Origins of American Government


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Visuals for my unit on the origins and principles of American Government. Good starter for teaching government.

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Origins of American Government

  1. 1. • Government is theinstitution throughwhich a society makesand enforces its publicpolicies.• Who makes upgovernment?– People who exercisepower, and who haveauthority and controlover people.
  2. 2. • Public policies of agovernment are all ofthose things agovernment decidesto do.• EXAMPLES:– Taxation– Defense– Healthcare– Education
  3. 3. • Power is the ability to command orprevent action, the ability to achieve adesired end.• Every government has and exercises(3) basic kinds of power:
  4. 4. 1. Legislative:– Power to make law and frame public policies.2. Executive:– Power to execute, enforce and administer law.3. Judicial:– Power to interpret laws and settle disputes.
  5. 5. • The powers ofgovernment are oftenoutlined in acountry’sconstitution:– body of laws settingthe principles,structures, andprocesses of agovernment.
  6. 6. • What is the maindifference between adictatorship and ademocracy?– The former, governmentis not responsible to thepeople.– The latter, supremeauthority rests with thepeople.
  7. 7. • Over the course ofhuman history, thestate as emerged asthe dominant politicalunit in the world.• Definition:– Body of people, living in adefined territory,organized politically, withpower to make/enforcelaws.
  8. 8. • There are more than190 states in the worldtoday and they posses4 main characteristics:1. Population2. Territory3. Sovereignty :• authority to rule4. Government
  9. 9. • Belief that the statewas born of forceby a person or asmall group.• The person orgroup forced allwithin the area tosubmit to their willor rule.
  10. 10. • The state developednaturally out of the earlyfamily.• The primitive family had a“head” that was thegovernment was the firststage in politicaldevelopment.• How did this grow?– Marriages
  11. 11. • This theory was widelyaccepted in much of theWestern world from the15th to 18th centuries.• EXPLAIN this theory– God gave those of ‘royalbirth’ divine right torule.• This theory began to bequestioned in the 17thcentury and help pave theway for moderndemocracy.
  12. 12. • Argues that the statearose out of a voluntaryact of free people andthat the state only existsto serve the will of thepeople.• What role were thepeople to play in thistheory?– Sole source of politicalpower
  13. 13. • What doesgovernment do?• The following arelisted in theConstitution ofthe United States:
  14. 14. Form a More Perfect Union• Link the States and American peoplemore closely together.Establish Justice• The law must be reasonable, fair andimpartial in the United StatesEnsure Domestic Tranquility• Keeping peace and order at home isessential to the well being of society
  15. 15. Provide for Common Defense• Defending the nation against foreignenemies.Promote the General Welfare• Government performing tasks for thewell-being of its people.Secure the Blessings of Liberty• America was founded by those whoprized FREEDOM (liberty) above all
  16. 16. • No two governments areever alike because theyare products of humanneeds and experiences.• Over time, politicalscientists have developedmany bases upon whichto classify (describe,compare, analyze)governments.
  17. 17. • To many, the mostmeaningfulclassification is whocan take part in thegoverning process.• Democracy versusDictatorship.
  18. 18. • In a democracy,supreme politicalauthority rests withpeople.• What is direct or puredemocracy?• Will of people isturned into law by thepeople themselves.
  19. 19. • What is indirect or representativedemocracy?• Representatives are elected by the peopleto express the popular will.• Some people feel the United States is arepublic:• where power is in the hands of the votersand decisions are made by representatives.
  20. 20. • Exists where thosewho rule cannot beheld responsible to thewill of the people.• What is the differencebetween an autocracyand oligarchy?– Former is one, latteris a small group.
  21. 21. • All dictatorships areauthoritarian – those whohold absolute andunchallengeable power.– Italy (1922-43);Germany(1933-1945);USSR (1917-1989)• What are dictatorshipslike today?– Militaristic ; that gainedpower by force.
  22. 22. • Geographicdistribution of power.• In every system ofgovernment thepower to govern islocated in one ormore places,geographically.
  23. 23. • Often described as acentralized government andall powers held by thegovernment belong to asingle, central agency.• What is the role of localgovernments?• Focus on small/localissues• Great Britain is a classicexample of a unitarygovernment.
  24. 24. • Powers are dividedbetween a centralgovernment andseveral localgovernments.• These powerscannot be changedby the local ornationalgovernments alone.
  25. 25. • The United States was the first federalform of government.• What ‘stands’ above both levels ofgovernment?– The United States Constitution.
  26. 26. • An alliance ofindependent states; thecentral government getsit powers (usually verylimited) from the states.• Identify confederationsin the modern era.– Articles ofConfederation (1781)– Confederate States ofAmerica (1861)
  27. 27. • Presidential Government:– Executive and legislative branches areseparate, independent of one another andcoequal.– Chief executive (president) is chosenindependently of the legislature to a fixedterm and the 2 branches can block each other.
  28. 28. • Parliamentary Government:– Executive (prime minister) is a member of thelegislature (parliament).– Who becomes prime minister and how long dothey serve?• Leader of majority party; as long as they are inmajority.
  29. 29. • Democracy exists in theUS because the Americanpeople believe in itsbasic concepts:• Worth of Individual• Equality of all persons• Majority Rule, MinorityRights• Necessity of Compromise• Individual Freedom
  30. 30. • Democracy is firmly basedupon the belief in thefundamental importance ofthe individual (each is aseparate and distinct being)• Give examples of when wemust give it to rights ofmany:– Paying taxes– Obey traffic laws
  31. 31. • Democracy does NOT insist on equalityof condition for all persons nor does itbelieve all people should have a share ofworldly goods.• The (2) concepts of equality thatDemocracy focuses on?1. Equality of opportunity2. Equality before the law
  32. 32. • Democracy argues that that a majority of thepeople will be right more often than theywill be wrong.• And that the majority will also be right moreoften than will any one person or smallgroup.
  33. 33. • What is the key wordthat describes themajority’s decision?–SATISFACTORY• However, it is vital in ademocracy for themajority to listen tothe minorityarguments andcriticisms.
  34. 34. • Compromise is anessential part of thedemocratic processfor two majorreasons:1. Each individual isequal to others.2. Few publicquestions haveonly two sides.
  35. 35. • Absolute freedom can only exist in astate of anarchy – the total absence ofgovernment.• Democracy does insist that eachindividual must be free to do as he orshe pleases as far as freedom of all willallow.• What is the dilemma here?– Balancing individual rights with the goodof society as a whole.
  36. 36. • Democracy and thefree enterprisesystem are related.• Free enterprise:economic systemcharacterized by theprivate ownership ofcapital goods, freemarket and privatedecisions.
  37. 37. • Does not rely on government to decidewhat items are to be produced, how muchshould be made, and the price.• What is the law of supply and demand?– Supple of goods/services is plentiful, pricesdrop; when supplies are scarce, prices rise.• What do democracy and capitalism have incommon?– Based on the concept of individual freedom
  38. 38. • American economic system relies on a freemarket; but the government does play a roleand always has.• Define Mixed Economy:– Private enterprise exists with governmentregulation.
  39. 39. • What is the role ofthe internet inDemocracy?– Provide citizenswith information• What is a majorproblem with theInternet andinformation?– Accuracy
  40. 40. • Parliament took little partin the management of thecolonies, instead theywere more interested inmatters of trade.• What did the greatdistance between thecolonies and England leadto?– The colonists becameused to governingthemselves.
  41. 41. • When King George III cameto the throne in 1760, hebegan to deal more firmlywith the colonies– Restricted trading, newtaxes, and troops in thecolonies.• How did the colonistsreact?– Strongly opposed andobjected to these taxes.
  42. 42. • Unity among colonies was growing.• In order for a successful revolt,cooperation between colonies was a key.
  43. 43. • In 1643 the New EnglandConfederation wasformed; a confederationis a joining of severalgroups for a commonpurpose.• What was the commonpurpose in 1643?– Defense against NativeAmericans
  44. 44. • A meeting in Albany,New York to discussthe problems ofcolonial trade.• And also the dangerof attack by theFrench and theirNative Americanallies.
  45. 45. • What was BenjaminFranklin’s Albany Planof Union?1. Formation of acongress with adelegate from each ofthe 13 colonies2. Raise army/navy3. Negotiate with NativeAmericans
  46. 46. • Parliament passedthe Stamp Act in1765.• The Act placed atax on legaldocuments, certainbusiness deals, andnewspapers.
  47. 47. • Led to Stamp Act Congress to protestthe tax.• Famous quote of “taxation withoutrepresentations is tyranny!”• IDENTIFY reaction to the tax throughoutthe colonies:– Boston Tea Party, boycott of British goods,Committees of Correspondenceestablished.
  48. 48. • Delegates from everycolony exceptGeorgia met inPhiladelphia onSeptember 7, 1774.• Worked on boycottof British goods untiltaxes were and actswere repealed.
  49. 49. • The situation wasgetting worse(fighting hadalready begun)with Great Britain.• A 2nd meeting wascalled for May 10,1775.
  50. 50. • Each of the 13colonies sentrepresentatives.• John Hancock waschosen president.• Who was chosecommander-in-chief?– George Washington
  51. 51. • This 2nd meeting wasin effect our 1stnationalgovernment for 5years until theArticles ofConfederation wereadopted.
  52. 52. • A committee of five –Benjamin Franklin,John Adams, RogerSherman, RobertLivingston, andThomas Jefferson –was chosen.
  53. 53. • What was thepurpose of thedocument theyprepared?1. To declareindependencefrom England2. List reasons why
  54. 54. • In 1776-77 most states adopted writtenconstitutions.• A common feature was popularsovereignty:- governing with the consent of the people• Other key aspects were limitedgovernment, civil rights and liberties,separation of powers and checks andbalances.
  55. 55. • Established on November 15, 1777 by the 2ndContinental Congress.• Formed a league of friendship where each statewould be free and independent of the others.
  56. 56. • When would statescome together?– For the commondefense of thestates.• DEFINE ratification– Formal approval
  57. 57. • A Congress made upof one representativefrom each state.• No executive orjudicial branches.• DEFINE presidingofficer:– A chair; overlooksbut not the leader
  58. 58. • Make war and peace• Send/receiveambassadors• Borrow/set upmoney• Ask states for troopsfor navy/army• Settle disputesbetween states.
  59. 59. • Agreed to obeyArticles and acts ofCongress.• How would theytreat other states?– Fairly and equally;and give full faithand credit.
  60. 60. • Congress did not havethe power to tax orregulate trade betweenthe states.• Changes to Articles hadto be unanimous.• Why is this a weakness?– Difficult to get all 13states to agree onanything.
  61. 61. • After the signing of theTreaty of Paris in 1783,problems caused by theweaknesses of theArticles began to surface.• Lack of strong centralgovernment led toproblems between thestates (taxed trade, stateshad own money, madealliances with foreigngovernments)
  62. 62. • What was Shay’sRebellion?–Led a farmer’srevolt inMassachusettsover taxes.–Showed weaknessof nationalgovernment.
  63. 63. • Meeting atWashington’s homeMount Vernonbetween Marylandand Virginia.• Over trade issues ledto a call for “a jointmeeting” of all thestates.
  64. 64. • That meeting happenedat Annapolis, Marylandon September 11, 1786.• How was the turnoutand what happened atAnnapolis?– Only 5 states showed,but they called for ameeting in Philadelphiawith all of the states.
  65. 65. • 12 of 13 states(except RhodeIsland) sent a totalof 74 delegates (fora variety of reasonsonly 55 showed up)to Philadelphia inMay of 1787.
  66. 66. • These 55 becameknown as “TheFramers” of theConstitution1. Served in ContinentalArmy2. Members of Congress3. Many collegeeducated4. Most were wealthy
  67. 67. • George Washington wasnamed President of theconvention.• Rules were set up:– majority of states wereneeded to conductbusiness– each state had one vote– A majority of votes wereneed to pass a measure
  68. 68. • Why did the delegatesdecide to keep theirdeliberations a secret?– Protect themselvesfrom outside pressures.• James Madison (Fatherof the Constitution)kept detailed notes andbecame theconvention’s floorleader.
  69. 69. • The PhiladelphiaConvention wascalled to revise theArticles ofConfederation• What actually was tohappen?– A NEW governmentwas to be created.
  70. 70. • Mainly the work of Madisonand James Randolph, calledfor a new government with3 branches of government(legislative, judicial,executive)• The plan aimed to make anational government withexpanded powers and moreimportantly, the power toenforce its decisions.
  71. 71. • Key aspect wasrepresentation toCongress or legislativebranch• How did the VirginiaPlan call forrepresentation toCongress?– Based on a state’spopulation.
  72. 72. • This plan was the smallstate response to theVirginia plan.• Representation inCongress was to beequal for all states.• What about theexecutive branch?– Not one, but severalpeople would serve.
  73. 73. • The disagreement overrepresentation in Congresswas critical.• Often called the “GreatCompromise” because ofits importance.• It solved the problem overrepresentation in Congress– Senate : 2 members each– House : based onpopulation of state
  74. 74. • Question ofwhether to countslaves in a state’spopulation.• This compromisesaid that 3/5 of“other persons”could be counted.
  75. 75. • The new government had the power toregulate foreign and interstate trade.• Why were the southerners wary of thispower?– Congress could end slave trade; hurt theagricultural South• This compromise said that goodsexported from states could not be taxedand the slave trade could not be touchedfor 20 years.
  76. 76. • The US Constitution isoften called this becauseof the all thecompromising that wentinto the document.• Why was compromise sovital to the Constitution?– The states werediverse; economically,geographically, etc.
  77. 77. • The Framers lookedat governments fromancient Greece andRome andcontemporaryEurope.• Also used their ownexperiences.
  78. 78. • The Constitution was signed on September17, 1787 by the remaining 39 delegates.• It would now go to the states for finalapproval.
  79. 79. • The Framers had seen how crippling theunanimity requirement could be, so theydecided that it would take 9 states to ratify orapprove the Constitution.• The Constitution was printed, circulated, anddebated vigorously.
  80. 80. • Federalists favoredratification because theystressed the weaknessesof the Articles and saidthe Constitution wouldhelp the new country.• Who were the leaders ofthe Federalists?– James Madison andAlexander Hamilton
  81. 81. • Anti-federalistsopposed ratificationand were led by PatrickHenry and JohnHancock.• 2 main reasons:1. Power of centralgovernment2. No Bill of Rights
  82. 82. • Delaware was the 1ststate to ratify onDecember 7, 1787 andNew Hampshire was the9th to ratify on June 21,1788.• Why was the Constitutionnot in effect after NewHampshire joined?– Important states of NewYork and Virginia had notratified yet.
  83. 83. • Brilliant debate betweenMadison, John Marshall(for it) and JamesMonroe and PatrickHenry (against it)• Whose support was vitalto approving of theConstitution?– George Washington
  84. 84. • In New York, the debatewas close and the pro-Constitution argumentwas helped by a series ofnewspaper essays calledthe Federalist.• Who were the writers ofthese essays?– Hamilton, Madisonand John Jay
  85. 85. • Inaugurating the new government.• On September 13, 1788 11 states hadratified the Constitution, and the Congressof the Confederation made it official.
  86. 86. • The new Congressconvened on March 4,1789 in New York tocount the electoralvotes, but because itlacked a quorum ormajority.• The 1st President(George Washington)was elected on April 6th,1789.