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The Study of American Government


The Study of American Government Chapter 1 Political Power Ability to get others to act in accordance with desires/intentions Power as it affects government ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Study of American Government

The Study of American Government
  • Chapter 1

Political Power
  • Ability to get others to act in accordance with
  • Power as it affects government
  • Government takes private matters public
  • Rightful power authority
  • Legitimacy of authority
  • Historical controversies

  • Variable Interpretations
  • Represents true interests of the people
  • Rule of the many
  • Direct
  • Indirect
  • Representative democracy
  • Leadership competition
  • Referred to in Constitution as a Republic
  • Founders distrust of direct democracy
  • Impracticalities
  • Fleeting passions of the people persuasion by

Distribution of Powers
  • Majoritarian Politics
  • Elected officials as delegates of the people
  • Issues are sufficiently important to command
    attention of citizens
  • Elite Politics View
  • Marxist theory capitalists
  • Power elite corporate leaders, military
    officers, key politicians
  • Bureaucrats
  • Pluralists
  • Position, access to mass media, etc

Political Change
  • Continual adaptation and change in political
    system reflect changing beliefs
  • Reflection of changing economic theories and
  • Changing Political Preferences
  • Preferences result in political
  • Importance of issues

Fundamental Democratic Values
  • Popular sovereignty
  • Respect for the individual
  • Liberty
  • equality

Fundamental Democratic Processes
  • Free and fair elections
  • Majority rule with minority rights
  • Freedom of expression
  • Right to assemble and protest

Fundamental Processes
  • Federalism
  • Separation of Powers
  • Checks and balances
  • Constitutionalism

The Constitution
  • Chapter 2

The Problem of Liberty
  • Colonists wanted continued rights of Englishmen
  • Independence as a way to protect liberties

The Problem of Liberty, cont.
  • higher law embodying natural rights
  • Real revolution was the radical change in the
    principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections
    of the people John Adams

Articles of Confederation
  • League of Friendship
  • John Hancock, and president, never showed up
  • Lack of focus, national power, judicial system
  • Many leaders had a desire for a stronger national
  • Ex Shays Rebellion, January 1787

Constitutional Convention, May 1787
  • Philadelphia
  • Participants well read, well bred, well fed,
    well wed
  • Madison Father of the Constitution strong
    leader detailed notes of convention
  • Washington presiding officer highly respected
  • Franklin elder statesman
  • Morris largely responsible for final working
  • Hamilton most forceful advocate of a strong
    central government

Constitutional Convention, 1787
  • Delegates looked to historical documents and
    political institutions
  • Wanted
  • Limited power of government
  • 3 branches of government
  • National legislature to have supreme power over
  • One house elected by the people

Constitutional Convention, 1787
  • Change in task scrap Articles, and create a new
  • Small states fearful
  • New Jersey Plan
  • Equal representation
  • Virginia Plan
  • Representation by population

The Great Compromise
  • Connecticut Compromise
  • House of Representatives
  • Based on population
  • Elected by the people
  • Senate
  • 2 senators from each state
  • Appointed by state legislatures

Other Components of the Constitution
  • Electoral College
  • Protection of Property Rights
  • Selection of the Supreme Court
  • Nominated by President
  • Approved by Senate
  • August 6, 1787 1st draft of the Constitution
    presented approved September 17

The Constitution and Democracy
  • Framers afraid of results if people had too much
    say in government
  • Temporary popular passions
  • Insecurity of minority rights
  • A Republic
  • Principle of majority rule
  • Judicial review limiting powers of popular
  • Amendments difficult to pass

Key Principles of the Constitution
  • Separation of powers
  • Federalism

Government and Human Nature
  • Restrictions to unlimited powers
  • Checks and balances/ separation of powers
  • New government had to be ratified by the state
    legislatures would they give up their
    sovereignty to a federal government?
  • Framers wanted to bypass the legislatures
  • Constitution only had to be approved by 9
  • Resistance of the Anti-Federalists
  • Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights
  • Constitution ratified with promise of Bill of
  • Washington took office and government implemented
  • All 13 states had ratified by spring 1790
  • Went into effect 1791
  • Limited federal government, not state

The Constitution and Slavery
  • Slavery wasnt directly dealt with
  • Betrayal of the Declaration of Independence
  • Compromise to ensure passage of the Constitution
  • Side Issues
  • 3/5 Compromise
  • New government could not prohibit slavery before
  • Property belongs to whomever owns it
  • Failure to deal with slavery Civil War

Motives of the Framers
  • Economic Interests of States
  • Continual debates over motives of framers

  • Federalists
  • Property owners
  • Creditors
  • Merchants
  • Elites most fit to govern
  • Strong central government
  • Hamilton, Madison, Washington, Jay
  • Anti-Federalists
  • Small-farmers
  • Frontiersman
  • Debtors
  • Shopkeepers
  • Believed government should be closer to the
  • Feared strong Central government favor strong
  • Henry, Mason, Gerry

Federalist Advantages
  • Better represented in state legislators
  • Controlled the press
  • Organized
  • The Federalist Papers
  • Constitution ratified, 1789

Principles of the Constitution
  • Limited Government
  • Bill of Rights as a Safeguard
  • Separation of Powers
  • 3 branches (influence of Montesquieu)
  • Checks and balances
  • Judicial Review
  • Power of courts to strike down laws or government
  • Marbury v. Madison, 1803
  • Changing the Constitution Informally
  • Acts of Congress (Judiciary Acts, 1789)
  • Judicial Rulings (Brown v. Board of Education,
  • Presidential Actions
  • Customs and Traditions
  • Formal Changes
  • Amendment Process Proposal 2/3 vote from both
    House and Senate OR 2/3 of states request
    Constitutional Convention
  • Ratification ¾ of legislatures or ratifying
    convention in ¾ of states
  • Time limit for ratification 7 years

  • Chapter 3

Governmental Structure
  • Local and Federal Units of government
  • National Delegated Powers (expressed, enumerated)
  • Elastic Clause (implied powers)
  • States have reserved powers (education,
  • Concurrent powers (borrow , tax, law
  • Obligations of each
  • National Guarantee republican governments in
    each state protect each state granting new
    states same rights
  • State fulfill faith and credit clause
    privileges and immunity clause extradition

Controversy Surrounding Federalism
  • States can block federal programs states rights
  • Federalism provides for the unique political
    heritage of the U.S. suits a heterogeneous
  • Allows flexibility for states to experiment with
    different groups attaining power at the
    different levels

Mobilization of Political Activity
  • Because of various governmental opportunities,
    citizens feel they can make a difference
  • Increased participation
  • Lower organizational costs

Founding of Federalism
  • Government receives its power from the people
  • Both state and federal government have
    independent authority
  • Supreme Court interprets where and when federal
    government can intervene in state issues

Elastic Clauses
  • Founders unable to make exact / exhaustive list
    of federal government power
  • Hamilton felt national government supreme
  • Jefferson felt the people were ultimate
  • Madison limited national government and saw state
    governments as having expansive powers

Debate on Federalism
  • Civil War as final showdown between states
    rights and national supremacy
  • Supreme Court as interpreter of Constitutional
  • Early Supreme Court supports Nationalists
  • McCulloch v. Maryland
  • Expanded power of Congress
  • Confirmed supremacy of the federal government in
    the exercise of those powers
  • Doctrine of nullification
  • Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions
  • Southern use in defense of slavery

debate on Federalism
  • Dual Federalism
  • National government supreme in its sphere state
    governments supreme in theirs
  • Interstate commerce (Congress)
  • Intrastate commerce (State)
  • Whose control is it under?
  • Currently, Congress can basically pass any laws
    it wants dual federalism has disappeared

Federal State Relations
  • Grants in Aid
  • Federal funds for state projects
  • National Needs
  • Less money for state projects, more for national
    interests crime, healthcare, etc. (1960s)
  • Intergovernmental Lobby
  • Want more money with less strings
  • Categorical Grants vs. Revenue Sharing
  • Categorical grant specific purpose defined by
    federal law
  • Block grant grant for an entire field
    (community development) less restrictive
  • Revenue Sharing money available to be shared
  • Give more money to poor states

federal state relations
  • Slowdown in Moneys
  • Rivalry between states
  • Changing demographics
  • Changing economic base
  • Federal Aid and Federal Control
  • Fear the federal government will start running
    the programs theyre funding conditions of aid
  • Mandates to state governments
  • If a state takes federal money, they have to do
    what feds say (Civil Rights)
  • Administrative nightmare
  • Judges may enforce federal standards

States Response
  • Some loosening in requirements for action
  • Welfare
  • education
  • Continuing debate over who should control what
    (, admin)
  • Ongoing problem of interpreting the Constitution
    for division of responsibilities (10th Amendment)

Federalism and Public Policy
  • State and local governments still have huge
    amounts of authority/control
  • Congress may seem to impede those governments but
    are trying to deal with their constituencies
  • See selves as representative to Washington, not
    necessarily as representatives from Washington
  • Ties to localities have loosened
  • May not understand local concerns/priorities
  • Special interest groups vs. all voters
  • Social diversity
  • Congress can correct state abuse of citizen (ie.
    Voting rights)
  • Devolution

Chapter 4
  • American Political Culture

Political Culture
  • Distinctive, patterned way of thinking about
  • How things should be carried out
  • Distinction between political and economic
  • Politically equal, not economically equal

American Views on Political System
  • Liberty preoccupation with rights
  • Equality equal vote and equal chance
  • Democracy government officials are accountable
    to the people
  • Civic Duty community affairs are important
  • Individual Responsibility responsible for own
    actions and well being

Factors related to political culture
  • Why so much inconsistent behavior?
  • Why so much historical political conflict?

Economic View
  • Free Enterprise
  • Dont see inequalities
  • Equality of opportunity, not of results
  • Support government intervention when peoples
    interests are at stake
  • Equality of opportunity
  • symbolic racism

Comparative Systems
  • Political Differences
  • Less personal involvement
  • Different customs/laws
  • Economic Differences
  • Economic quality
  • Freedom
  • U.S. has a focus on rights that other countries
    may not have influence of religion

Sources of Political Culture
  • Origins of opposition, thought, and culture
  • Need to trust people if live in a democracy
  • Federalists
  • Democrats- Republicans
  • Differing religions and cultural backgrounds
    reflected in politics
  • Class consciousness
  • Most see selves as the middle class

Mistrust of Government
  • Turmoil can lead to mistrust
  • Political efficacy government less concerned
    about citizen understanding and influence
  • Internal efficacy a persons competence in
    understanding politics remained constant
  • External efficacy belief that one can have a
    political impact sharp drop

Political Tolerance
  • Need to be reasonably tolerant of others
  • Agreement with basic right for all
  • Disagreement regarding who is covered under
  • Increased tolerance for others but not universal
  • Pragmatism Americans tend to be less
    ideological than others
  • Continued need to realize that political liberty
    is fragile
  • Cant take liberty for granted