POLS 101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Social Mobility, Salutary Neglect, Natural And Legal Rights

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Lecture Notes
September 3, 2014
Foundations of Constitutional Ideals
Colonial roots
oSalutary neglect – the British government allowed the colonists to rule
themselves
oColonial legislatures in each state – accustomed to local rule and self-
government
oSocial mobility (no titles)
oGovernment by compact (ex. Mayflower Compact), social contract
oReligious freedom
oUnstable borders
Why the colonists revolted
oQuartering of troops
oBritish war debt  imposed taxes
oLack of representation  “taxation without representation is tyranny”
oDelegate vs. trustee representation
Declaration of Independence (1776)
National and individual – separate and equal status
Inalienable rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
Governments are formed to protect these rights
Governments derive their power from the consent of the governed
Articles of Confederation (1777-1787)
“League of Friendship” among the states
No chief executive or judiciary
No central power to muster an army
No central authority to tax
Nine states required to pass laws
Unanimous amendments
One vote per state
**States still had the most power by far – weakened national government
Shays’ Rebellion – rebellion in MA led by Daniel Shays, a veteran
oShut down state government
oConvinced many of the need for strong central government
oFarmers struggled to pay mortgages
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