Constitutional Democracy

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, US History, Revolution And Post-Independence (1775-1820), Revolutionary War
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Key Terms •Government: procedures and institutions by which people govern and rule themselves. • Why Is Government Necessary? Order Liberty

Authority Legitimacy

•Politics: the process by which people decide who shall govern and what policies shall be adopted. •Politicians: people who fulfill the tasks of operating government. “Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.” - Anonymous

Key Terms

Forms of Government • • • •

Totalitarian Authoritarianism Aristocracy Democracy

• • • •

Theocracy Oligarchy Monarchy Anarchy

Derived from the Greek words demos (“the people”) and kratos (“authority”).

Key Terms •Political Science: the study of the principles, procedures, and structures of government; and the analysis of political ideas, institutions, behaviors, and practices. •Democracy: a political form of government carried out either directly by the people or by means of elected representatives of the people, with free and frequent elections. “Democracy is not so much a form of government as a set of principles.” - Woodrow T. Wilson

Thomas Jefferson, one of our best-known champions of constitutional democracy

Whose Words are These? “Political competition is the heartbeat of democracy…” “Today, the quality of our state does not match civil society’s readiness to participate in it.” “The problem…comes from the lack of transparency and accountability of government...”

Defining Democracy Democracy

Direct Democracy

Government by the people, either directly or indirectly, with free and frequent elections

Government in which citizens vote on laws and select officials more directly

Representative Democracy

Constitutional Democracy

Government that derives its powers indirectly from the people, who elect those who will govern

Government that enforces recognized limits on those who govern and allows the voice of the people to be heard through free, fair, and relatively frequent elections

Direct Democracy • Political decisions are made by the people directly, rather than by their elected representatives • Attained most easily in small political communities.

• Initiative • Referendum • Recall

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

American Government and Politicians in Context •Government by the people requires faith concerning common human enterprise. •Constitutional democracy requires constant attention to protecting the rights and opinions of others. •Constitutional democracy is necessarily government by representative politicians.

Is Direct Democracy Dangerous?

A Democratic Republic Democratic republic and representative democracy really mean the same thing government based on elected representatives - except for the historical quirk that a republic cannot have a vestigial king.

• Principles of Democratic Government – Universal suffrage – Majority rule

• Constitutional Democracy – Limited government

(National Portrait Gallery)

Defining Democracy • Conditions Conducive To Constitutional Democracy •Educational conditions - Democracy puts a premium on education

•Economic conditions - Extremes of poverty and wealth undermine the possibilities for a healthy constitutional democracy

•Social conditions - Overlapping associations and groupings, so that allegiance to one group is not overpowering

•Ideological conditions - Acceptance of the ideals of democracy and a willingness from the majority to proceed democratically

Defining Democracy •Democracy As A System Of Interacting Values •Personal liberty Democracy •Respect for the individual Demos Kratos •Equality of (authority) (The People) opportunity •Popular consent These basic values of democracy do not always coexist happily.

Government by the People

Defining Democracy •Democracy As A System of Interrelated Political Processes •Fair and free elections •Majority rule •Freedom of expression •The right to assemble and protest “Democracy encourages the majority to decide things about which the majority is blissfully ignorant.” - John Simon

Defining Democracy •Democracy As A System Of Interdependent Political Structures •Federalism •Separation of powers •Bicameralism •Checks and Balances •Bill of Rights

Separation of Powers

The Constitutional Roots of the American Experiment •The Colonial Beginnings •Mayflower Compact - Legalized the Pilgrim’s position as a body politic •Colonial assemblies - Every colony in the New World had an assembly

•The Rise of Revolutionary Fervor •The Declaration of Independence - We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Chronology of Events American Revolution begins on 04/18 /1775 Second Continental Congress convenes on 05/10/1775 Ben Franklin presents a plan for confederation on 07/21/1775 Richard Henry Lee introduces independence resolution on 06/07/1776 Declaration of Independence adopted on 07/04/ 1776 – “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Third Continental Congress convenes on 12/20/1776 Articles of Confederation proposed on 11/15 /1777 Articles of Confederation ratified on 03/01/1781 English declare hostilities at an end on 02/04/1783 America declares hostilities at an end on 04/11/1783 Revolutionary War Ends (Treaty of Paris) on 01/14/1784 Constitutional Convention opens on 05/25/1787 Final draft of the Constitution sent to Congress on 09/17/1787

The Colonial Background Separatists were dissatisfied with the Church of England and sought a place where they could practice their religious beliefs. The compact they formed set forth the idea of consent of the governed.

(The Granger Collection)

British Restrictions & Colonial Grievances  In 1763, the British Parliament began to pass laws that treated the colonies as a unit. The major reason for these laws was to raise revenue to help pay off the war debt incurred during the French and Indian Wars (1756–1763).

First Continental Congress  The focus was to restore the political structure that was in existence before the passage of legislation affecting the internal operations of each colony by Parliament.  Had the Crown and Parliament relented on many of their demands it is possible the Declaration of Independence would never have been issued.

Second Continental Congress

Established an army Made Washington the general in chief and pursued the Revolutionary War Painting by John Trumbull, 1819, Library of Congress

The Political Theory and Practices of the Revolutionary Era • Conflicts over the meaning of democracy and liberty in the new nation – Initially, the Revolution was fought to preserve an existing way of life. – Traditional rights of life, liberty, and property seemed to be threatened by British policies on trade and taxation. – The Revolution was inspired by a concern for liberty together with the development of sentiments for popular sovereignty and political equality.

Prelude to the Declaration of Independence • Delegates to the Second Continental Congress did not originally have independence in mind. • By the spring of 1776, delegates concluded that separation and independence were inescapable. • A special committee was appointed to draft a declaration of independence. • The Declaration of Independence was unanimously adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

The Rise of Republicanism Republicanism vs. The Republican Party While republicans were opposed to rule by the British, they were also opposed to rule by any central authority. They were even skeptical of a permanent union of the states. Each state was seen as the sovereign authority and the only legitimate ruling force.

The Declaration of Independence The Influence of John Locke Natural Rights Social Contract © Archivo Iconografico S.A. /Corbis

© Bettmann /Corbis

Key ideas in the Declaration of Independence • Human beings possess rights that cannot be legitimately given away or taken from them. • People create government to protect these rights. • If government fails to protect people’s rights or itself becomes a threat to them, people can withdraw their consent from that government and create a new one

Omissions in the Declaration of Independence • Did not deal with the issue of what to do about slavery • Did not say anything about the political status of women, Native Americans, or African Americans who were not slaves

The Articles of Confederation: Our First Form of Government States retained most of the power Citizens loyal to their state The Confederal Government Structure Under the Articles of Confederation Library of Congress

The Articles of Confederation: The First Constitution • Provisions of the Articles – A loose confederation of independent states – Weak central government

• Shortcomings of the Articles – Indebtedness and inability to finance its activities – Inability to defend American interests in foreign affairs – Commercial warfare among the states

Accomplishments Under the Articles Articles established to: Organize the states so they could defeat the British forces Gain independence from Britain

Weaknesses of the Articles Still no central authority to resolve disputes between the states. To organize the states for the collective good, including the organization of a militia, was crucial to the development of the Constitutional Convention.

The Constitutional Roots of the American Experiment •Toward Unity and Order •The Articles of Confederation - Adopted on March 1, 1781 to bring the thirteen states together while allowing each state to remain independent

•Shays’s Rebellion - Economic depression of mid-1780s •Daniel Shays - Rallied farmers to demand change from government

•Tensions Over Big Government Today • How much power should the American government have and what role should it play in the lives of citizens?

Shay’s Rebellion, 1786  Widespread economic problems among farmers at the end of the Revolutionary War  Nonpayment of taxes and debts led to foreclosure proceedings and imprisonment for debt. © Bettmann/Corbis

• Farmers in western Massachusetts took up arms to prevent courts from meeting • Armed farmers led by Captain Daniel Shays forced the illequipped state militia to withdraw. • By the spring of 1787, special armed forces recruited from the Boston area defeated the rebels.

Aftermath of Shay’s Rebellion • Shay’s Rebellion reinforced the fears of national leaders about the dangers of ineffective state governments and of popular democracy out of control. • In this climate of crisis, a call was issued to meet in Philadelphia to correct defects in the Articles of Confederation. • Delegates to the Philadelphia convention were instructed to propose revisions for the Articles of Confederation, but they wrote an entirely new constitution instead.

Why the Founders Were Worried • An Excess of Democracy in the States – In the mid-1780s, popular conventions were established to monitor and control the actions of state legislators. – The Pennsylvania state constitution replaced the property qualifications as a requirement to vote with a very small tax.

• The Threat to Property Rights in the States – Popular opinion – Stay acts – Shay’s Rebellion

The Articles and the Constitution

Convening the Constitutional Convention • Consensus that a new Constitution was desperately needed • Yet, growing concern by influential citizens about democratizing and egalitarian tendencies

The Constitutional Convention • By 1787, most of America’s leaders were convinced that the new nation was in great danger of failing. • Delegates to the Constitutional Convention – Wealthy men, well-educated, landowners – Young, but with broad experience in American politics – Familiar with the great works of Western philosophy and political science

Debate Over the Intentions of the Framers • Historian Charles Beard: The framers were engaged in a conspiracy to protect their personal economic interests. • Although the reality is surely more complex, broad economic and social-class motives were likely important.

Factions Among Delegates The beliefs of the delegates ranged from the near-monarchism of Hamilton to definite decentralized republicanism. © Archivo Iconografico, S.A./Corbis

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 •The 55 Delegates: Educated, Wealthy, White, Male Experienced in state/local government •Consensus: The common philosophy accepted by most of the delegates was that of balanced government

•Conflict and Compromise •The Virginia Plan – Supreme national government – Favored by populous states •The New Jersey Plan – Confederation model – Favored by smaller states •The Connecticut Compromise •North-South Compromises •Other Issues

Consensus Among the Delegates • Agreement that a new constitution must replace the the Articles of Confederation • Republican form of government • Support for a substantially strengthened national government • Concern that a strong national government is potentially tyrannical • Belief in a republican form of government based on popular consent • Desire to insulate government from public opinion and popular democracy

TABLE: The Virginia and New Jersey Plans

Virginia Plan

New Jersey Plan

Legitimacy derived from citizens, based on popular representation

Derived from states, based on equal votes for each state

Bicameral legislature

Unicameral legislature

Executive size undetermined, elected and removable by Congress

More than one person, removable by state majority

Judicial life tenure, able to veto state legislation

No Judicial power over states

Table: The Virginia and New Jersey Plans

Virginia Plan

New Jersey Plan

Legislature can override state laws

Government can compel obedience to national laws

Ratification by citizens

Ratification by states

A Council of Revisions to review national laws

A “Supremacy clause” similar to Article VI of Constitution

Disagreement Among the Delegates • Representation of the states in the legislature • Status of slavery • Selection of the President Overall, Conflict Often Centered Around Disagreements Between Large and Small States.

Slavery • Three-fifths Compromise • Enactments against the slave trade were prohibited until the year 1808, but a tax or duty on such importation was permitted. • Return of runaway slaves Overall, these provisions explicitly recognize the legal standing of slavery

Conflict and Compromise: The Conflict

The Compromise

State-based approach versus an individual-based approach

House of Representatives: Proportional; Senate: Equal number of representatives from each state

The Conflict

The Compromise

The fact that Northerners hated slavery worried Southerners, who feared that their greater representation in Congress would be used to end slavery

Slaves counted as three-fifths of a free person; protection of the Atlantic Slave Trade for at least 20 years

The Conflict

The Compromise

Southerners feared that the North’s greater representation in Congress would be used to end slavery

Slaves counted as three-fifths of a free person in determining representation in the House of Representatives; protection of the Atlantic slave trade for at least 20 years

Understanding the Constitution — What the Framers Created • Republican form of government – Popular consent and some popular participation, but barriers to majoritarian democracy – Purposes and powers of government limited

Library of Congress

 The Madisonian Model Separation of powers Checks and balances

The Struggle to Ratify the Constitution • Delegates had been instructed to propose alterations to the Articles of Confederation, but they wrote an entirely new Constitution instead. • Ratification was a difficult process. – Federalists — favored ratification – Anti-Federalists — opposed ratification

To Adopt or Not to Adopt? •Federalists Versus Antifederalists

•The Politics of Ratification The Federalist Papers – James Madison – Alexander Hamilton – John Jay The “Brutus” Essays

Ratification of the U.S. Constitution State Delaware Pennsylvania New Jersey Georgia Connecticut Massachusetts Maryland South Carolina New Hampshire Virginia New York North Carolina Rhode Island

Date December 7, 1787 December 12, 1787 December 18, 1787 January 2, 1788 January 9, 1788 February 6, 1788 April 28, 1788 May 23, 1788 June 21, 1788 June 25, 1788 July 26, 1788 November 21, 1789 May 29, 1790

Vote 30 - 0 46 - 23 38 - 0 26 - 0 128 - 0 187 - 168 * 63 - 11 149 - 73 * 57 - 46 * 89 - 79 * 30 - 27 * 194 - 77 * 34 - 32 *

Ratifying Amendments

The Time for Ratification of the 27 Amendments to the Constitution

Four ways to Amend the Constitution

Four ways to Amend the Constitution

• Cope with any new and unforeseen problem • Taken on with extreme caution • Rigorous process

Amending the Constitution • Although 11,000 amendments have been considered by Congress, only 33 have been submitted to the states after being approved, and only 27 have been ratified since 1789.


11,000 The Bill of Rights

• A “Bill of Limits” • No explicit limits on state government powers • Did not apply to state governments

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