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Foundation of the U'S' Government


Government is the political direction or control exercised over the actions of ... 'If men were angels, no government would be necessary. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Foundation of the U'S' Government

Foundation of the U.S. Government
  • Overview
  • Fall 2003
  • Gail Johnson

What is Government?
  • Government is the political direction or control
    exercised over the actions of citizens form or
    system of rule.
  • Democracy government by the people power is
    vested in the people.

In the Beginning. The Articles of Confederation
  • A firm league of friendship
  • Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and
  • Each state could create its own money, rules of
    commerce (tariffs, etc.).

In the Beginning. The Articles of Confederation
  • Unicameral representative Congress
  • No executive, no independent judiciary, no upper
    chamber of the legislature
  • Delegates to Congress
  • Each state legislature appoints between 2-7
  • Each state has one vote

In the Beginning. The Articles of Confederation
  • Decisions in Congress made by the majority
  • Expenses for national defense paid out of the
    common treasury
  • No power of the purse
  • Taxes levied and sent to the Congress by the
    direction of each state legislature

Ten Year Later..need for change
  • Treasury is empty Debts cannot be paid
  • Unmet expectations equality and political
  • Threat of a social revolution
  • Competition between the statesduties to pay at
    every state border
  • Lack of quorum in congress
  • Conflict and chaos

Ten Year Later..need for change
  • Our present federal government is a name, a
    shadow, without power, or effect. Henry Knox

What Went Wrong?
  • Fear ruledavoid pain inflicted by the King and
  • Fear of a strong central government led them to
    create a confederacy with no executive, no money,
    no power to raise money.
  • Narrow state self-interestloyalty to the state,
    not nation.
  • Power to the states

Shays Rebellion
  • Farmers stormed courthouse in Mass.
  • Property taxes increased and their profits
  • Threatened by foreclosure
  • The government did not serve them, so they did
    not owe loyalty to the government
  • Their rebellion, unlike the Revolution, was seen
    as evil minded persons.

Bloodless coup detat
  • Constitutional Convention, 1787 in Philadelphia
  • Met behind locked doors.
  • Consensus a more effective central government
    was needed. But what powers, form or how
    representation should be determined were up for

Philosophy Founding a Government
  • Hobbs evil nature of people, pessimistic view
  • Lock and Rouseau good nature of people
  • optimistic view
  • Plato democracy would result in tyranny of the
  • Aristotle rule by the upper class
  • Burke representative democracy
  • Iroquois influence?

James Madison
  • "If men were angels, no government would be
    necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither
    external or internal controls on government would
    be necessary. In framing a government which is
    to be administered by men over men, the great
    difficulty lies in this You must first enable
    the government to control the governed and in
    the next place oblige it to control itself." (51)

Madisons Dream
  • Diffused Power
  • Love/Fear View of Power
  • Mistrust of concentrated power
  • Competing Power Rather than Hierarchical Power
  • Competing rather than Collaborative Power

Madison Mischief of Factions
  • By faction I understand a number of citizens
    whether amounting to a majority or minority...who
    are united and actuated by some common impulse of
    passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of
    other citizens or the to the permanent and
    aggregate interests of the community.

Madison Mischief of Factions
  • There are two methods of curing the mischief of
    faction the one, by destroying the
    liberty....the other, by giving every citizen the
    same opinions.... (p.78)
  • Control the Effects of Faction
  • Extend the spheres so permanent majorities cannot
    be formed

Madison Mischief of Factions
  • To avoid the concentration of power and
    encroachment of power
  • Ambition must be to made to counteract

Madison Mischief of Factions
  • Tyranny of the Majority avoid permanent fixed
  • Tyranny of the Minority
  • Power to stop, slow things down

MadisonFederal form of government
  • a republic not only guard the society against
    the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one
    part of the society against the injustice of the
    other part.....If a majority be united by a
    common interest, the rights of the minority will
    be insecure. (P. 323)

Madison Legislature
  • In a republican government, the legislative
    authority necessarily predominates. The remedy
    for this inconviency is to divide the legislature
    into different branches and to render them, by
    different modes of elections and different
    principles of action

  • It was intended that the legislature would be the
    source of policy making, as the more deliberative
    body. He believed that "promptitude of decisions
    is oftener an evil than a benefit.

Federalism Different Levels of Government
  • Federal Defense, Money, Postal, Space,
    Veteran's Services, Natural Resources,
    Retirement, Safety Net
  • State higher education, welfare, roads,
    corrections, inspections, liquor control
  • Local (83,000 local governments) schools,
    roads, police and fire, utilities, public
    transportation, parks, sanitation, libraries.

Structure Separation of Powers
  • Executive Branch
  • Stronger than Articles of Confederation but held
    in check by Congress and Courts
  • President is not as strong as Hamilton wanted
  • Not the CEO
  • Hapless giant
  • Little control over the bureaucracy
  • National constituency
  • Bully Pulpit
  • Job is not to legislate but to administer, but
    FDR gave rise to the legislative presidency
  • Administration is harder but not seen as important

Structure Separation of Powers
  • Executive Branch
  • Cabinet president recommends, Senate must
  • Delegated power from the President (not in the
  • Cabinet works at the pleasure of the president
    but is accountable to Congress, the agency and
    the agencys clientele
  • Government of Strangers
  • Political appointees 3,000 at the federal
    level. Vestiges of the spoils system

Structure Separation of Powers
  • Congress competing power
  • House and Senate 535 members, short-term focus,
    ad hoc policy setting no national plan
  • Non-hierarchical sources of power not
    necessarily in position
  • Work is done in committees.
  • Parochial view from sub-committees

Structure Separation of Powers
  • Congress competing power
  • House proposes budget
  • Senate has to agree but cant propose House
    more rowdy, shorter terms, more responsive to
  • Senate more deliberative, longer terms, bigger
  • Political payoff casework, bills passed in
    constituents interest

Structure Separation of Powers
  • Judiciary
  • Power is judicial review
  • Interprets the law but has to wait for a case to
    come to them
  • Cant take initiative
  • Supreme Court
  • To be removed from politics, justices serve for
  • The can also tell administrators what to do

Closing Mediation We the People
  • JFK Profiles in Courage
  • Pp. 256-257