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CAS PO 111 Lecture Notes - Commerce Clause, Government Simulation Game, Fourteenth Amendment To The United States Constitution

Political Science
Course Code
CAS PO 111
Graham Wilson

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Constitutions set the rules for the political system.
British do not have a constitution, only exists as a mixture of laws passed by parliament
and custom and precedent- how to solve issues that come up is set on historical solving.
Our constitution is comparatively short compared to India’s constitution. It has brevity and
is relatively short
We have only had two Constitutions that have held us through the past several hundred
years. We have stability.
Three monarchies
Two “empires”
Five Republics
Some of the European countries that did not exist when the Constitution was adopted: Italy,
Germany, Belgium.
The point is that the constitution is very old and very successful
GOALS OF THE WRITERS OF THE CONSTITUTION after failed Art. of Confederation
1. A more powerful national government to capable of dealing with international and domestic
challenges. - fear from unrest (shay’s rebellion)= wanting a stronger nat’l gov’t.
2.Something that could get adopted. The writers had to deal with political realities- the nation
started out with separate colonies so it was difficult to hold power over all affairs. Hard to work
as one political unit after the colonies were themselves their own political units. Have to
compromise (composition of representation in congress itself was a conflict) in order for the
colonies to adopt the new constitution.
Checks and balances is achieved by the “sharing of powers”
Iran-Contra was a constitutional issue because Congress prohibited money given to contras
but Reagan went through with it?
John Adams thought the english constitutional was almost the ideal. He thought the english
constitution had a balance of powers and was still attached to this idea.
Original constitution did not include the explicit statements of rights. due process,
life ,liberty, protection of property. They were amendments. Why didn’t they put those
rights in the core of the constitution? Answer: they thought the balance of powers would
not need explicit guarantees of liberty. thought the system itself would prevent tyranny and
maintain freedom.
3. A constitution that would not create tyranny. Had to provide reassurance (the Federalist
papers by john jay, madison, and john adams) written to say to people to adopt the constitution.
“Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” “Ambition to counteract ambition” is basically
the system of checks and balances
Some Myths of the Constitution
1.Separation of powers: no, there is actually a sharing of powers not separation
2.Constitution created a democracy: there was slavery, allocated seats in H of Rep, but not
Senate. Many of the changes we have made have increased the degree that we are democratic:
ended slavery, equal voting rights, direct election of senate.
No, we have made some amendments : Bill of Rights
The 14th amendment passed by congress, was later ratified. : the amendment did not
prevent the taking away of african american’s rights in the south, did not prevent the
creation in the US of apartheid: plessy vs ferguson, court said it was discrimination was ok.
all this means is that the Federal authorities have much more power to tell States what to do
3.We have the original constitution today.
Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for pres. and vp, shall not
be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.
Constitution parts that have been discarded:
Sunday, December 15, 2013
5:17 PM
PO 111 Page 1
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