Foundations of Government


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  • Magna Carta Examples: Due Process/Habeas Corpus, Taxation “Permission”/Counsel,

    Petition of Right Examples: Punishment only if convicted in court, No quartering of troops, & the Monarchs must follow the “rule of law”

    English Bill of Rights Examples: Freedom to petition the monarch, freedom of speech & debate, only civil courts are legal, etc.
  • June 7, 1776

    That these united colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiances to the British crown and that all political connections between them and the state of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved.
  • Foundations of Government

    1. 1. FOUNDATIONS OF GOVERNMENT 15 August 2012 Unit One
    2. 2. JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE "To rule is easy, to govern difficult.” German Philosopher
    3. 3. THOMAS HOBBES “During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man… no arts; no letters; no society; and worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” English Philosopher (1651)
    4. 4. WHAT IS GOVERNMENT?  An institution created by society with the power to enforce public policy  Laws/Actions planned & carried using governmental powers 1. LEGISLATIVE (make laws) 2. EXECUTIVE (enforce laws) 3. JUDICIAL (interpret laws) 1.1
    5. 5. “THE STATE”  Defined as a body of people living in certain territory who are organized politically…  … often called a ‘nation’ or ‘country’  Every state has SOVERIGNTY, or the absolute power to do what it wants within its own borders…  A failed state is one which the government is either non- existent or so ineffective that it has no real power  Does anyone know an example??? 1.1
    6. 6. THEORETICAL ORIGINS OF THE STATE  Force Theory  One person or group seized power by force over an area and the “state” was born…  Evolutionary Theory  The state developed naturally as an extension of the family group…  Divine Right Theory  God created the state and gave approval to the rulers to control it…  Social Contract Theory  People overcame the “brutish state of nature” and voluntarily organized together to create the state… 1.1
    7. 7. DEMOCRACY  The ‘supreme authority’ is the people of the state…  Government by the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED  Majority Rules!  For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery. ~ Jonathan Swift  “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. ~ George Bernard Shaw
    8. 8. TYPES OF DEMOCRACY  Direct (‘pure democracy’)  Public Policy (laws & actions of the government) is controlled by the citizens of a state through voting.  Indirect (‘representative democracy’)  A small group of people are chosen to act out the will of the population & are held accountable by future elections
    9. 9. “As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form.” ~ James Madison (1788)
    10. 10. REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENT  The US is formally a REPUBLIC, dedicated to "liberty and justice for all”  “An elective despotism is not what we fought for…” ~ Thomas Jefferson  People have inalienable rights  Cannot be voted away by a democracy’s majority vote.  Natural rights AND civil rights  People are sovereign in a republic, not the state!
    11. 11. DICTATORSHIP  The OLDEST & MOST COMMON form of government!  Those who rule are not held accountable to the will of the people  Often rule through fear or domination but do not have to!  Also known as a tyrant or despot
    12. 12. DEGREES OF DICTATING  Autocracy – Government of ONE person with unlimited power  Oligarchy - Government where power is held by a small & exclusive group  All dictatorships are AUTHORITARIAN  Those in power hold absolute authority over the population  Most modern dictatorships are also TOTALITARIAN  Those in power exercise complete control over all aspects of human affairs
    13. 13. FOUNDATION ESTABLISHED  13 separate colonies {established over 125 years} but with a common foundation!  British elements in the United States… 1. Ordered Government 2. Limited Government 3. Representative Government
    14. 14. THE MAGNA CARTA  “The Great Charter”  1215: King John consents to limit the Monarchy 1.3
    15. 15. 1.3
    16. 16. CONTINENTAL CONGRESSES First Continental Congress (1774)  Response to the Intolerable Acts  Sends the “Declaration and Resolves”  Turns down a “Plan of Union with Great Britain”  Calls for another boycott of British goods  Plans another Congress in 6 months
    17. 17. Second Continental Congress (1775)  Forms after the War for Independence begins  Condemned by the British as unlawful & treasonous  As the first “government” of the US (serves until 1781) is responsible for:  Conduct of the War  Establishing Relations with the World  The Declaration of Independence  The Articles of Confederation
    18. 18. INDEPENDENCE  Formally proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7, 1776  Primary Author Thomas Jefferson of Virginia  Part of a committee of five…  July 2, 1776 : The Lee Resolution is accepted in Congress  July 4, 1776 : The Declaration of Independence is adopted and proclaimed
    19. 19. NATURAL RIGHTS  Protection for “Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness”  Government is only by social consent  People have the solemn right to abolish government if necessary  “Injuries & Usurpations” by Britain allowed the colonies to break away! 1.3
    20. 20. “A FIRM LEAGUE OF FRIENDSHIP”  America’s first constitution is the Articles of Confederation  Adopted by the Congress on November 15, 1777  Ratified on March 1, 1781 (unanimous agreement by the States was necessary)  Dominant Features:  States are independent of each other  All powers of government are in a unicameral congress (one body), the “Congress of the Confederation”  Congress is not allowed to tax the States (or people) 1.4
    21. 21. THE CRITICAL PERIOD  Revolutionary War ends October 19, 1781 & problems quickly develop  States tax each others goods, fail to enforce attendance of representatives, print their own money, refuse to support the Central government, build their own armies, etc.  … and the Government was powerless to stop them! 1.4
    22. 22. PROBLEMS MOUNT  The Mount Vernon Conference is held in March 1785  Maryland & Virginia meet to resolve differences  A national conference is called for in Annapolis, Maryland by Virginia in 1786  “A Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government”  Only 5states show up! (4 are just late, 4 take no action at all)  Enter Shay’s Rebellion (caused by economic conditions) in Massachusetts… 1.4
    23. 23. …ON SHAY’S REBELLION “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.” Thomas Jefferson 1.4
    24. 24. THE BIG POSITIVE  The Northwest Ordinance  1787  Established the federal government’s ownership of territory  Has equality for new states  Prohibits slavery  Guarantees natural rights for citizens
    25. 25. NEED TO CHANGE  February 21, 1787  Congress authorizes a convention to meet in Philadelphia…  12 of 13 will respond (minus Rhode Island) "Wisdom and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm.” George Washington to James Madison, 1786 1.4
    26. 26. THE PHILADELPHIA CONVENTION  INTENT: Revise the Articles of Confederation “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles” ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------  REALITY: The Articles were damaged goods!  Two days in it becomes a “constitutional” convention  NOT allowed by Congress  One step short of a “second revolution”
    27. 27. CONFLICT!  The Virginia Plan  Primary Authors: Edmund Randolph & James Madison (“Father of the Constitution”)  Features a BICAMERAL Congress based on population & wealth  Features a separation of powers in three branches of government  The New Jersey Plan  A counter-proposal by smaller States  Keeps a unicameral Congress with equal State representation, but delegates more “central” powers  Is really a revision of the Articles
    28. 28. THE “GREAT” COMPROMISE Proposed by Roger Sherman of Connecticut  Congress will be bicameral  The House of Representatives serves States’ by population (minimum 1 per)  The Senate represent each state equally (2 per) Led to the “⅗ths Compromise”  “determined by adding to the Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons”
    29. 29. SEEKING APPROVAL  Approved on September 17, 1787  39 of 41 members sign the Constitution  3 delegates refuse to sign  14 delegates had left the Convention in protest  Submitted to the States for ratification (needed 9 of 13)
    30. 30.  Officially ratified on June 21, 1788 with New Hampshire’s approval  BUT in reality needed Virginia & New York!
    31. 31. FEDERALISTS  Led by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, & John Jay  Together were “Publius” – the author The Federalist Papers  Support the Constitution - see a strong national government is necessary  Notable Essays  #2 – Concerning the Wisdom of the Convention  #10 – Concerning Factions & Majority/Minority Relations  #51 – Arguments for the use of Checks & Balances  #84 – Regarding the Lack of a Bill of Rights
    32. 32. ANTI-FEDERALISTS  Led by revolutionaries like John Hancock, Richard Henry Lee, & George Mason  Objections:  The ratification process…  No mention of God…  Missing a BILL OF RIGHTS!  General Complaint = TOO MUCH POWER for government
    33. 33. THE BILL OF RIGHTS  The final Constitutional compromise comes from the Ratification Debates  The Convention had no momentum for a Bill of Rights  Federalists get the Constitution  Anti-Federalists gain protections for personal liberty
    34. 34. CONSTITUTIONAL INFLUENCES  John Locke’s “Two Treatises of Government”  Focus on his theories on Natural Rights for all people  Jean Jacques Rousseau’s “Social Contract”  Focus on the concept of people establishing a limited government for protection  Baron de Montesquieu’s “The Spirit of Law”  Focus on using a Separation of Powers to limit the government’s use of power
    35. 35. AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 1. FEDERAL  Power is divided between one central & numerous regional governments  Established by a DIVISION OF POWER within the Constitution  The Supremacy Clause grants ultimate authority to the NATIONAL government (Article VI, Section II) 1.6
    36. 36. DIVISION OF POWERS  National powers are based on the Constitution and the Necessary & Proper Clause  EXPRESSED Powers (Specifcally Stated)  IMPLIED Powers (“Reasonably Suggested”)  State Powers are based on the 10th Amendment to the Constitution  States will keep powers which are not granted to the federal government AND not denied to the States 1.6
    37. 37. AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT, II 2. Presidential  The two branches are SEPARATE and INDEPENDENT from each other but equal  Typically have separate powers that can LIMIT the power of the other (Checks & Balances)  … invented by the U.S. 1.6
    38. 38. AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT, III 3. Republican  The US is dedicated to "liberty and justice for all”  People have inalienable rights which cannot be voted away by a democracy’s majority vote.  Natural rights AND civil rights  People are sovereign in a republic, not the state! 1.6
    39. 39. MAJORITY RULE WITH MINORITY RIGHTS  Is the key feature of a republican government… the will of the many cannot override the rights of the few!  Majority Responsibilities: 1. Recognize the rights of the minority 2. Be willing to engage in discussion!  Minority Responsibilities: 1. Acknowledge they will not get their way most of the time 1.6
    40. 40. AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT, IV 4. Popular Sovereignty  Power in the US comes not from the State, but from the consent of the governed…  Outlined in the Declaration of Independence & the Constitution  Government must follow the RULE OF LAW and obey the laws it creates! 1.6
    41. 41. AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT, V 5. Separation of Powers  Governmental Power is held in THREE separate and distinct branches…  Legislative (Congress) – Makes Laws  Executive (President) – Enforces Laws  Judicial (Supreme Court) – Interprets & Applies Laws  "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” ~ James Madision 1.6
    42. 42. CHECKS & BALANCES  A complex system of restraints to unite AND limit the three branches of the US government  Each can block the operation of the others in specific ways  Builds up “institutional rivalry” in the government 1.6
    43. 43. 1.6
    44. 44. AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT, VI 6. Difficult Adaptation  Explained in Article V (Amending the Constitution)  27 Amendments over 226 years!  One has been “repealed” 18th  Power is held by Congress and the States…  NOT the President or Supreme Court  THOUSANDS (856 in the 1990’s alone!) have been proposed with a success rate of less than 1% 1.7
    45. 45. 1.7
    46. 46. FAILED AMENDMENTS Amendment Date Proposed Status Subject Congressional Apportionment Amendment September 25, 1789 Still pending before state lawmakers Apportionment of U.S. Representatives Titles of Nobility Amendment May 1, 1810 Still pending before state lawmakers Prohibition of titles of nobility Corwin Amendment March 2, 1861 Still pending before state lawmakers {Rendered useless by the 13th Amendment} Preservation of slavery Child Labor Amendment June 2, 1924 Still pending before state lawmakers Congressional power to regulate child labor Equal Rights Amendment March 22, 1972 Expired 1979 or 1982 {some scholars disagree} Prohibition of inequality of men and women District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment August 22, 1978 Expired 1987 Voting rights for citizens in D.C. 1.7
    47. 47. FAILED ATTEMPTS  1876: Forbid religious leaders from occupying a governmental office or receiving federal funding  1893: Renaming the US the “United States of the Earth”  1894: Would recognize God and Jesus as the supreme authorities in human affairs.  1912: Making interracial marriage illegal  1914: Divorce would be illegal  1916: Acts of war should be put to a national vote & yes votes require registration for service in the Army.  1933: Limit personal wealth to $1 million  1947: The income tax maximum for an individual should not exceed 25%  1971: Citizens have the alienable right to an environment free of pollution.  1985: Prohibit abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.  1992: To repeal the 26th Amendment and grant the right to vote to 16-year olds  2003: To allow Congress emergency refill of its membership should more than a quarter of either house be killed  2005: “Every Vote Counts” – Direct vote for President, not Electoral College  2011: Mandating an “Annually Balanced Budget” 1.7
    48. 48. WAYS TO AMEND 1. Proposed by Congress with 2/3rds approval & ratified by 3/4ths of the States legislatures 2. Proposed by Congress and ratified 3/4ths of “special” State Conventions 3. Proposed by National Convention and ratified by 3/4ths of State legislatures 4. Proposed by National Convention and ratified by 3/4ths of “special” State conventions
    49. 49. THE CHALLENGE…  …is on the Interpretation of the Constitution  Strict (or Original Intent)  Dynamic (or Living Text)  How literally should the document be read? 1.6