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Lecture 1

PSC 101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Supremacy Clause, Concurrent Powers, Connecticut Compromise

Political Science
Course Code
PSC 101

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Ch. 1 Democracy and American Politics
Government is the social institution that maintains a
monopoly on the legitimate use of deadly violence. The state
is the “human community that (successfully) claims the
monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a
given territory.” –Max Weber
Direct Democracy
° All citizens meet and decide
° Unworkable in large areas
Representative Democracy
° Select representatives to act on behalf of citizens
Objections to Representative Democracy
° “Majority tyranny” threatens liberty
° people are irrational and incompetent
° majoritarian democracy threatens minorities
Analytical Framework
Ch. 2 The Constitution
Connecting the Factors that Influence American
Government and Politics: An application
° Interaction of three categories determines
what actions government takes
° 1965 Civil Rights Act (ex. Lyndon
Johnson, a political actor) political
linkages: public opinion and growing
electoral power of African Americans in
the south structural: economic changes
had triggered the “great migration” of
African Americans
Key Ideas in the Declaration of Independence
° declaration echoed Locke’s second treatise on
* people possess rights that cannot be
legitimately taken away
* people create government to protect
those rights
* the people can void the social contract
* avoided many controversial issues (i.e.
* framers aware of the contradiction
between slavery and inalienable human
Articles of Confederation: Our First Constitution
° provisions of the articles
* weak central government
* decisions made in state legislatures
* no power to levy taxes
* no power to regulate commerce
* no chief executive
* no judicial system
* required unanimous approval to amend
° shortcomings of the articles
* no way to generate revenue
* no unified stance in foreign affairs
* no power to regulate commerce
(interstate tariffs stifled economic
What worried American Notables and why?
° The founders’ beliefs about republicanism
* Elect government leaders
* Limit power of government
* Limit popular input
° The founder’s beliefs about the problems of
* An excess of democracy in the states
* The threat to property rights in the states
° The threat of insurrection (Shay’s rebellion)
° The Constitutional Convention and a New
Framework for Government
* Who Were the Framers?
* Consensus and Conflict at the
Constitutional Convention
* What the Framers Created at the
Constitutional Convention
° Who were the Framers?
* Wealthy
* Educated
* Experienced public officials
* Revolutionary War veterans
* No women or blacks, nor poor
* Motivated to protect economic interests
* Success not guaranteed
° Consensus and Conflict at the
Constitutional Convention
* The Great Compromise
Virginia Plan
New Jersey Plan
Connecticut Compromise
* Slavery
* The presidency
° What the Framers created at the Constitutional
* Republican form of government
Elections and representation
Supremacy clause
Limited government
Checks on majority rule
Separation of powers and checks
and balances
* The foundations for a national free
enterprise economy
Protecting property rights
Ch. 3 Federalism: States and Nation
° Federalism Defined
* Federalism
A system of government where
power is shared
* Contrasted
Unitary System
* State governments particularly important
in U.S. system
Local governments legal creations
of states
° Types of Political Systems
° Federalism in the Constitution
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