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American Government and Politics Today PowerPoint Presentation
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American Government and Politics Today

American Government and Politics Today

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American Government and Politics Today

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    1. American Government and Politics Today Chapter 2 The Constitution

    3. British Restrictions and Colonial Grievances In the early 1760s the British Parliament began to levy taxes on the colonies as a unit, as a way to help pay off British war debt incurred during the French and Indian Wars (1756-1763) Sugar Act of 1764 Stamp Act of 1765 Further duties on glass, lead, paint, etc. in 1767 The Coercive (Intolerable) Acts of 1774

    4. First Continental Congress The focus of this 1774 meeting was not on independence, but to pass a resolution asking colonies to send a petition expressing their grievances to King George III The Congress also required colonies to raise armies and boycott British trade Delegates declared that committees should be formed in every city and county to police citizens and report violators of the boycotts

    5. Second Continental Congress Held in May 1775 with all colonies represented Established an army with George Washington as Commander-in-Chief Resulted in Congress members explicitly stating they did not wish for separation, but their actions and growing conflicts with British forces spoke differently

    6. The Declaration of Independence Natural Rights Life, liberty, and property (the last was later referred to as the pursuit of happiness) Social Contract Based on the ideas of consent of the governed, in which citizens agree to form a government and abide by its rules

    7. The Rise of Republicanism While republicans of the late 1700s were opposed to rule by the British, they were also opposed to rule by any strong central government As each state wrote or modified its constitution, the influence of the republican way of thinking led to increased legislative power

    8. States retained most of the power, so the weak central government had a very limited role in the governing process While the Congress of the Confederation could regulate foreign affairs and establish coinage, it lacked a source of revenue and the machinery to enforce its decisions across all states The Articles of Confederation: The First Form of Government

    9. The Confederal Government Structure Under the Articles of Confederation

    10. The first real pooling of resources by all of the American states was seen Claims to western lands were settled A pattern of government was established for territories to be formed as colonists expanded into new lands north of the Ohio River Accomplishments Under the Articles

    11. A lack of strong central authority to resolve disputes between the states, leaving the functioning of the national government dependent upon the goodwill and cooperation of the states An inability to raise funds for a militia The need for a stronger central government, as witnessed by Shays Rebellion Weaknesses of the Articles

    12. The Constitutional Convention was convened in Philadelphia in May 1787 Those who favored a weak central government attended with the single goal of revising the Articles of Confederation Those in favor of a stronger federal government had other goals Drafting the Constitution

    13. Factions Among the Delegates A majority of the delegates were nationalists who favored a stronger government Their beliefs ranged from near-monarchism to definite decentralized republicanism Some nationalists were more democratic and called for support of a central government, while others wanted a system based on narrowly defined republican principles

    14. Politicking and Compromises: The Virginia Plan Created a bicameral legislature featuring an elected lower chamber and an upper chamber appointed by the lower house This legislature was given the powers to elect a national executive and appoint a national judiciary Major weakness representation was set by population, to the disadvantage of small states

    15. Politicking and Compromises: The New Jersey Plan A one state, one vote plan, basically an amendment to the Articles, giving additional Congressional authority to levy taxes, regulate trade, and elect an executive body that would then appoint a judiciary It laid out the idea that acts of Congress would be considered the supreme law of the landresulting in the supremacy doctrine

    16. Politicking and Compromises: The Great Compromise Compromise between more populous states (which advocated representation based on population) and smaller states (which advocated equal representation for each state) Also known as the Connecticut Plan, it provided for a bicameral legislature, featuring one house based on population and the other based on equal representation for each state

    17. Politicking and Compromises: The Three-Fifths Compromise Slavery was illegal in most northern states, but it was essential in the South Southern states wanted slaves counted in their populations, as this determined the number of members sent to the House of Representatives The Three-Fifths Compromise provided that 3/5 of the slaves would be counted (i.e., each slave would count as 3/5 of a person)

    18. Working Toward the Final Agreement The Madisonian Model Separation of powers: the legislative, executive, and judicial powers were to be independent of each other Checks and balances: the new government had been given considerably more power, but the three branches over which the power was spread acted as controls over one another

    19. Working Toward the Final Agreement (continued) Proposals that Congress select or elect the executive were eventually rejected Likewise, proposals for a plural executive were abandoned in favor of a single officer The creation of the Electoral College meant that the president would be insulated from direct popular control and from Congressional control

    21. The Final Document A summary of the results: Popular sovereignty A republican government Limited government Separation of powers A federal system

    22. The Difficult Road to Ratification Federalists: those who favored a strong central government as set out in the Constitution Anti-Federalists: those against ratification and for the status quo The Federalist Papers: an attempt to persuade the public to support the new government Federalist #10 deals with the nature of groups, or factions, as Madison called them

    23. The Anti-Federalists claimed that the Constitution was written by aristocrats, did not guarantee any liberties to citizens, and would weaken the powers of the states In the march to the finish, some states came through with strong majorities while others struggled or lagged Nine states ratified, putting the Constitution into effect, but until the populous Virginia and New York signed on, this ratification meant little The Difficult Road to Ratification (continued)

    25. Did the Majority of Americans Support the New Constitution? Beards thesis: historian Charles Beard argued that the Constitution was put through by an undemocratic elite intent on the protection of property Delegates to the state ratifying conventions were elected by a strikingly small segment of the total population Popular opinion indicated that support was probably widespread Still, the defense of property was a value not limited to the elite And the belief that the government under the Articles was dangerously weak was widespread

    26. The Bill of Rights A Bill of Limits: the package was assembled by Madison, who culled through almost 200 state suggestions There were no explicit limits on state government powers The Bill of Rights was applicable only to the national government until the Fourteenth Amendment incorporated some of these rights

    27. Altering the Constitution: The Formal Amendment Process Every government must be able to cope with new and unforeseen problems However, any Constitutional change should be approached with extreme caution If the process to amend the Constitution is rigorous, ample time is needed to consider the merits of such a change

    29. Altering the Constitution: (continued) Many amendments proposed, few accepted - although 11,000 amendments have been considered by Congress, only 33 have been submitted to the states after being approved, and only 27 have been ratified since 1789 Limits on ratification - recent amendments have usually been accompanied by time limits for ratification The National Convention Provision - if two-thirds of states request a national convention, such a convention could be called and could propose new amendments or, potentially, do as the Constitutional Convention did and rewrite the entire Constitution and while 400 requests have been received, no national convention has been held since 1787

    31. Informal Methods of Constitutional Change Congressional legislation Presidential action Judicial review Interpretation, custom, and usage

    32. Questions for Critical Thinking Why did the British place restrictions on the colonies? How was the term people, as used in the Declaration of Independence, defined? Did the members of the Second Continental Congress mean all people? What about the rights of women? Native Americans? Slaves?

    33. Questions for Critical Thinking What would have occurred if one or more of the states had rejected the Constitution? Could a single state have managed to survive outside the union of states? What do you believe Madison would think about interest groups in modern society?