Exam Essay Questions - 1 In the system of separated powers...

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1. In the system of separated powers, not all branches are equal. According to Professor Lowi, the framers intended Congress to be preeminent. In a short essay, describe the reasons the framers had for conceiving of Congress as the most important branch, and how their desire is reflected in the Constitution. Next, think about how Congress’ role has changed over time. How has the dynamic between Congress and the other branches evolved, and by what mechanism has the change (if any) occurred? In other words, if American government has strayed from the original arrangement, who or what was responsible? What are the consequences for American democracy, if any? Integrated into the Constitution is a system of separated powers that assigns specific and distinctive roles to each branch of government. But rather than making them all equal, the framers provided the legislative branch with more extensive powers than the other two. However, over time, this power relative to the other branches has evolved and the Congress of today is vastly different than it was intended to be by the founders. The character of the legislative branch was directly related to the framers’ major goals. --House designed to be directly responsible to the people to encourage popular consent for the new Constitution and to help enhance the power of the new government. --Article I, Section 8-all national government powers granted to Congress Exclusive powers of the national government: collecting taxes, borrowing money, regulating commerce, declaring war, and maintaining an army and a navy. Evidence of Superiority in Constitution 1. Art I, Sec8----all national powers to Congress 2. Art I, Sec. 9---Congress given “power of the purse” 3. Art I, Sec 7---all revenue (tax) bills to originate in House 4. Art II, Sec 3---president to “faithfully execute” the laws---president loyal servant to Congress, awaits will of congress. --The framers intended to create an active and powerful national government, the elastic clause/necessary and proper clause -enumerates the powers of Congress and provides Congress with the authority to make all laws “necessary and proper” to carry them out. The supremacy of Congress can also be seen when the United States was still a young country. Under the Articles of Confederation, the founders chose only to create a legislative body and no executive or judicial branch. While this early legislative body was extremely weak, the absence of an executive or judicial branch demonstrates the priorities of the founders. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president in 1932, there was a marked shift in power towards the executive branch. Numerous new deal initiatives were proposed by the White House and sent to congress for approval, rather than legislation originating in Congress. After the Watergate scandal and other abuses of power during Nixon’s administration, Congress began to reassert its powers of oversight and developing legislation.
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  • Spring '08
  • LITTLE,J.E.
  • Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

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