POLA51 Chapter 5 Brooks Notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
James Mc Allister

POLA51 Chapter 5 Notesis the fundamental law of a political system It is fundamental because of all other Constitutionlaws must conform to the constitution in terms of how they are made and in terms of their substanceIs a necessary condition for democratic politicsWithout it there is no civilized way of resolving conflicts No way of predicting either the powers of governments or the rights of citizens Constitutions deal with two set of relationsThe relationship between citizens and the state the constitution empowers the state to act to pass laws on behalf of the communityThey also have to limit power they do this by identifying those individual rights and in some cases group rights that the state cannot infringe Other part is the involvement of distributing the functions and powers between different parts of the state The constitution is expected to establish order all peaceful settlements and differences Hobbes Locke and Rousseau all used the concept of state of nature to illustrate the impulse behind constitutional government The state of nature according to Hobbes was the state of chaos in which no individual could feel secure in the possession of his property or life Because of this insecurity that leads people to demand a constitution where there is none and to accept the necessity of one even if they find it difficult to agree on its components In modern societies the alternatives to constitutional government are AnarchyAnarchy Absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual regarded as a political idealNo generally accepted rules for resolving the differences between factions of populationThe State does NOT existThe sort of chaos and civil strafe that broke out in some of the newly independent republics created after the dissolution of the former Soviet Unionor totalitarianism Totalitarianism A system of government that suppresses all dissent in the name of some supreme goalState does existBut because its powers are unlimited and all realms of social and economic life are subordinate to it it makes no sense to talk of a constitution
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