First Midterm Review Sheet
(September 12, 2012)
Here is the review sheet for our first midterm examination. Let me stress that this
is where you should begin studying ... it is not where you should end. This review
sheet is designed to get you started thinking about the test, but it is just a start.
There are many items from the readings and from lectures that are not covered
As you begin studying, you will want to be familiar with the following....
1. The intellectual traditions behind theAmerican founding, including the
notions of liberalism, representation, government by consent, social contracts,
and the pertinent ideas of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, the Baron de
Montesquieu, David Hume, etc.
John Locke was main influence on the framers. He believed people are in the
perfect stat to order their own actions without help from any other man. Everyone
has equal power. No one can take away life, liberty, or possessions of another man.
America should protect diverse interests. Not Leviathan.
Liberalism: not like GOP; from latin liberalis (free men). People are at
liberty to do what they please. Emerges as a social order in 16th and 17th centuries
in Europe. Strong individuals weak government.
Representatives, not a democracy. In ancient Greece, Polis controlled all.
Possible because of the small nature of polis. Small and homogenous society.
Divine right of kings.Answer only to God.
Thomas Hobbes 1588-1679 was a pessimist, materialist, coward. 1642-1651
English Civil War. Critic ofAristotle. Believes people are inherently evil. State of
nature: equal, free, intelligent, state of perpetual war, solitary, brute, nasty. Social
contract leads to Leviathan- government by consent, give up individual rights for
good of society. Government reps authority of people.Any government is better
than no government.
Montesquieu came up with sep of power and coined the words feudalism
and Byzantine Empire.
David Hume was an empiricist. Believed people only had knowledge of the
things they directly experience. Free will. Solves republican dilemma. Small
enough to govern yet collectively protect.
2. The colonial history of the United States as it affected the decisions of the
founders. Articles of Confed failed. No president and stuff like that. No same money.
No rules to follow. Was in shambles.
3. What the Constitution does and does not do; the principal concepts
underlying it; how and why it was ratified; and the factors that contributed to
Representation: Based on Hobbes, Locke, etc. Government is referee. NB
geographical rep. Not class, race, ethnicity. Serves to moderate policies.
Popular rule: Ultimate authority rests in people. Social contract. NB
restraints on popular vote- indirect elections. staggered terms, courts.
Limited government: Constitution lists explicit, enumerated powers. Bill of
Rights- number 10 (Powers not delegated to fed goes to states). Many
disagreements among founders. Elastic clause.
Sep of Powers: Power corrupts so spread it out. Montesquieu & Locke spirit
of law, freedom is guaranteed by spreading power. NB power is shared not really
Federalism: Both nation and states have constitutional status. Neither can
eradicate the other.
Federal supremacy: E pluribus unum (i nation, not 13).Articles of Confed
failed. Hard realities demanded change. Shay's rebellion- farmers not playing
debts, threatening mobs. Principal has grown.
Judicial branch: Who will interpret constitution? Constitution implies
SCOTUS. Federalist #78- law disregards constitution will be thrown out.
Ratification hinged on pressing problems, no credible alternatives, federalist
papers. Constitutional success based on attitude of compromise- great compromise.
Bill of rights, slave trade, Marbury v Madison judicial review, federalis