September 23, 2013
- Founded in 1864
- Less government intervention and capitalist market.
- Principles: Belief that individuals can make the best decisions; close to home.
- 18 Republican Presidents, first being Lincoln.
- Holds majority of seats in Congress and minority in the Senate.
- Greatest support comes from middle-income families, as well as high-income
and armed service families.
- Socially conservative.
- Left-sided; socially liberal.
- Believe in the greatest good for the greatest number.
- Accomplishments: Medicare, covering birth control, Fair Pay Act (prevents
pay discrimination against women), ended war in Iraq, believes in
community colleges and student loans, advocates middle class by cutting
their taxes, pro same-sex marriage.
- Popular with young voters.
- God is not mentioned in their platform.
- Endorse decreasing the size of government.
What’s a Constitution?
The set of fundamental rules governing the politics of a nation or subnational
The American context:
o Oldest (except from 1861-165: the Civil War) and most successful in
o Owner’s manual and rule book
What the government can do.
How the government can do it.
o Organizes our political life.
o Declaration of Independence
The fundamental ideas. o Institutionalizes these ideas – making them into societal norms
o Modern-day application
These are traditional ideas, and cannot always be directly
applied (e.g. gay marriage). This is why they must be
interpreted. However, this causes a lot of controversy and
The Constitution’s Roots
1. Distance from English Authority
- salutary neglect (ignoring the colonies, allowing them to develop their
- experience (gained a lot of experience in representation and debates;
not a naïve group of peasants anymore)
3. Social Mobility
- plentiful land (land of plenty economic conditions helped foster a
- republic (= indirect representation)
- natural agreement and consent (early settlers would have to sign the
Mayflower agreement, promising to be good citizens; mutual
5. Individual Rights
- religious freedom (no government interference – led the way for other
6. Violent Borders
- necessities a strong central government
Why did the colonists revolt?
Friends to enemies
French and Indian War
o Two significant changes that took place within the colonies following
o Redcoats – 10 000 stayed to protect the land
o Expensive – Very costly for the British, so they taxed the colonies to pay
off the war. Led to great debate around representation – fight for the
o Delegate representation Colonists’ idea of self-rule and self-representation. POWER IN
o Trustee representation
British idea – they will impose their will for the greater good
(regardless of the people’s opinions). This worked in England
(it’s how it had always been).
o Every 10 years
o The voting districts changed.
Proclamation of 1763
o Appalachian Mountains
Development could not expand past this point. Another example
of a corrupt monarchy. Colonists ignore these regulations.
o Corrupt monarchy
Quartering Act of 1765 (response to colonists ignoring the monarchy.
o Occupying British armies were allowed to live in any barns or
warehouses whether the owners gave them permission or not.
o British enforced mercantile trade policies (had to trade with British,
and won’t make as much money).
Stamp Act of 1765
o Direct tax – requires all documents printed to be printed on stamps
made in London.
o Stamp Act Congress
Townshend Acts (1767)
o More taxes
o Governors and judges salaries were given these raises. If paid by the
King, you’ll probably vote in favor of the King.
o Tax precedent – exert power and authority over the colonies.
o Petitions and mobs
In response to mobs, troops occupy Boston in 1768.
Boston Massacre (1770)
A result of the troops being in Boston.
o 5 civilians die
o Blood spilled; rebellion on the table
Boston Tea Party
o East India Tea company
British tea company on the verge of bankruptcy. Government of
Britain wanted to help, so they made it so that the only tea for
sale in the colonies was the products of the East India Tea
o Governor James Hutchinson o $1-3 million
This much value of tea was dumped overboard by protesters at
o Closes Boston Harbor
o No town meetings – limiting productive citizens.
o Quartering of troops not just in barns anymore, but any homes in
First Continental Congress
Petitioned to end the Intolerable Acts.
o September 1774
o “Life, liberty, and property.”
o May 1775
Agreed to meet again at this point in the future with greater
Homework: Watch JOHN ADAMS – HBO FILM
Declaration of Independence
Second Continental Congress
o May 1775
o Four Priorities
Independence - to british monarchy
Army – Mobilize to fight the British
Government – to coordinate
13 = 1 – had to convince 13 very different colonies to support
o July 4, 1776
o Two parts
Principles – The ideas americans believe in.
Grievances – Directed to King George III
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
Statement of Principles List of Grievances
- Equality - Representation
- Inalienable rights (cannot be - Standing army NOT under civilian
taken away; given to us by nature) co