American Government Ch. 2 Notes

Foundations of American Government

2. Colonies to Constitution

 

Formation of the first governments of the 13 colonies

What influenced the colonists?

      Old English Documents

   Magna Carta

    (1215) first document to limit the King’s power

    Established Due Process

   Habeas Corpus Act

    (1678) government must tell you what you are being held for and show evidence against you.

   Petition of Right

    (1628) Government could not tax without consent

    Government could not quarter troops

   English Bill of Rights

    (1689) Parliament replaced dominant power of King (legislative supremacy)

    Trial by jury

    No cruel and unusual punishment

    Right to bear arms

Articles of Confederation

      First functioning Government

      Ratified in 1781

    While Revolution is in progress

      Most real power with the States

     Binding was a ‘rope of sand’

     Lots of quarrelling between the states

      Just one Congress

    Unicameral (one house)

    each State had 1 representative

    it took 9/13 States to pass a law

    it took 13/13 States to approve a treaty or amend the Articles

    No executive or judicial branch

    Could pass laws, make treaties, declare war & pace, borrow money, and create a postal system

Articles of Confederation has Problems

Weaknesses of the A of C

        Congress couldn't require States to obey national laws (no Judicial branch)

        The central government has little power over foreign trade

        The Confederation has no effective military force.

        Each state issues its own coins and paper money

        The Confederation must ask states for money to support the federal Government

        Changes in the Articles require a unanimous vote of the thirteen, makes it impossible to change the constitution

        At least nine states are required to decide major issues

We NEED a stronger Government!!!

      “Shay’s Rebellion” scares a lot of people – A Small Rebellion of Massachusetts farmers

      Can’t decide what to do with the Northwest Territory

      Have a ‘Constitutional Convention’ meet in Philadelphia, to rework the Articles

   Philadelphia in May 1787

      End up creating a new Constitution

Constitutional Convention

Constitutional Conflict!!!

Constitutional Compromise

Slavery and the Constitution

What about the Executive Branch?

Electoral College

Ratification
Ratify – to approve

Anti-Federalist

Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists

Six Basic Principles of the Constitution

Six Basic Principles of the Constitution

6 Themes evident throughout the Constitution

      Each principle illustrates HOW this document is a document of LIMITATIONS.

   This shows distrust of government.

 

      Why were the colonists fearful of powerful government?

Limited Government

Government is NOT all powerful, there are limits on what it can do

Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land and ALL government officials are subject to the document. (Rule of Law) 

Evident throughout the Constitution, use of negative language throughout

Limited Government

Examples in the Constitution:

      Article 1, Section 9

  no denial of habeas corpus

  no bills of attainder

  no ex post facto

  no titles of nobility

      Article 1, section 10

  no state shall enter into treaties with foreign nations

  no state shall coin its own money

Limited Government

Examples in the Constitution

     Bill of Rights

   Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech…

   The rights of the people shall not be abridged

   No quartering of troops

Six Principles
of American Government

        Republicanism

        Checks and Balances

        Separation of Powers

        Popular Sovereignty

        Individual Rights

        Federalism

 

We will discover: How each of these principles LIMIT government!

 

Republicanism

Checks and Balances

Separation of Powers

Six Basic Principles of the Constitution

- 6 Themes evident throughout the Constitution

- Government is NOT all powerful, there are limits on what is can do

- Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land and ALL government officials are subject to the document. (Rule of Law) 

Examples in the Constitution:

      Article 1, Section 9

  no denial of habeas corpus

  no bills of attainder

  no ex post facto

  no titles of nobility

      Article 1, section 10

  no state shall enter into treaties with foreign nations

  no state shall coin its own money

     Bill of Rights

   Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech…

   The rights of the people shall not be abridged

   No quartering of troops

 

The Six Principles

1. Republicanism

 

         All citizens are represented by a man or woman in both the federal government (Congress) and state government (Legislature)

        These Representatives make decisions for us        each State is guaranteed at least 1 Representative and 2 Senators in Congress

        (guaranteed by the Constitution)

 

2. Checks and Balances

Each branch checks over the other two, to prevent abuse (again limiting government)

         The legislative makes a law

        the executive can veto

         The executive vetoes

        the legislative can override the veto

         The judges make a law unconstitutional

        the legislative can make an amendment to the Constitution

         The executive appoints a judge

        the legislative must confirm or reject 

3. Separation of Powers

         Article 1 – Only Legislative makes laws, coins money, taxes, borrows money, declares war, establishes post offices, makes lower courts, makes laws about naturalization, fixes weights and measurements

        17 listed powers, and the "elastic clause"-Clause 18         Article 2 – Only the Executive enforces laws, is Commander in Chief, appoints judges, pardons, vetoes, calls special sessions

         Article 3 – Only  the Judges interpret the Constitution

4. Popular Sovereignty

         The people are the source of the power.

         We give our consent to those we elect to speak in our behalf, but we are the source of power. 

         Evident throughout the document:        In Preamble- "We the People"          Article 1 - the people elect representatives to the House        Amendment 17 - the people directly elect Senators

5. Individual Rights

         Government exists to protect your individual rights, they are something that are protected by government, not given by government

         Bill of Rights outlines several rights.

         14th amendment expands Bill of Rights to the states

6. Federalism

         The federal government and the states SHARE the powers of law-making, enforcing, and interpreting. 

         The Constitution gives power to BOTH the federal and state governments