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AP US Government & Politics Notes

Unit One: Constitutional Foundations
•The US has the oldest Constitution, even though we are an infant nation. •Recent Problems: •Work in Progress/Experiment •Unsure as to whether we would survive or not. •The Constitution has been a uniting force between all generations •It has been accepted as the supreme law of the land •The US and the Constitution has survived: •Invasion •Economic panic •Weak leadership •A Depression •2 World Wars •Global and Domestic terrorism •National Disasters •Recent Troubles: •Global Terrorism •The economy •Post 9/11 world •the US has changed dramatically •Presidential approval ratings skyrocketed to ~80% •Bush expanded Presidential power •wiretapping, background checks, hacking potential terrorists without warrants •Critics say that this violates the 4th Amendment (Search and Seizure) •Advocates say that it falls under the “Necessary and Proper” Clause •Highly subjective •Economics •Financing 2 wars •American business is decreasing •Outsourcing •Population increases •Collapse of the housing bubble •Democracy relies on: •Participation •Balance between faith and skepticism •Survival •Populous: attentive and involved •Willing to change the course of government •Willing to question the government •Choose reps. Wisely •We have high expectations for our representatives


•Ideal Politician •Doesn't exist! •Craft “mythical beings” after they're dead •Defining Democracy •“Democracy” is no where in the Declaration or Constitution, nor was it used by the founding fathers •Greek translation: political power of the people •Today: government by the people, directly and indirectly with free and fair elections •The US doesn't have a full democracy •We don't have a government by one person or group either •First implemented in Ancient Greece and Rome •Direct democracy •Always failed •devolved into mob rule, ending in violence •Democracy ,at the time of the founding fathers, represented government by unruly mobs •James Madison •Federalist No. 10 •Discusses democracy and property rights •Empowering citizens would endanger citizens, minorities, etc... •Changed the definition of democracy •Our Democracy is a mixture of direct and indirect •Representative democracy •Direct roles: •Initiative- state petitions law makers to draft a bill •Referendum- state legislators don't make a decision on an issue, leave it to the voters on a ballot. (Kind of like Pop. Sovereignty) •Direct Primary- pick a party, and elect representatives, party restricted. •Recall- special election held when and elected official isn't doing their job. •Stand for re-election immediately! •Only happened once, •Gray Davis v. Arnold Schwarzenegger in California •Too large for more features of a direct democracy •Representative Democracy/ Republic •Those with authority receive and retain authority from free and fair elections in which all adults can vote •Republic •found in founding documents • •Ideals •Traced to enlightenment and Greece •Locke, Montesquieu and Rousseau •Locke • empower constitutional democracy •Natural rights= spurred the revolution! •Thomas Hobbes •social contract

•Aristotle •the state


•A Constitutional Democracy is: •a government which imposes limits on those in power •allows the voice of the people to be heard. •Requires: •a written framework of rights •Ideas derived from Montesquieu Constitutionalism •A set of arrangements including: •Checks and balances •Separation of powers •Federalism •Rule of Law •Bill of rights •Requires our leaders to think before they make laws •We hold our politicians accountable for their actions •Impeach •Not re-elect Conditions Conducive to Constitutional Democracy •Educational (positive) •Educated citizens (voters) •Economics •Relatively prosperous •Private ownership •Little government regulation •Not always true (Sweden) •Not centrally controlled •Social •Not in fragmented countries • The US has never reached the point where democracy has dissolved •Ideological •Shared beliefs •Reliance on and acceptance of democratic consensus •Values 1 person, 1 vote •Majority rule •Freedom of speech, assembly, Bill of Rights are valued and shared Democracy as a System of Interacting Values •Representative Democracy = the fabric of the US •Core Value System •Respect for life and liberty •Individual rights •Equal rights •Personal Liberty •Most important value in America •“Liberty” is everywhere in our founding documents •Liberty maintains roots in self determination

•All individuals can realize our goal •The freedom from and the Freedom to •Respect for the Individual •Potential for common sense •Individual-first government •Stateism- nation primary to the individual (NOT America) •Equal Opportunity •Do what we want •All men are created equal


•Popular Consent •The idea that a just government must derive its power from the people it governs •Consent of the Governed-John Locke •Created in D of I •Not everyone gets their way Democratic Values in Conflict •Individualism and collective welfare •Most political conflict comes from looking for a balance Democracy and the Political Process •Processes which define political system: •Free & fair elections held at frequent intervals •Keeps government relevant •Keeps representatives accountable •One man, one vote •Majority and Plurality Rule •Basic rule of our democracy •Winning political party can not curtail the workings of the losing party •Will of majority can contradict/infringe upon individual rights •1964- California- Legal to discriminate against minorities in real estate (initiative) •Supreme court stepped in to say no. •Framers of the Constitution wanted to safeguard society against factions •Fear of tyranny •Freedom of Expression •Elections only work if there is access to information •Should be knowledgeable about opposing ideas •Access to non-government owned media outlets •Right to Assemble and Protest •Join political parties, demonstrations, protests •Because of free speech Interdependent Political Structures •Much more than values and processes •Structures to safeguard our values •Constitution and Bill of Rights •Checks & Balances, & personal liberties •Political Parties •represent ½ of America

•Interest Groups •Media 5 Elements of a Constitutional System 1. Federalism •Division of power between the Federal Government and the States 2. Separation of Powers •3 Branches of Government 3. Bicameralism •Upper and lower houses 4. Checks and Balances •Each branch given Constitutional means, motive and political independence to check power of other branches 5. Bill of Rights •Written and enforceable list of rights


Constitutional Roots •13 States •Hardships •Could have derailed •Odds against them •Sectionalism •Continued to expand How Did Our Democracy Survive? •Founding Fathers •Educated & Experienced •Colonists came from Europe looking for religious liberty •On the ships, they discussed experimenting with democracy •MAYFLOWER COMPACT-1632 •Fair & just laws in N. America •9/13 colonies were theocracies •VA= Anglican •MA= Puritan •Voting limited, heavily censored press Rise of Revolution, Fervor •1776- D of I •Took their rights very seriously •Because they signed their names •State Constitutions •Bills of Rights •Speech, Rights of the accused •Constitution •Modeled after early state constitutions •Revo. Created need for central government •1777- Articles of Confederation •Fragile league of friendship •1777-1781= Ratification



•Fragile league of friendship •No executive branch, no universal coinage, no judiciary •States' power > Federal power •Congress had no direct authority •Federal government could not: •Levy or regulate taxes, raise an army or regulate interstate relations. •State Courts •Enforce national laws= no federal judiciary Conflicts •Creditor and Debtor states at odds •Threat of foreign invasion •Spain directly to the South •England to the West State Leaders Concerned about Weakness •Strong central government necessary •Safeguard against foreign invasion September 1786 •Annapolis Convention •Alexander Hamilton presided •Wanted a strong central government •Trade and Navigation •Entire government needed to be amended •Delegates from 5 states Summer 1787 •Constitutional Convention •Philadelphia •Shays' Rebellion occurred while traveling to CC •W. Mass farmers in foreclosure •Storm courthouses, release debtors from jail •Encapsulated all issues with A of C •First point of order= Economics •Rebellion threatened prosperity •Reinforced need for a strong central government •Congress called for delegates to amend articles •55 Delegates from all 13 states •40 took an active role •George Washington •Reluctant to attend •Peer pressured into attending •Presided over the convention •The delegates decided that Washington would be the ideal &best first president •Alexander Hamilton •Elbridge Gerry •Thomas Jefferson •All wealthy lawyers, merchants, congressmen •Helped to form state constitutions •8 signed the D of I •American Aristocracy

•Secret Meeting •Kept the delegated from being tainted •Public opinion would compromise the integrity •Consensus •1. Connecticut Compromise Representation th •2. 3/5 Compromise Slavery/Taxation •3. Electoral Compromise Election of the Presidential •4. Judiciary Compromise Federal Judiciary •9 Stipulations and Unanimous •Wanted a republic •Opposed arbitrary & unrestrained government •Supported balanced government •National government= strong enough to protect property and business from outbreak •White land owning males= voting rights •Land amount would be up to the states •Connecticut Dissented= National government should be established with 3 branches •Shift from confederation to union •New Congress •All powers of the old congress PLUS •Ensure that states never challenge the integrity of the US •All agreed that a strong exec. Branch was necessary for leadership •Independent Judiciary


Conflict & Compromise •Serious differences •1. Large v. Small States •Post- Revo, Pre-CC, states gained former British territories which lay west of Proc. Line. •Western states just expanded west •Land locked states couldn't expand •Land Ordinance-1785 •North West Ordinance-1787 •All states agreed to not seize land for themselves, ceded it to the Nat. government (Add-A-State Plan) •Still at odds at CC •Large states= Strong central government , planned to dominate nat. government •Small states= States' rights, fearful of abuse of power. •Representation •Virginia Plan •James Madison •Large states •Strong central government •Bicameral legislature •Representation in both houses determined by population or wealth of states •Benefits large states

•Disproportionate power •New Jersey Plan •William Paterson •Smaller states •Unicameral Legislature •Based on equality •SUPREMACY CLAUSE •Congress has the right to tax and regulate commerce •Connecticut Plan/ the Great Compromise •Roger Sherman •Bicameral Legislature •Lower House (House of Reps)= Population •Upper House (Senate)= Equality •Supremacy clause •All bills for raising and appropriating money originate in the larger house (HoR) •Set back for larger states •2. North & South Compromises •South was afraid that a Northern majority might hurt southern trade •Happened under the A of C •John Jay (Secretary of Foreign Affairs) •Treaty with Great Britain •Screwed the south •Given advantage to North traders, take from southern trade •Southern delegates pushed a 2/3 Senate majority needed for approval •Slavery •Concept of changing/eliminating slavery= Southern delegates would leave •How to count the slaves? •South= Whole person for purposes of population for representation •North= “You don't treat them like people...” •3/5th compromise! •3/5ths of total slave population to count for population •3. Courts •Lower courts run by nat'l government •Supreme court and Congress can establish lower courts if deemed necessary •4. Electoral College •How should we elect the president? •Congressional selection? •No. •Intermingling between congress and the president = corruption •Elect by state legislature? •No. •Electoral College! •Number of votes = number of senators and representatives •Let the people use their own judgement? •Reflect partisanship •Will of the people in the state (usually) •Generally reflects the popular vote •Not always!

•Compromise of 1877 •Rutherford Birchard Hayes v. Samuel Tilden •1880 •Grover Cleveland v. Benjamin Harrison •2000 •Bush v. Gore •Most controversial! •Abolishment? •Ending of the CC •9/17/1787 •Did so much more than amend the A of C •All but 3 delegates signed the Constitution •Aaand then the delegates all went to a tavern.


Ratification •9 out of 13 states required to ratify for the Constitution to take effect. (NOT easy) •Federalists •Urban •Supported: •Ratification and Strong central government •Seaboard &Urban areas •More Sophisticated and organized •Antifederalists •Rural •Opposed: •Ratification & Central government •Back country, rural & poor •Uneducated •Unable to feel passion for politics •Media •Newspapers, letters, pamphlets and speeches •The Federalist Papers •Written by Publius •Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay •Convince NY to ratify the Constitution •Most profound writings on the Constitution •Antifederalist Criticisms and Oppositions •1. Lack of Bill of Rights (Stringent) •2. Strong central government •Wanted states to retain power •Felt that the states were more in touch with the will of the people •The federal government was too far removed •3. Imposition of barriers against commerce •4. Constitution didn't do enough to ensure frequent rotation of office •Career politicians less & less concerned with constituencies •The Federalist Position

•B of R wasn't necessary •Federal government only had the powers listed explicitly in the Const. •Dangerous to list rights •Any not listed could be denied •Antifederalists eventually gained the B of R •State Constitutions had Bills of Rights •Strike first •Federalist Agenda was published •Smaller states began to ratify first •DE (1), PA(2), NJ (3), GA (4), CT (5) •These states had little debate & little issues with the Const. •Massachusetts #6 •Opposition: Boston (AF) •Sam Adams & John Hancock •Statesmen who gave speeches and persuasion for the ratification. •Ratification: 187-168 •MD (7), SC (8), NH (9) •NY & VA had still not ratified •2 of the biggest states •Virginia (10) •Crucial •If (w/NY) didn't ratify, the whole Constitution and union would be compromised •Most populous state •Link between North & South •Debate: J. Madison & P. Henry •Madison: After ratification a B of R could be added •George Washington stepped in “Please Ratify” •89-79 for Ratification •New York (11) •Biggest hold out •AF outnumbered Federalists •Alexander Hamilton & news of VA Ratification •NY Ratified •3 vote win for Ratification •Const. Went into effect! •NC (12) & RI (13) ratified 6 mo. Later