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4 points about the U.S. Constitution
1) Symbol of national identity 2) Describes basic structure of govt. 3) Limits power and authority of govt. 4) Supreme Law of the land.
Basis of American Revolution
Liberty/Freedom rather than equality. Put forth in the Declaration of Independence.
Declaration of Independence
Written by Thomas Jefferson. Based on ideas from British philosopher John Locke.
British Philosopher that believed people inherently bad; natural human state leads to a war-like world. Government necessary to keep people from killing each other.
British Philosopher that believed people inherently good; smart people naturally create govt. to promote laws, rules and harmony.
2 Philosophical notions that are combined in the Declaration of Independence
Natural Rights and Social Contract Theory
Social Contract Theory
People agree to set up govt. But if that govt becomes abusive, people should rise up and overthrow it.
Written in 1215 by British Philosopher Sir Edward Coke. First Bill of Rights. First time document spells out the power of Kings is not absolute. Turning point - power begins to move away from Monarchs to the People.
Articles of Confederation
Written 1781. (First U.S. Constitution). First document from govt. then known as the "League of Friendship". Most power given to states, weak national govt. Ultimately failed: no ability to tax and no modification w/o all 13 states agreeing.
Farmers unable to pay Massachusetts tax. State would no negotiate or delay payment. Created uprising. Significant because it initiates fear of Civil War.
Who attended the Constitutional Convention?
55 Delegates from 13 states attended. The delegates known as "Founding Fathers". Convention was secret and closed to the public.
What is a Federalist?
Someone who advocates strong national govt. and National Constitution. Political elite, w/ law experience. Big Business, lived in cities. Supports Virginia Plan.
What is a Anti-Federalist?
Someone who advocates a strong state govt. Wanted to preserve Articles of Confederation, only modified. Small farmers/ranchers living in rural areas. Supports New Jersey Plan.
3 Major Compromises in The Great Compromise
1) Compromise between large/small state representation. 2) U.S. Govt. split into 3 branches (Legislative, Executive, Judicial). 3) Legislative branch would have 2 houses. House of Reps based on population and Senate (2 for each state, selected by state legislators)
Legislative body based on two houses ie. U.S. Congress (House of Representative and Senate)
Biggest Stumbling Block of Constitutional Convention?
How to elect the President and who should vote. One man one vote was popular, so the Electoral College created.
How Many Electoral College Votes Are There?
538 total. One for each Representative and Senator and 3 for Washington DC.
Collection of 85 Essays written by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Written during Convention to gain support for ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
Bill of Rights
Amendments 1-10, added to U.S. Constitution 4 years after ratification. Spells out the rights of the people.
2 Ways to Propose an Amendment
1) 2/3 Vote of the House & Senate in U.S. Congress. (Easy) 2) Convention called by Congress at request of 2/3 vote of State Legislature (Never been used)
2 Ways to Ratify an Amendment
1) 3/4 vote of State Legislature. (Easy) 2) Convention and obtain 3/4 vote of all 50 states. (Used only once)
The main power of the U.S. Supreme Court to decalre the laws of Congress and the actions of the Executive Branch void and unconstitutional if they are in contrast to the U.S. Constitution.
Marbury v. Madison
Supreme Court case in 1803 which established Judicial Review. Created for Thomas Jefferson, who was strong w/ States Rights.
Article 6 of the Constitution. Federal laws and Federal Treaties are supreme over any state or local laws.
4 Principles of U.S. Constitution
1) Republicanism 2) Separation of Powers (3 branches) 3) Division of Powers (3 levels -National, State and Local) and 4) Checks and Balances
Separation of Powers
Government in the U.S. separated into 3 branches: 1) Legislative (makes laws) 2) Executitive (enforces laws) and 3) Judiciary (interprets laws)
Division of Powers
AKA Federalism. Govt. in the U.S. has been divided into 3 levels: 1) National 2) State and 3) Local. (NSL)
Checks and Balances
Any branch of government in any level can check the other one creating a balancing force.
Several govts have power and authority at the same time, over the same people within the same territory.
3 Reasons for U.S. Federalism
1) Brings people and the govt closer together (if one level is not responsive to your need, you can try another level. 2)States = testing ground for new Federal Programs. 3) States are training ground for future national leaders.
For Federalism to be effective, there must be cooperation between the Federal govt and all 50 states including local govts.
Regardless of ideology every government must be 1) Unitary, 2) Confederal or 3) Federal.
Type of govt where all powers are concentrated in the hands of the National Govt, therefore states depend on the will of National govt. (most govts fall into this category)
Type of govt where all powers are concentrated in the hands of the State govts, leaving a weak National govt. (ie Russia or the U.S. under Articles of Confederation)
Type of govt where powers are shared in some matters (such as Defense) at a National level and for other matters with the State (Criminal Justice)
AKA Delegated Powers or Expressed Powers. Powers delegated or expressed by the Constitution. Powers given exclusively to the 3 branches of Federal govt by the Constitution in order to carry out its business. ie Defense.
Powers given exclusively to the Federal govt by the Constitution in order to have Enumerated Powers you must have Implied Powers. ie Creation of military.
Necessary and Proper Clause
Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 18. Congress shall make any law necessary and proper in order to carry out it's enumerated powers. ie Justification of Invasion of Iraq
Reserved Powers (10th Amendment)
Powers not mentioned in the Constitution for the Federal govt are reserved for the states and their people. (U.S. govt never honors this) ie Gay Marriage
Many states added an amendment to their constitution indicating if Federal govt passes a law they disagree with the state could void/nullify it. (Also never worked). ie Brady Law
McCulloch v Maryland
Federal govt creates a bank in every state to generate income. McCulloch wants to tax it. Supreme Court rules against him, result is Federal Supremacy over State's Rights.
2 McCulloch v Maryland Questions Supreme Courted Addressed
1) Does Federal govt have the right to open a banks? YES. 2) Can a State govt tax a Federal bank? NO
Grant in Aid
Earliest Federal money going to the states and local govts for educational purposes in the form of land grants. e State sponsored University System
Federal money going to State and Local govts for SPECIFIC purposes requiring Federal Rules/Regulations.
A combination of several categorical grants into one general block grant, which reduces or eliminates restrictions of Categorical grants. Created by Ronald Reagan.
Federal Law or Court Ruling imposed on the states by the Federal govt. ie Brady Law. States stuck the cost.
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