POLS 621 - Notes

POLS 621 - Notes - American Civil Liberties Study Guide...

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American Civil Liberties Study Guide Fall 2008
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HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES and CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION Key Terms and Concepts Continental Congress Articles of Confederation Constitutional Convention of 1787 Virginia Plan Federalist/Republican views at Convention Division of Governmental Power Bill of Rights Ratification A m e n d m e n t Constitutional Interpretation Fit Clarity Legal theories Original intent Literalism Meaning of the words Logical reasoning Stare decisis Balancing approach Extralegal theories Policy-based approaches Outline I. Remarkable effort to not only bring about revolution, but also to establish a government under law a. Youth, yet experience of founding fathers; average age of Constitutional framers was 42 years old; knew political theories at the time; most involved in local conventions and Revolutionary War II. Continental Congress a. Formalized the Declaration of Independence; designated the committees b. Produced the Articles of Confederation – "league of friendship" between the States; citizens saw themselves as residents of their States, not as Americans; did not give the government the power to tax the States; secured liberties, but didn't create strong central government; in 1776, "liberty" meant freedom under laws they made themselves and the right to do anything that didn't harm someone else; realized they needed a representative government of limited power to protect natural rights ( A K A inherent or inalienable rights) c. Constitutional Convention i. Purpose – to revise the Articles of Confederation ii. Result – drafted the Constitution; took four months iii. Constitution had its origins in documents such as: 1. Magna Carta of 1215 – idealized a limited government restricted by law 2. Petition of Right of 1628 3. English Bill of Rights of 1689 4. State Constitutions 5. Virginia Plan
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a. Presented by Virginia at the Convention before all of the parties arrived b. Advocated for: bicameral Congress, each based upon State populations; national government with veto power over the States; national judiciary, elected by the legislature; single executive, also elected by the legislature, serving for a single term only III. Constitutional Convention – two themes a. Federalist view (protect people from the worst in themselves) – Madison; there should be a powerful central government; wanted checks and balances still with strong government; individuals possess moral rights and the government should be kept within the boundaries of those rights b. Republican view (faith in human nature and majority's ability to govern) – J e ffe r so n; believed in a decentralized government and in States rights; individual rights protected by the government; government's job was to promote economic development, education, public services, etc. IV.
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POLS 621 - Notes - American Civil Liberties Study Guide...

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