215 - A Political, Cultural and Consitutional Framework

215 - A Political, Cultural and Consitutional Framework -...

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Unformatted text preview: US Constitutional History Government and the Law: Structure and Diversity The American Context Majorities and Minorities The Issues Minority Rights and Government Immigration and Freedom Create Diversity Diversity creates the need to protect minority rights Should minority rights be protected from majority will? If so, who, when, how and why? What should the Balance be? Prejudice Thoughts/Feelings about Key Notions in Majority/Minority Relationships inferiority Ideological Racism, Sexism, Ethnocentrism A belief system that a particular race or identity is inferior AntiSemitism Discrimination Actions tied to Prejudice Individual Discrimination Person to Person Institutional Discrimination Systemic Discrimination: Political or Cultural Institutions What is Diversity? What is Diversity? Is it diversity of Groups or Individuals Can Diversity and the notion of "An Is it a Value to be Pursued and Promoted A Reality to be Recognized but Secondary to American Culture Is it really an either/or proposition? Does every country have a single culture American Culture" coexist? Assimilation and Pluralism Assimilation Merging of Majority and Minority Acculturation: Minority learns values, beliefs and attitudes as well as language and culture of dominate group Integration Structural Assimilation Secondary Integration: Entering into public institutions and organizations Politics and Accommodations Primary Level: Entering into cliques, clubs and friendship networks Intermarriage Joining in dominate social institution (Minority and Majority becomes a distinction without a difference Pluralism The ongoing process related to the relationships between groups within culture and government Evolving Answers? Does a single answer exist? Do answers necessarily lie in the evolution of various actors and factors? Historical Context Culture Political Philosophies Economic Systems Answers nested in the content of governmental and societal perspectives and policy Governmental Structure People's Will Our Focus Government Originator of Rights Constitutions Statutes Common Law Able to apply force of the state Historical and Cultural Changes: Government as Mirror and Curb Economic and Social Impact: Government as Passive or Active Overarching Institutions of Potential Inclusion Conversion of Mores and Norms into Law Enforceable by coercion Why Government and Law: Diversity, Majority and Minority Any Paradoxes Resolving conflict Providing public services Setting goals for public policies Preserving culture Establish Order and Stability Allow for Change and Adaptability Create Justice, Liberty and Equality Protect rights and liberties Be Responsible to the People Why do we need a Government: Defining the line between Anarchy and Absolute Control Paradox In order to be free, you must give up some of your freedom to someone else to promote the common good. How much needs to be sacrificed? How do you balance the need for order with the desire for freedom? How do you balance the need for efficiency with the desire for equality What type of government promotes the most liberty and equality? The Origins of Governments and Regimes: How are Governments Created Evolutionary Theory: Government develops and evolves gradually over time Force Theory: Government develops out of conquering or revolution Social Contract Theory: People voluntarily gather and mutually agree to form a government to suit their needs Assumption is people have power to give to government in return government will suit their needs: LockePeople need to gather together in order to protect their natural rights (Life, Liberty and Property) People will be Evil if given the Chance and take what you have been given HobbsPeople gather together to survive until the next day "Life is nasty brutish and short" People are Evil and want to kill each other RousseauSocial Contract takes on what the majority wants People are corrupted by Institutions other than democracy People are inherently good Rule by One: Autocracy Legitimacy, Power and Authority in One person Monarchy Legitimacy from the Divine right theory Rule derived from God rather than from the consent of man. Dictatorship Based Primarily on Power Totalitarian Dictatorship Government controls all aspects of social, political, and economic life. Rule by a Few (Elitism): Power in the Hands of a Small group of People & Legitimacy may come from many different sources (ideology or birthright) Aristocracy Feudal Europe & Roman Republic Oligarchy Ruling Political Party (i.e., Communist Party) Rule by Many: Democracy Legitimacy Power derived from the fact that all have a say in governmental decisions Direct or Pure Democracy All people have an equal say pure majority rule (group with the most votes wins) Representative Democracy People elect a smaller group of people to "represent their interest in governmental decisions Basic Choices: Different Systems of Government Two Forms of Representative Democracy or Republics Presidential democracy: President or chief executive is not elected from the ranks of the legislative branch (the people's representatives) Example: United States of America Representatives represent people within a geographic areas Parliamentary democracy: Chief executive or Prime Minister is one of the members of the legislative branch Example: Great Britain Representatives represent ideas or political party membership in the whole country Who is the prime minister and how would you compare this position to the president of the United States? Constitutional Context : Colonists as British Subjects Colonist expected to be treated as if they lived in Great Britain All rights of Englishman based on the Magna Carta 1215 (Deal between Gov. King & Nobles) Political Culture includes The Rule of Law Power is restricted by law Courts have the Power to hold government accountable (Primitive judicial review) Natural Law provides "Immutable and eternal rules" Trial by jury No excessive bail No cruel and unusual punishment Independent judiciary Taxation only with representation English Bill of Rights & other Statutory Rights (Do these sound familiar?) English Bill of Rights 1689 Historical Foundations for Revolution and a New Government Colonies in America were the product of Contracts: Government by Rules and Principles set in writing Mayflower Compact: Social Contract between Citizens Company Charters: Contract between King and Private Enterprise Royal Charters: Contract between King and Private Individuals Early Systems of Self Government: Colonist expected that they would have a say in governmental actions 1619 House of Burgesses in Virginia Very little power Gave advice to royal government Very popular among colonist *Colonists were, for most part, left alone for 150 years* Mayflower Compact 1620 Breaking the Ties: A Declaration of Independence Rights Endowed by the Creator The Right of Revolution The Right to only be governed by the consent of Governed The fact that "All men created Equal" Declaration of Independence 1776 Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson was the primary author Jefferson borrowed Locke's philosophical concepts of natural rights (unalienable rights) Natural Rights Include: The Confederation of States The first form of Government Chosen in the United States America's first written constitution adopted in 1777 and it created the Articles of Confederation A Firm League of Friendship Confederation a voluntary association of independent sovereign states that meet for mutual needs like Defense. Primary Focus of New Government was to Protect Power of Colonies or New States from a Strong Central Government A FAILURE Constitutional Foundations Individual Rights Compact Theory of Government Protestant Religion (Individualism, Equality, Work, Ethic) Enlightenment Worth of Humans and Search for Knowledge and Freedom Governments are created when people come together to protect their common interests Government is legitimate as long as does not interfere with life, liberty, and property [Locke] Best government is one in which no individual or group can oppress the rest Government has three functions Legislative Executive Judicial (Make Laws) (Enforce Laws) (Interpret Laws) Montesquieu and the theory of Mixed Government Constitutional Issues Division of Power within the National Government Who should do what Representation Who should be represented? Selection How should the people in government be selected Division of Power Between National and State Governments Unitary, Confederation or Federation. Division of Power Between Government and People What powers do the people give the government and which do they retain Complicating the Issues Where to put power Promoting the Will of the Majority while Protecting Rights of the Minority Founders' Fear of Direct Democracy as "Mobocracy" Founders' Tear of Government Slavery The Avalon Project : Pennsylvania An Act for the G National or Local Government Thomas Jefferson: Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Thomas Jefferson: Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom ( Constitutional Convention Originally designed to resolve navigation of Chesapeake Small group called for a meeting to revise Articles Once they met decided to start over 55 Men ("the best and the brightest"?) Av. Age 43 2/3 in Continental Congress Most Lawyers Most owned property and 19 owned slaves Most had experience in Colonial Politics Highly Educated in the Enlightenment as well as current and ancient Political Philosophy Philadelphia Meeting: Constitutional Convention A Basis for Answers Federalist 10 We want liberty and political freedom Freedom Breeds Factions (Parties and Interest Groups) "Liberty is to factions what air is to fire, an aliment without which it expires" Two methods: Destroy individuality "nature of man?" A group united for a common purpose Majority of Minority Remove cause of factions: liberty Destroy liberty Control the effects of factions Large number of citizens: force factions to compete Small groups breed cabals of few over majority No pure democracy: Representatives represent many (Federalism as Faction Filter) States a part of larger government: Faction may control a state but not all the states Attempt a Balance Between Majority and Minority interests Critique? A Related Question: Another Basis for Answers Federalist 51 How do you create a government that controls the governed; and yet oblige the government to control itself? Divide government into separate branches Legislative power predominates: Most democratic branch Divide power within the legislature Divide government into a federal system Madison's Answers Divide government into separate branches Legislative power predominates: Most democratic branch Divide power within the legislature Divide government into a federal system Basic Principles Addressing the Issues of Governmental Power Rule of Law Separation of Powers Civil and Criminal Responsibilities Bill of Rights and Civil Rights Law Givers, Law Enforcers and Law Interpreters Blurring the Separation Politics, Policy and Law at various levels Checks and Balances Federalism Pluralism Interest and Pressure Group Competition Protection of Minority Rights Goal is to define the Law and Public Policy Field has Multiple points of Access and Veto Many Players in the game willing to use any Convenient Field to Achieve their Goals As size of country increases so does competition among groups and protection of minority rightsl The Issue of Representation Should Representation be based on States or Population The Virginia Plan (Population) Bicameral legislature, representation based on state population. National executive branch, elected by the legislature. National court system, created by the legislature. Unicameral Legislature in which each state would have only one vote. The New Jersey Plan (State) The Connecticut Plan (a.k.a. The Great Compromise) The Compromises on Representation and Selection The ThreeFifths Compromise lower house based on population Number of representatives in the House of Representatives from a state would be determined by the number of people in that state. upper house based on State the Senate would have two members from each state. Five slaves would equal three free persons for the purpose of representation in the House of Representatives and for the appropriation of taxes. Representation and Selection in a Nutshell Office House of Representatives Terms of Office Two Years Selection Process Elected by Districts within a State Representation Represent the People in the District Senate Six Years Elected or Selected by the Whole State Represent the Interest of the Whole State President Four Years Selected by the Electoral College Represents the Whole Country Courts Life Appointed by the President and Confirmed by Senate Law and the Constitution Representation and Selection: The Reason Staggered Terms of Office Various Process of Selection Insulates the process from rapid change Makes sure no one group has too much say in who governs Makes agreement between various parts of government difficult Various Levels and Types of Representation Overall Goal is to Spread out power and slow the pace of potential change Fits with notion of Separation of Powers Representation and Diversity What impact does the system of Representation have on the Nature of Diversity in the US? Does it increase or decrease the voice of minority groups? Does it promote unity or purpose? Federalist 51: Dividing Power in the National Government Separation of Powers Montesquieu and theory of Mixed Government or the Notion of Separation of Powers Simple Idea: An Effective Government has the Power to do Three Things Makes law Enforces law Interprets law The person or group who has the power to make, enforce and interpret the law has all the governmental power in society If different people, groups or institutions are each given just one of the three powers, then they will have to depend on each other to be an effective and powerful government Separation of Power in Action Congress: Power to Make Law President: Power to Enforce the Law Courts: Power to Interpret the Law The Result: Different parts of government who are selected by disparate methods and groups of citizens who represent a variety of elements in society for staggered terms are given different powers by the framers. Power of Congress Congress: Article I--Given most of the Power in the Constitution & Very Different From the Articles of Confederation (see Chapter ?) The reason for the Power: Congress is the most democratic and least likely to get anything done All Legislative Power is Given to Congress Bills of Revenue in the House Bills must pass both houses Power to Tax and Spend and provide for General Welfare Regulate International and Interstate Commerce Bankruptcy Laws Coin Moneyweights and measures Post office and Post roads Promote Science and Useful ArtsPatents Declare War regulate land and naval forces provide for an armed forces Make laws that are necessary and proper for the execution of all the legislative powers in the Constitution Powers of the President Article II President not given as much power as Congress but has considerable power in Foreign Affairs (See Chapters 12 and 16) Foreign Affairs Power of President Commander of Arm Forces Receives Foreign Ambassadors from other Countries Appoints Ambassadors to other Countries with Senate Approval Makes Treaties with other Countries with Senate Approval Grants pardons and reprieves for Federal Convenes Special Sessions of Congress Appoints Federal Judges with Senate Approval Appoints Federal Officers with Senate Approval Is vested with all executive power Charged to Faithfully execute the laws of the United States May Veto Potential Laws made by Congress Domestic Power of the President Powers of the Federal Courts Federal Courts: Article III Very vague grants of power (See Chapter 9) One Supreme Court and all inferior courts as Congress deems necessary Courts have the Power to hear cases in Law and Equity Supreme Court's Original Jurisdiction or the cases it must hear to the exclusion of all other federal and state courts Checks and Balances: Complicating the Separation of Powers The Simple Idea: The Separation of Powers forces cooperation between the Branches The system of checks and balances forces the branches to share their power with other branches No one branch has the sole authority to make, enforce or interpret the law The Result: Power is diffused throughout the branches further preventing its consolidation in any one branch and necessitating a higher degree of cooperation than mandated by the mere separation of powers For Example: Congress must share its law making power with the President (Veto) and the Courts (Judicial Review How the government works Federalist 10: Separation of Powers Between National and Local Governments Federalism Supremacy Clause Article IV The Constitution and the Laws of the national government are supreme to the laws of the states Delegated powers: The national government has specific powers that are excluded from the states Concurrent powers: Some power is given to both the national and the state governments Reserved powers: The state governments retain some power that is exclusive to them 10th Amendment: Powers not delegated nor prohibited are reserved to the states or people Bill of Rights Individual Freedoms Limits on Government Evolving Principles of the US Democratic Republic Equality in voting Individual freedom Equal protection under the law Majority rule and minority rights Voluntary consent to be governed American Political Values and Ideals (Political Culture) What is political culture? What are some examples of American political values? Liberty Equality Property Set of shared political beliefs, values, and ways of thinking about government, politics and notions of legitimacy Political debate in the US revolves around how we define these and other political values. Multiculturalism Debate: When no single political value exits What is multiculturalism? Supporters of multiculturalism Opponents of multiculturalism The belief that many cultures that comprise American society and these cultures should be celebrate even if they conflict with "traditional" American values. There is a distinct American culture and society that American citizens should adopt and the government should protect this culture and encourage its adoption through the power of the state (i.e., laws). ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/01/2008 for the course PLSC 215 taught by Professor Pyle during the Winter '08 term at Eastern Michigan University.

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