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Unformatted text preview: 1/22 American Constitutional Development Federalist 10Pure Democracies James Madison suggests that people directly participate in government in a pure democracy Example: referendum Pure democracies are spectacles of turbulence and contention; incompatible with security and right of property; short lives; violent deaths (Athenian model) Representative Democracies We must look for people we trust (too busy to keep up with everything) to represent us and make decisions in our best interests. Form selected by our founders. Power corrupts the corruptible. We must choose trustworthy representatives. Constitution Though the Declaration is the philosophy of our system, we must examine the Constitution because it is the philosophy in action. (Most Americans have not read the Constitution, dont know Bill of Rights, supreme court appointment process, etc) Greatest symbol of our unity Changed and animated with new laws, bills, laws declared unconstitutional Two Types of constitutions o Unwritten Constitutionpointless to put down in writing the specifics of an evolving state (English) o Written Constitutionformal written document which became a social contract for coercive power of a government (American and French) Purposes of a Constitution o Must set structure of a government o Take and define coercive power, then allocate it to structures set up by the government o Set limits on exercise of coercive power to maintain balance between governmental power and personal liberty (most important) o Provide a way of adapting a Constitution to current society Articles of Confederation (1971) Framework that was too simple Created single legislative chamber (Congress) which also had executive power Congress responsive to state legislatures (one vote each, 2/3 required for important issues to pass, unanimous vote required for changes of Articles) In 1787, a new constitutional convention was called for Constitutional Convention Prestigious group Not educationally representative (80% of people at the time were illiterate) Virginia Plan/ New Jersey Plan American Political Ideas Inalienable rightspeople are born inherently with these rights life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness Consent of the governedrequired for coercive power of government Right of revolutiongovernment must serve the welfare of the people and if it does not, it must be altered or abolished Constitutional Principles Republican governmentrejection of monarchial government Federalismidea of dividing power to stop unchecked power; vertically (federal government); framers understood flaws of human nature, so they divided power Separation of powerhorizontal legislative, executive, and judicial branches; Constitutionally, the legislative branch was most important Rule of lawno individual, no matter how powerful, can override the law, constitution, and statutes Constitutional Adaptation...
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- Spring '07