Origins of Government notes
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Origins of Government notes “We
must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
• American government, its powers and limitations, were brought to these shores by the English colonists.
Please take out your copy of the Declaration of Independence (page 40 in your book) and answer these questions: 1. Which truths in the second paragraph are “self-evident?” 2. Name three natural rights listed in the Declaration. 3. From what source to government derive their “just powers?” 4. In the series of paragraphs beginnings, “HE has refused his Assent,” to whom does the word “He” refer to?
#2 writing assignment question:
• Do the ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence still mean something to Americans? Justify your answer with two examples.
Celebrate Freedom week question: • Remembering what you’ve learned about the Bill of Rights identify at least two amendments that reflect the influence of the Declaration of Independence.
The ideas of • ordered • limited • representative government have roots in English historical documents
1. Magna Carta (1215), included a. trial by jury b. due process of law 2. Petition of Right (1628) – limited the king’s power; insured citizens they would have protection during peacetime.
3.Bill of Rights (1689) – guaranteed free elections; also limited military during peacetime, protection from cruel and unusual punishment
Three types of colonies: • royal (crown) (8) – direct control of the king; NH, MA, NY, NJ, VA, NC, SC, GA • proprietary (3) – ruled by the owner; MD, PA, DE • charter – governed themselves; CT, RI
By the mid-1700s, the colonies had grown accustomed to doing as they pleased. But when George III (1760) came to power, things changed. 1. taxes were levied 2. colonists resisted
Early colonial attempts at unity: 1. Albany Plan of Union (1754) – 7 northern colonies focused on military matters and relations with France; failed 2. Stamp Act Congress (1765) – 9 colonies protested British policies 3. Boston Tea Party (1773) 4. 1st Continental Congress (1774) – Philadelphia; protested colonial policies, refused all trade with England
5. 2nd Continental Congress (1775) – Philadelphia; battles of Lexington and Concord had already been fought. J. Hancock – president, G. Washington – commander-in-chief; functioned as first national gov’t for 5 yrs.
• fought a war • raised armies and navies • borrowed money • bought supplies • made treaties • created a monetary system
Declaration of Independence – 1776
• 56 signers of a document almost wholly Jefferson’s; brought U.S. into being
Articles of Confederation (1777)
went into effect in 1781
Common features of early state constitutions:
1. popular sovereignty 2. limited government 3. civil rights and liberties 4. separation of powers 5. checks and balances
Parliament could have eliminated the colonists’ chief objection to taxes by allowing them representation in Parliament No taxation without representation!
Critical period – 1780s • 1st national constitution – November, 1777; took effect on March 1, 1781
– Articles of Confederation
1. unicameral 2. each state had 1 vote 3. no executive or judicial branch 4. Congress could make war, borrow $, build a navy, raise an army, settle disputes
Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation 1. Congress powerless to tax 2. Congress powerless to regulate interstate commerce 3. no executive to enforce acts of Congress 4. amendment only with consent of all states
Revolutionary War ended October, 1781 economic chaos resulted
• national government proved too weak to deal with growing economic and political problems
Constitutional convention convened in May, 1787, Philadelphia.
• 55 delegates
Framers were “well read, well-bred, well-fed, well-wed.”
1. young 2. politically experienced 3. well educated
One might expect a government structured to favor people of wealth and property… Consider voting rights…
Work was completed – September, 1787 • James Madison was termed “Father of the Constitution”
Ratification of the Constitution two groups quickly emerged: • Federalists – favored ratification (J. Madison, A.Hamilton) stressed this as a preferable document to the Articles of Confederation
• Anti-Federalists – opposed ratification (P. Henry, S. Adams)
Objections of the AntiFederalists: • increased powers of central gov’t • lack of a bill of rights
Why Virginia and New York were key states – because they are large!
•Federalist Papers • collection of essays by A. Hamilton, J. Madison, and J. Jay written in support of ratification of the Constitution
September, 1788 • 11 states ratified the Constitution and Washington chosen as 1st President
Know in chronological order… • Declaration of Independence • Articles of Confederation • Shays’ Rebellion • Constitutional convention
Why we have government… • maintain order • provide defense • establish justice
Articles of Confederation to Constitution… • legislative supremacy to separation of powers • confederate form of gov’t to federalism • power located in the states to located in national gov’t
Notes to remember for Origins of Gov’t test - a review of sorts… 1. The belief that gov’t should be based on the “rule of law” is limited government.
2. The early belief that the lawmaking branch (Congress) should be dominant is legislative supremacy.
3. Government that is centrally located geographically is unitary.
4. Both the social contract theory of gov’t and the Declaration of Independence share the belief that people have the right to run their own gov’t and to change it if necessary.
5. Government where there is division of power between a strong central government and various state governments is federal.
6. Government where there is separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government is presidential.
7. Government that is characterized by legislative supremacy is parliamentary.
8. The Articles of Confederation government (17811787) had • equal representation of the states, • no executive (president), • no judiciary and • no separation of powers.
9. Very important to know! • legislative branch makes the law • executive branch: enforces the law • judicial branch: interprets the law
10. Federalism is not specifically referred to in the Declaration of Independence.
11. The Declaration of Independence says that governments derive (get) their power from the consent (permission) of the governed.
Know these for the Origins of Gov’t test: 13. a) The Federalists were led by many of those who attended the Constitutional Convention, notably Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. b) Their main argument was the weakness of the Articles of Confederation.
# 14 Anti-Federalists didn’t want such a strong central gov’t as the one set up in the proposed constitution. They also didn’t like the absence of a bill of rights.