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Political Science
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Ryan Hurl

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September 27 Discussion on current election - Polls (must represent composition of ppl who will actually go out and vote) - Importance of Ohio - Structure of Electoral College causes conflicts of interest between government and interest groups -Use for further information on election history and patterns The Origin of the American Constitution (slide with 3 bubbles arrowed towards one) Conflicting Traditions - Emerged out of a competing sense of values - Evident in the articles of confederation. Republican moment for constitutionalists - Failure of the articles of confederation led to the liberal moments - Nobody gets their way in constitution setting - Constitution based on compromise - The constitution created a national government with much greater power, but at the same time, laboured under considerable constraints The Constitution: Policy Process (look at slide for overview of 3 below terms) 1. Congress 2. Presidency 3. The Judiciary - To create a law, you require the agreement of the senate, congress, and president - Constitution allows for democratic and non-democratic ways to pass law - In some cases, democratic ways have flawed ways of representing the people - Differences between Congress and Senate - Differences in terms of membership in the congress and state. - Each state gets two seats in senate - Regional representation is built into the system - Creates a hurdle in public policymaking - House of representatives has a 2 year term, whereas senate has 6 year term - Its going to place the different representatives in different relations with interests and congress - Lengthier time period of senate was intended as an “anti- democratic” element - Senate: Greater expertise, familiarity with the process. Upper house in the sense of more dignified. - Senators were originally selected by state governments. The Senate was meant to represent the interest of states. - Crucial balancing feature between State and Federal power (which was inherent in compromise over constitution). - Electoral College - Changed a lot over the year The Constitution and the Problem of Faction (slide) - Federalist Papers (more specifically, FP 10) - You have to arrange a society and political system in order to avoid the most serious problems of democracy, which Madison describes as ‘factions’ - Factions: a group motivated by passion or interest that wishes to harm citizens or undermine permanent aggregate interest of community. - What happens if the majority is this so-called ‘faction’? “Tyranny of the majority” - Madison: we can avoid this problem. Constitution is built to avoid this problem. By having an extended republic, or large- scale society, you can avoid this. - Majority faction more likely to emerge in small society because interests more stable - In a large-scale society, you will have many more interests. As a consequence, majorities will exist/form and sometimes will adopt laws that harm the whole. But that ruling group will not be permanent - Danger of majority faction wont be eliminated, but attenuated - This ties in with the most fundamental question of the course: HOW DEMOCRATIC IS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA? - To what extent is Madison’s theory able to restrain the problem of majority faction? Federalism and American Political Development: 1790’-1930’s (slide) - One of the most dynamic areas of American constitutionalism - Must understand how federalism developed from the beginning (constitution) - Basic Structure of Federalist System (as opposed to Unitary government): - At least 2 levels of government, and the powers do not depend on the other - Relative balance of power between states and nation have changed over time, which is why it’s important to understand its development - Disagreements on balance of power are rooted in how federalism was created - 3 Major Stages: 1. 1790-1860 – Jeffersonian/Jacksonian Era - The lion share of government power tended to be on state level laws - Decentralized Federalism - Result of political struggle over ‘founding era’ 2. 1860s-1880s – Civil War - Fail
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