government (George Clinton).
Federalist #10, Madison This essay explains how the Constitution protects against a tyranny of the majority, without resort to dictatorship. The key to understanding Madison’s argument is that the tyrant is an individual or group who, if given power, would harm others in pursuit of self-interest. A faction is the term to describe an individual or group seeking that power.
Federalist #10:Enlightened Statesmen “It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. Nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another or the good of the whole.”
Federalist #10: Minority Factions A minority faction can be controlled through elections. The minority “may clog he administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution.”
Federalist #51 Why do we need the separation of powers? Because individuals given power will use it for personal advantage. “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
Federalist #51: Checks and Balances A constitution must balance two aims: sufficient capacity for governance and effective control over the leadership. A system of checks and balances was what Montesquieu meant, rather than a strict separation of powers. To function effectively, the system of checks and balances requires multiple branches of government. Each branch must be independent from the others. Each branch must sufficient power to hold the others in check.