The Constitution

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Transcript The Constitution

Edwards, Wattenberg, and Lineberry
Government in America: People, Politics, and Policy
Fourteenth Edition
Chapter 2
The Constitution
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Longman.
Biblical Integration
Believers through God's strength
and grace can have an impact on
society.
– (Matt. 5:13; 28: 19-20)
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Learning Objectives
After studying this chapter, students should be able to:
• Outline the events that led early Americans to declare independence from
Britain.
• Review the basic philosophy that underlies the Declaration of
Independence.
• Summarize the parallels between Locke’s writings and Jefferson’s
language in the Declaration of Independence.
• Explain how the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation laid the
groundwork for the Constitution.
• Describe what Madison meant by “factions” and how he proposed to solve
the problems presented by factions.
• Evaluate how the Constitutional Convention dealt with issues of equality.
• Summarize the major compromises of the Constitutional Convention.
• Explain why economic issues were high on the agenda at the
Constitutional Convention and how the framers tried to strengthen the
economic powers of the new national government.
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Learning Objectives
• Demonstrate what we mean by the “Madisonian model” and how
it is incorporated within the Constitution.
• Understand why many critics claim that the Madisonian model
actually reduces efficiency in the operations of government.
• Describe the major issues between the Federalists and the AntiFederalists in the debates over ratification of the Constitution.
• Ascertain how constitutional changes—both formal and
informal—continue to shape and alter the Madisonian system.
• Evaluate the Constitution in terms of the theme of democracy that
runs throughout this chapter.
• Identify factors that have led to a gradual democratization of the
Constitution.
• Understand how the Constitution affects the scope of government
in America.
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Constitution
Definition
– A constitution is a nation’s basic law. It
creates political institutions, assigns or
divides powers in government, and often
provides certain guarantees to citizens.
Sets the broad rules of the game
The rules are not neutral; some
participants and policy options
have advantages over others.
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Origins of the Constitution
Landmark English Documents Influential to
America:
– Magna Carta (1215): Established the principle of limited
government and the fundamental rights of English citizens,
such as, trial by jury and due process of law.
Petition of Rights:
– Limited the monarch's authority and elevated the power of
Parliament while extending the rights of the individual.
Challenging the idea of the divine right of kings, declaring
that even a monarch must obey the law of the land.
• For example, the king could not imprison critics without a jury
trial, could not declare martial law in peacetime, and could not
require people to shelter troops without a homeowner's consent.
English Bill of Rights (1689):
– Redefined the rights of Parliament and the rights of
individuals. It prohibited a standing army and required
parliamentary elections.
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Origins of the Constitution
The English Heritage: The Power of
Ideas
– Natural rights: rights inherent in human
beings, not dependent on government
– Consent of the governed: government
derives its authority by sanction of the
people
– Limited Government: certain restrictions
should be placed on government to protect
natural rights of citizens
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Origins of the Constitution
The Road to Revolution
– Colonists faced tax increases after the
French and Indian War.
– Colonists lacked direct representation in
parliament.
– Colonial leaders formed the Continental
Congress to address abuses of the English
Crown.
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Origins of the Constitution
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Origins of the Constitution
Declaring Independence
– In May and June 1776, the Continental
Congress debated resolutions for
independence.
– The Declaration of Independence, which
listed the colonists grievances against the
British, is adopted on July 4, 1776.
– Politically, the Declaration was a polemic,
announcing and justifying revolution.
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Origins of the Constitution
Winning Independence
– In 1783, the American colonies prevailed in
their war against England.
The “Conservative” Revolution
– Restored rights the colonists felt they had
lost
– Not a major change of lifestyles
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Origins of the Constitution
The English Heritage: The Power of Ideas
– John Locke’s influence
• The Second Treatise of Civil Government (1689).
– Natural rights
– Consent of the governed
– Limited Government
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Origins of the Constitution
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The Government That Failed
The Articles of Confederation
– The first document to govern the United
States, it was adopted in 1777 and ratified
in 1781.
– It established a confederation, a “league of
friendship and perpetual union” among 13
states and former colonies.
– Congress had few powers; there was no
president or national court system.
– All government power rested in the states.
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The Government That Failed
Changes in the States
– Liberalized voting laws increased political
participation and power among a new
middle class.
– An expanding economic middle class of
farmers and craft workers counterbalanced
the power of the old elite of professionals
and wealthy merchants.
– Ideas of equality spread and democracy
took hold.
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The Government that Failed
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The Government That Failed
Economic Turmoil
– Postwar depression left farmers unable to pay
debts
– State legislatures sympathetic to farmers and
passed laws that favored debtors over creditors
Shays’ Rebellion
– Series of attacks on courthouses by a small band of
farmers led by Revolutionary War Captain Daniel
Shays to block foreclosure proceedings.
– Economic elite concerned about Articles’ inability to
limit these violations of individual’s property rights
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The Government That Failed
The Aborted Annapolis Meeting
– An attempt to discuss changes to the
Articles of Confederation in September 1786
– Attended by only 12 delegates from 5 states
– Called for a meeting in May 1787 to further
discuss changes—the Constitutional
Convention
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Making a Constitution:
The Philadelphia Convention
Gentlemen in Philadelphia
– 55 men from 12 of the 13 states
– Mostly wealthy planters and merchants
– Most were college graduates with some
political experience
– Many were coastal residents from the larger
cities, not the rural areas
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The Philadelphia Convention
Philosophy into Action
– Human Nature, which is self-interested
– Political Conflict, which leads to factions
– Objects of Government, including the
preservation of property
– Nature of Government, which sets power
against power so that no one faction rises
above and overwhelms another
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The Agenda in Philadelphia
The Equality Issues
– Equality and Representation of the States
• New Jersey Plan—equal representation in states
• Virginia Plan—population-based representation
• Connecticut Compromise
– Slavery
• Three-fifths compromise
– Political Equality and voting left to states
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The Agenda in Philadelphia
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The Agenda in Philadelphia
The Economic Issues
– States had tariffs on products from other
states
– Paper money was basically worthless
– Congress couldn’t raise money
– Actions taken:
• Powers of Congress to be strengthened
• Powers of states to be limited
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The Agenda in Philadelphia
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The Agenda in Philadelphia
The Individual Rights Issues
– Some were written into the Constitution:
• Prohibits suspension of writ of habeas corpus
• No bills of attainder
• No ex post facto laws
• Religious qualifications for holding office prohibited
• Strict rules of evidence for conviction of treason
• Right to trial by jury in criminal cases
– Some were not specified
• Freedom of speech and expression
• Rights of the accused
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The Madisonian Model
To prevent a tyranny of the
majority, Madison proposed a
government of:
– Limiting Majority Control
– Separating Powers
– Creating Checks and Balances
– Establishing a Federal System
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The Madisonian Model
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The Madisonian Model
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The Madisonian Model
The Constitutional Republic
– Republic: A form of government in which
the people select representatives to govern
them and make laws
– Favors the status quo – change is slow
The End of the Beginning
– The document was approved, but not
unanimously. Now it had to be ratified.
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Ratifying the Constitution
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Ratifying the Constitution
Federalists favored ratification
–
–
–
–
James Madison
Alexander Hamilton
John Jay
George Washington
Anti-federalists opposed ratification
–
–
–
–
Patrick Henry
John Hancock
Samuel Adams
Thomas Jefferson
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Ratifying the Constitution
Federalist Papers
– A collection of 85 articles published in a New York newspaper
by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison under
the name “Publius” to defend the Constitution
Anti-Federalist Papers
– Published in a New York newspaper by George Clinton &
Robert Yates under the name “Cato” (“Brutus” & “Sydney”) –
Constitution lacked a Bill of Rights
Bill of Rights
– The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, drafted in
response to some of the Anti-Federalist concerns about the
lack of basic liberties
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Ratifying the Constitution
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Ratifying the Constitution
Ratification
– Lacking majority support, the Federalists
specified that the Constitution be ratified
by state conventions, not state legislatures.
– Delaware first ratified the Constitution on
December 7, 1787.
– New Hampshire’s approval (the ninth state
to ratify) made the Constitution official by
June, 1788
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Ratifying the Constitution
Virginia:
– swayed by James Madison’s promise to recommend the Bill of
Rights amendment
– approved the Constitution June 25, 1788 (89 to 79)
Finally, N.Y. approved the Constitution on July
26, 1788 (30 to 27)
– after the collapse of the Virginia Anti-Federalist.
Elections for Congress set for March 4, 1789
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Formal Amendment Process
Define Amendment: A change in, or
addition to, a constitution or law.
Formal amendment refers to
changes or additions that become
part of the written Constitution
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Amendment Process
(1) The most popular method – proposed by
Congress by two-thirds vote in both
houses
– then ratified by three-fourths of the state
legislatures (38 of 50).
(2) Proposal by Congress with a two-thirds
vote in both houses,
– then ratified by special conventions in threefourths of the states (38 of 50)(Only repeal of
prohibition, i.e., 21st Amendment adopted in
this fashion).
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Amendment Process
(3) Amendment proposed at a national
convention when requested by two-thirds
of the state legislatures (34 of 50),
– then ratified by three-fourths of the state
legislatures (38 of 50)
(4) Amendment is proposed at a national
convention called by Congress when
requested by two-thirds of the state
legislatures (34 of 50),
– then ratified by special conventions held in
three-fourths of the states (38 of 50)
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Constitutional Change
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Constitutional Change
The Informal Process of
Constitutional Change
– Judicial Interpretation
• Marbury v. Madison (1803): judicial review
– Changing Political Practice
– Technology
– Increasing Demands on Policymakers
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Understanding the Constitution
Constitution is not a perfect document,
but it has stood the test of time:
– durable
– adaptable
– model of success for other countries
The Constitution and Democracy
– The Constitution itself is rarely described as
democratic.
– There has been a gradual democratization of the
Constitution.
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Understanding the Constitution
The Constitution is short, with fewer
than 8,000 words.
It does not prescribe every detail.
– There is no mention of congressional committees or
independent regulatory commissions.
The Constitution is not static, but flexible
for future generations to determine their
own needs.
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Understanding the Constitution
The Constitution and Democracy
– The Constitution is rarely described as democratic.
– There has been a gradual democratization of the
Constitution.
The Constitution and the Scope of
Government
– Much of the Constitution reinforces individualism
and provides multiple access points for citizens.
– It also encourages stalemate and limits
government.
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A Nation Arrives
George Washington was the
unanimous choice for president
– oath on April 30, 1789
– Balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in
N.Y.
Temporary capital
– New York City, in March 1789
– Philadelphia in 1790
– Washington, D.C. in 1800
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Summary
The Constitution was ratified to
strengthen congressional economic
powers, even with disagreements
over issues of equality.
Protection of individual rights
guaranteed through the Bill of
Rights.
Formal and informal changes
continue to shape our Madisonian
system of government.
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