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1LECTURE NOTESUCLA Department of Political Science Fall 2007 PS 40 Introduction to American Politics Prof. Thomas Schwartz Hunk 4 Background of U.S. Constitution The Founders’ baggage, or set of experiences, comes in 4 parts: British history, intellectual resources (principles), early American history, and problems of federation. Let us consider these in turn. 1.17thCentury England. A Civil War toppled King Charles I, along with his head, and established a republic, called the Commonwealth, under Oliver Cromwell. When he died, Parliament restored the monarchy under Charles II. The Glorious Revolution then kicked out Charles’s successor, James II, made William and Mary co-monarchs, and in effect established parliamentary sovereignty. Whigs vs. Tories. In the Civil War, Roundheads (Cromwell supporters) were pitted against Cavaliers (monarchy supporters). The Roundheads became Whigs; the Cavaliers, Tories. Whigs sought representative government; Locke’s Second Treatise on Governmentwas their manifesto; I guess that makes Locke a big Whig. Tories believed in the divine right of kings; Hobbes had argued in effect for the unchecked power of a king or other “sovereign” separate from and not beholden to his subjects. The Whigs got their way in the Glorious Revolution. The US Founders were basically Whigs.
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