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September 23, 2013 - The Constitution.docx

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Political Science
Political Science 2244E
Peter Scapillato

The Constitution September 23, 2013 American Profiles Republican Property - Founded in 1864 - Less government intervention and capitalist market. - Principles: Belief that individuals can make the best decisions; close to home. - Libertarianism - 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. Democratic Party - 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 body.  Typical characteristics: o Written o Short o General o Entrenched  The American context: o Oldest (except from 1861-165: the Civil War) and most successful in the world. 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 (through laws). o Modern-day application  Interpret 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 debate. The Constitution’s Roots  Colonial politics 1. Distance from English Authority - salutary neglect (ignoring the colonies, allowing them to develop their own institutions). 2. Representation - experience (gained a lot of experience in representation and debates; not a naïve group of peasants anymore) - desire 3. Social Mobility - plentiful land (land of plenty  economic conditions helped foster a republic) - republic (= indirect representation) 4. Covenants - natural agreement and consent (early settlers would have to sign the Mayflower agreement, promising to be good citizens; mutual agreement) 5. Individual Rights - religious freedom (no government interference – led the way for other fundamental freedoms) 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 British victory:  Significant results 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 people’s will.  Philosophical dimension o Delegate representation  Colonists’ idea of self-rule and self-representation. POWER IN THE PEOPLE 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).  Census o Every 10 years o The voting districts changed.  Proclamation of 1763 o Post-war 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 Barns o Warehouses o Occupying British armies were allowed to live in any barns or warehouses whether the owners gave them permission or not.  Mercantilism 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 company. o Governor James Hutchinson o $1-3 million  This much value of tea was dumped overboard by protesters at night.  “Intolerable Acts” o Closes Boston Harbor o No town meetings – limiting productive citizens. o Quartering of troops not just in barns anymore, but any homes in Massiteussis.  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 numbers. 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 one idea. 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
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