POLITICS 1 - POLITICS 1 THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM Fall...

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Unformatted text preview: POLITICS 1: THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM Fall 2006––Professor Sanders Page 1 of 34 Table of Contents The Constitutional Convention & Federalist Papers 10 & 51 The Constitution The Electoral College & Devolution The Balance of Power in the Federal System The Media Patterns in the Media Public Opinion Parties and Voter Turnout Voter Turnout and Picking Who We Vote For Third Parties The Executive Branch: An Introduction Presidential Powers & Limits on Power Limitations on Presidential Power (continued) The Courts Limitations on the Courts Kasinathan Politics 1/Sanders Page 2 of 34 Sep 5, 2006 The Constitutional Convention & Federalist Papers 10 & 51 The founders held meetings of the Constitutional Convention in secret because they didn’t want legislatures to influence decisions made. The Bill of Rights represents a drastic change that came from criticisms of the Constitution––an open process could have prevented the Bill from being a list of amendments, however increased openness could have stunted other deliberations. The Convention itself was radical since its original purpose was to rewrite the Articles, but the Convention produced a new document––the Articles took unanimous consent from the colonies. So, the Constitution would have never been passed as an amendment. The Constitution had an adoption procedure built in. The founders had no real governmental system to look to. The British model really wasn’t a model since there wasn’t an aristocracy or a king that existed. Pure democracy also didn’t work because a small community is requisite. “If I don’t know my neighbor’s, I’ll oppress them.” People are by their nature oppressive––as Madison said “If men were angels no government would be necessary.” Madison is an economic determinist in his view that the unequal distribution of property causes the creation of faction. The definition of a faction is a group that looks out for itself rather than the public good or interest as Madison notes. Destroying the causes of faction, according to Madison, would entail destroying liberty and giving everyone the same opinion. So, it’s pretty damn near impossible to destroy the causes, which means we have to deal the problem. Two ways to deal with the problem: 1. Large republic (safeguards in three ways): [a] Size itself prevents factions from becoming large enough to oppress. [b] Representation prevents oppression since each representative will have to look out for more people since districts themselves will become bigger. Districts will become more heterogeneous so you can’t just look out for one interest. [c] Number of “good” people––there are a lot more of good people (people like Madison) in a larger country since percentages remain constant. Doesn’t make any sense....
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POLITICS 1 - POLITICS 1 THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM Fall...

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