POL203 Lecture 02.docx
This preview shows pages 1-2. to view the full 6 pages of the document.
The Constitution of 1787:
The Institutional Basis of American National Government
September 22nd, 2011
American Political Culture: Multiple Traditions
Free and open markets
Small governments, little intervention
All governments should be close to the people
Active participation of people
Takes on various forms
Notion that government power should be monitored
The role of government should expand and change
To accommodate changing social and economic conditions
Rights and responsibilities should be based on certain cultural characteristics
“I wasn't going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government. I was
going to buy from a manufacturer that's standing on their own: win, lose, or draw.
That's what America is about is taking the chance to succeed and understanding
when you fail that you gotta' pick yourself up and go back to work. Ford is that
company for me.”
Ford is playing on certain traditions within American political life
Notion that government should work closely to maintain large financial institutions
Can’t be understood as a simply left wing or right wing idea.
The Origins of the American Constitutional System: Why bother studying it?
We can see the constitution of 1787 as an early success of American
It is the single most important factor in understanding American politics as a
Want to understand the recurring pattern of American politics
Have to analyze constitution
Only pages 1-2 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.
Institutions matter, what is an institution?
Not a building, but a set of rules/practices
Society Institutions Political Outcomes
Designed to be inefficient
Created by people with different interests and plans
The inefficiency of the legislative process was a common ground
What is a constitution?
A way of structuring political power
Policy Agency: Who will exercise power?
Policy Authority: What can be done with what power?
Policy Process: How shall the power be exercised?
Why do they structure things this way?
Why did they create the system of electing the senate?
What is the purpose of the Electoral system?
Timeline of the American Revolutionary Era
1776 - Declaration of Independence (revolutionary war begins)
1781– Articles of Confederation ratified (first American constitution)
1783 - Peace treaty ratified
1783-1786 problems: Financial-monetary, international relations, domestic order
1787 Constitutional Convention
1788-1790 debates and ratification
Problems helped to explain why there was a mass in favour of constitutional
America’s First Constitution:
The failure of Republicanism in the Post Revolutionary Era
Liberalism and Republicanism in the
Declaration of Independence
Protecting Rights through Democratic Self-Government
Revolution is an appropriate response to any government imbalance
The most important right for the revolutionaries was the right to choose
The American revolutionaries were concerned with a distant uncontrolled
The Articles of Confederation:
More an alliance than a government
i) The national government had limited powers
You're Reading a Preview
Unlock to view full version