Constitutionalism and Federalism

Constitutionalism and Federalism - Constitutionalism and...

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Unformatted text preview: Constitutionalism and Federalism PSC 141 American and Texas Government: Theory and Politics Basic Concepts Constitutionalism : a contract between the people and the government sets out the limits of legitimate political authority Federalism : a guaranteed division of power between national (federal) and sub- national (state) governments Separation of Powers : legislative, executive and judicial branches Checks and Balances Founding Documents Declaration of Independence (Jefferson) Political equality and popular government Articles of Confederation Weak central authority, states held balance Federal Constitution Article I: legislative, II: executive, III: judicial Federalist Papers (Hamilton, Madison, Jay) Pamphlets to promote the Constitution Ratifying the Constitution Criticism of the Articles of Confederation accelerated in the early to mid-1780s Problems with the Articles : Economic and commercial incoherence Difficulty collecting tax revenues Difficulty conducting foreign policy Ironically, the Constitutional Convention met to amend, not to replace the Articles The Constitution was ratified in 1788-1789 Continuing Debates over Basic Principles Is there a fundamental tension between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? (and Articles of Confederation?) Can Jeffersons local and agrarian politics be squared with Madisons and Hamiltons national and commercial aspirations? Can democratic populism , equalitarianism be squared with strong federal authority and the regulation and protection of private property ? What does self-determination require? Roches Pragmatic Constitution The framers were exemplary democratic politicians , above allnot ideologues. They were an elite , but they understood the importance of popular and national interests. They were a self-made , democratic, elite. The Constitution reflects pluralism and compromise among actors who basically agreed on the need for a stronger national government. Federalism was an accident , not a theory Beards Economic Interpretation The framers were anxious above [all] to safeguard the rights of private property against any leveling tendencies on the part of the propertyless masses. They were antimajoritarian , more concerned about finance, commerce and money. They represent stability and business, as opposed to the revolutionary spirit Beards framers are not Platonic guardians either, but they do appear as conspirators. Critique of Beards view: many anti- federalists were propertied or monied State Constitutions vs. the State Constitutions vs....
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Constitutionalism and Federalism - Constitutionalism and...

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