Poly Sci - class notes

Poly Sci - class notes - Prior to the Constitution 1776...

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1/12/2011 Prior to the Constitution - 1776: Declaration of Independence - 1776-1781: Continental Congress was basically running things o State sent reps and they did stuff o In order for the constitution to work, all 13 states need to agree upon it. o During this five-year period, North Carolina kind of strung them along. - 1781: Articles of Confederation - 1787: Federal convention in Philadelphia (Philadelphia Convention, Constitutional Convention). Proper name is Convention of 1787. o 4 months, stuck in Independence hall, in order to come up with a document o It is then proposed, and it needs at least 9 states to ratify the document We’ll see that only those nine states entered the union while the other four are left out - 1788: Ratification occurs o Immediately elect a congress - 1789: First congress convenes. Also have a presidential election and Washington takes office. o Congress drafts and proposes a bill of rights, a collection of 12 amendments in the constitution that congress proposes to be ratified by the states. Only 10 were ratified. 11 th one was passed in 1994 11 th : if congress raises the salary, it can start until the next election - 1791: Bill of Rights 1779-1787 - “America was a nation with a soul of a church” Gk Chesterton –
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1/12/2011 America was the only nation that he had encountered that was based on an idea and not so much on a cultural tradition. o He said that to be American was to embrace certain ideas. - Declaration of Independence asked what the aim of the government? o Security of Unalienable Rights (Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness) o America is a liberal democracy: Government power derives from the people, but government only acts in ways to protect rights - Assumptions of why those are the aims of the government o Self-evident truths Creaturely Equality (All men are created equal) Endowed with unalienable rights by God Can’t degrade or upgrade yourself in a rightful, fundamental sense To secure these rights, government is implicated amongst men. Depraved human nature. Men are capable of virtue, but inclined to evil. We need a coercive government to keep the peace among people. 1/19 - Governments first duty is to ensure your rights - Articles of Confederation provided the skeleton of the government o Is it a perpetual union? Is it a friendship amongst sovereign states? o Every state gets an equal vote. One state = one vote + state ratification o Under the Articles of Confederation, the states are responsible for enforcing the federal laws That proved to be a big problem
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1/12/2011 Nullification and Interposition (comes much later around the 19 th century) If South Carolina opposed a law, then they would interpose against the law Basically means they could decline to enforce it o State legislatures ratified the Articles of Confederation Who are the citizens of the confederation? The states o They decided to alter the articles of confederation so that congress could enforce the laws (1786/1787)
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Poly Sci - class notes - Prior to the Constitution 1776...

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