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My comments are always differently colored.
For our non‐American English speaking friends: “My comments are always differently coloured.” Introduction Introduction
• Why should learning about American Government be important to you?
Presidents Vice Presidents Cabinet Members Supreme Court Justices Senators Representatives 1 1 16 16 9 100 100 435 435 Introduction Introduction
• Why should learning about American Government be important to you? 562
293,000,000 (US pop. in 2000) = .000002 % of the population represents everyone Introduction Introduction
• 2004 – George W. Bush wins with ~51% of the popular vote.
– But, only 54.1% of the eligible voters voted. – So really, only 27.6% of the population voted for Bush.
• Or said another way, 72.4% did NOT vote for Bush. • (Is that representative of the people?) Introduction Introduction
– “The struggle over power or influence within organizations or informal groups that can grant or withhold benefits or privileges.” – Write: Interaction between parties for gain. • “Government”
– The institution in which decisions are made that resolve conflicts or allocate benefits and privileges. It is unique because it has the ultimate authority within society.” – Write: Authoritative allocator of resources for a society. Political Political Values in Gov’t
– Write: Peace and Security – To protect the people. • Liberty.
– Write: Freedom for everyone. • Authority.
– Write: Power to enforce decisions. • Legitimacy.
– Write: Given authority. • Sovereignty
– Having the authority to make political decisions. Forms Forms of Gov’t
• Totalitarian Regime
– Write: “Gov’t” controls all aspects of life. • Authoritarianism
– Write: Ruler controls the gov’t. • Aristocracy
– Write: Rule by elites. • Democracy
– Write: Rule by the people, directly or indirectly. – Political authority lies with the people. Forms Forms of Democracy
• Direct Democracy
– The people directly govern themselves.
• E.g., Ancient Athens • E.g., town hall meetings in New England – Examples of processes of direct democracy.
• Initiative • Referendum • Recall *none of the above exist on the national level for the US. Forms Forms of Democracy
• Representative Democracy
– Also known as a “Republic” – Sovereign power rests with the people.
• No monarchy or small group of people – Political decisions are by the people indirectly, via representatives.
• And the representatives are answerable to the people. – “Liberal Democracy”
• A democracy that guarantees basic freedoms for its people Forms Forms of a representative democracy
• Presidential system
– Where the executive and legislature are selected separately. • Parliamentary system
– Where the legislative branch (usually known as parliament) is selected, and then parliament selects the executive head (usually known as the prime minister). Requirements Requirements for a Democracy
• Universal Suffrage
– The right of all adults to vote equally. • Majority Rule
– Decision is made in favor of how most people decided.
• Simple majority = 50% + 1 • Super majority = something more than 50%+1 • Minority Rights
– Protecting minorities against the majority/majority tyranny. • Limited Government
– Governments are limited in their power, and serve the people. Perspectives Perspectives
• Liberalism vs. Conservatism
– Left vs. Right
Economic Policies • Four Corners More Gov’t Regulation More Free-Market FreeMore freedom Liberals Libertarians Morals More restrictions “Others” Conservatives “…and the rest…”
– Communism – Fascism Perspectives Perspectives
• Libertarianism – Individual Freedom
– Limited government regulation of behavior. – Limited government in the economy. – Free market system.
• “Laissez‐faire” – French for “to let be” – Majority Rule.
• Not so much emphasis on protecting minority rights. Perspectives Perspectives
• Conservatism – Traditional framework
– Emphasis on government regulating behavior.
• “Uphold moral values” • Human nature is flawed. – Free market system
• Laissez‐faire – Strong government in national security. Perspectives Perspectives
• Liberalism – Equality and minority rights.
– Belief in government helping the individual
• The “Robin Hood” view. – Protection of minority rights. – Heavy government involvement in business & economics.
• Against complete reliance of free market. – Less regulation on “private” conduct. Perspectives Perspectives
• “Others” – Individual power through gov ’t.
– Heavy government regulation in both the economic and morality realms. Chapter 2 Chapter The Constitution Colonization Colonization
• Jamestown (UK trading post in Virginia) was set up a representative assembly.
– A legislature compose of individuals who represent the population. • Mayflower Compact (Plymouth, MA).
– The Pilgrims signed a statement agreeing to governmental authority when it was set up.
(or at least, 41 of the men, no women). = consent.
– The people gave their consent to be ruled. – Government rule wasn’t forced upon them. = rule of law.
– The people agreed to be bound by a set of rules. – The rules weren’t forced upon them either. Colonization Colonization
• Slowly, more colonies spring up, with their own pseudo‐governments and rules of law.
– Along with a sense of independence. • This leads to taxes, boycotts, retaliation, military skirmishes, tea parties in Boston, and outright war. Independence Independence
• First and Second Continental Congress.
– Collective governing for the benefit and security of the 13 Colonies. • April 6, 1776 – Free Trade
• A “declaration of economic independence” of sorts. • Opening of ports for trading with all nations.
• Except the United Kingdom. • July 2, 1776 – Resolution of Independence is passed.
• No real political effect, just a “heads up” to the colonies to set up temporary governments. Independence Independence
• July 4, 1776 – Declaration of Independence.
– “We hold these truths to be self‐evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…” (note the underlined parts) – Heavily influenced by John Locke. Independence Independence
• John Locke and his “wacky” ideas:
– Human Rationality
• Humans weren’t inherently evil, and could do the right thing. – Natural Rights
• Everyone, by virtue of being born, has certain rights that can’t be arbitrarily taken away.
– I.e., life, liberty and ownership of property. – Equality
• All humans are to be treated equally by the government. – Limited Government
• The government is there to serve the people, no more. Independence Independence
• John Locke and his “wacky” ideas:
– Majority Rule
• Most weight should be given to the decision favored by the largest number of people… – Minority Rights
• …but the others should not be ignored. – Progress
• Left to our own devices, humans would develop, not destroy each other. – Right of Revolution
• If all else fails, we should get hit the restart button. • See next slide on social contract. Independence Independence
• Social Contract
– Idea that there is an intangible contract between the people and their government.
• By agreeing to give the government authority, the government has a duty to protect and serve its people. • Violation of these terms nulls and voids the contract. – The people not only have the right but the duty to remove the illegitimate government, by any and all means necessary. Framing Framing the Constitution
– Post‐1776, individual states adopted their own state constitutions.
• Most had a bicameral legislature – TWO houses. • Prevailing theme = Adoption of natural rights. Framing Framing the Constitution
• Articles of Confederation, 1781.
– Alliance of free and independent states. – They were their own entities. Powers Powers of Confederation Congress
• Power to:
– – – – – Declare war. Conduct foreign relations. Coin money. Handle Indian affairs. Run the postal service. • No power to:
– Tax the people.
• Relied on voluntary state contributions. • No true national executive or judicial body. • States retained power to:
– Print paper money. – Conduct trade among other states and with foreign countries. – Determine political issues.
• One state = 1 vote. • 2/3 of states had to agree to make decisions. • Amendments = had to be unanimous Effects Effects of Articles
• Pros • Cons
– Negotiated peace treaty with – Without taxes… England. • State $$$ never enough during war.
• State $$$ virtually stopped after the war. • → No $$$ to conduct war, e.g., no protection. – No centralized power.
• Fragmented states. • States taxing each other’s goods. • No national authority to settle disputes between states. – Rhode Island, barren of resources, relied on tariffs. – Unanimous requirement.
• One state (RI) kept blocking amendments to control tariffs . • Annapolis Convention. • Shay’s Rebellion. What What to do? – Delegations from 5 states agreed that changes were needed. – Hundreds of people, mainly farmers, revolted against unfair taxes and debts.
• But this event is more of a blip on the radar of American history. – Aftermath was more important than rebellion itself.
• Brought to light need for strong central gov’t. • And, the situation was severe enough to bring George Washington out of retirement. To To be continued on Lesson 2… ...
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- Spring '08