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Lecture

POL203 Lecture 03.docx


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL203Y1
Professor
Ryan Hurl

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September 29th, 2011
Lecture 3
American Political Development and Federalism
Essay Idea:
Federalist Paper # 68 and the GOP Presidential Primary Race
Think about this in terms of the spectacle of the Primary Race
Review: The Constitution
Article of Confederation
Crisis that occurred at 2 different levels
I. Excessive power at the state level
II. Ineffective national government
You can understand constitution as liberal document
Rule of law, Security, Economic development
Ultimate conflict:
Legislative process was designed to be inefficient
Most important facet of American constitution
Aspect of American constitutionalism that has been most enduring
What features of the American constitution make it inefficient?
Separation of branches
Separation combined with separate modes of selection
Different policy agencies
Elected for different periods of times
System designed to have different relations with public
History of American constitutionalism in 20th century
Build to overcome burdens in the constitution
To make power more efficient
Important thing about Senate
Originally, for a very long time was elected by state legislatures
Important to note because it reveals changing dynamic of American
federalism
Small change that had massive ramifications
Argument of Lecture
American feudalism is closely connected to a series of critical junctures that
occurred during the course of American political history
Balance of power and national government all relate
Analyze some sources that consider how it developed in its earlier stages

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Can’t understand contemporary debate of federalism without
understanding past
Part of the problem/confusing is neither republics or democrats understand the
full scope of what changed, especially the transformation associated with the
New Deal
New deal radically changes many aspects of American politics
Change was never formally authorized
Issues that come out of New deal are constantly being re argued
Federalist Paper # 10
Major Idea:
The Constitution and Faction
Attempt to provide a kind of social economic theory that’s in the
background of the constitutional structure
Implicit idea about what kind of government will exist under this
constitution
Madison argues you need a certain kind of geography
Central problem with all political life is Faction
Faction:
evil interest group, interested in going against common good
Real problem is that majorities can be factions
A community that decides to rule in its own interest opposing everyone
else
Not enough to have words written on a piece of paper; constitution
Various ways of dealing with Factions
Give everyone the same interests
Egalitarian society where there are no major diffs between people
Society where people are not allowed to differ i.e. religion, etc.
Diversity minimum
Two problems:
I. If it works, it is horrible.
II. It will never works
How can society be shaped to minimize the problem of majority factions?
If you multiply interests enough
It’ll be extraordinary for one group to permanently impede the position of
power
As long you don’t have a permanent group with a consolidated interest
It’ll be difficult for a factional majority to form
Republicanism at the National Level

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Will succeed because equality of legislatures will be better
Within a broader diverse society, it’ll be difficult for a permeable majority to form.
Based upon some assumptions that contestable
In many ways the history of political science is an attempt to say was Madison
right?
Idea of Pluralism prevents the idea of power from being monopolized
Federalism and American Political Development
What is federalism?
A government that is a national government and sub governments
Local governments are independent in some sense
In some way, the different levels of governments are constitutionally
independent
In practice, it is considerably more complicated
Federalism is important not just because of issues for inter governmental
relations and specifying powers of each level of government, but for issues like
civil rights and political economy. These debates revolve issues of federalism.
Each level of government has an independent constitutional basis:
The powers of the lower level governments can’t be taken away from central
government
Advantages of Federalism
Checks and balances
Executive and legislature are separate
Societies that are pluralistic
It grants them greater autonomy
Could be argued that it is a bad thing
(Not in the US)
Chief Advantage (Stated advantage)
Government is closer to people
Government will be more responsive and accountable
Are often called Laboratories of Democracy
In Federal systems there’s more scope for individual states and provinces to
enact unique policy innovations and if they are successful they get taken up
nationally.
Institutional Veto Points
Additional actor that change would have to occur at
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