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Key Terms

Government: procedures and institutions by which

people govern and rule themselves.
Why Is Government Necessary?


Politics: the process by which

people decide who shall govern
and what policies shall be
Politicians: people who fulfill
the tasks of operating
Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly
and for the same reason.
- Anonymous

Key Terms

Forms of Government



Derived from the Greek words demos

(the people) and kratos (authority).

Key Terms
Political Science: the study of the principles,
procedures, and structures of government; and
the analysis of political ideas, institutions,
behaviors, and practices.
Democracy: a political form of
government carried out either
directly by the people or by
means of elected representatives
of the people, with free and
frequent elections.
Democracy is not so much a form of
government as a set of principles.
- Woodrow T. Wilson

Thomas Jefferson, one of our

best-known champions of
constitutional democracy

Whose Words are These?

Political competition is the
heartbeat of democracy
Today, the quality of our state
does not match civil societys
readiness to participate in it.
The problemcomes from the
lack of transparency and
accountability of government...

Defining Democracy

Direct Democracy

Government by the people,

either directly or indirectly,
with free and frequent

Government in which citizens

vote on laws and select
officials more directly

Representative Democracy

Constitutional Democracy

Government that derives its

powers indirectly from the
people, who elect those who
will govern

Government that enforces

recognized limits on those who
govern and allows the voice of the
people to be heard through free,
fair, and relatively frequent

Direct Democracy
Political decisions are
made by the people
directly, rather than by
their elected
Attained most easily in
small political


(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

American Government and

Politicians in Context
Government by the people requires faith
concerning common human enterprise.
Constitutional democracy requires constant
attention to protecting the rights and opinions
of others.
Constitutional democracy is necessarily
government by representative politicians.

Is Direct Democracy Dangerous?

A Democratic Republic
Democratic republic and representative
democracy really mean the same thing government based on elected
representatives - except for the historical
quirk that a republic cannot have a
vestigial king.

Principles of Democratic Government

Universal suffrage
Majority rule

Constitutional Democracy
Limited government

(National Portrait Gallery)

Defining Democracy
Conditions Conducive To Constitutional
Educational conditions - Democracy puts a
premium on education

Economic conditions - Extremes of poverty and

wealth undermine the possibilities for a healthy
constitutional democracy

Social conditions - Overlapping associations and

groupings, so that allegiance to one group is not

Ideological conditions - Acceptance of the

ideals of democracy and a willingness from the majority to

proceed democratically

Defining Democracy
Democracy As A System Of Interacting
Personal liberty
Respect for the
Equality of
(The People)
Popular consent
These basic values of democracy do
not always coexist happily.

Government by
the People

Defining Democracy
Democracy As A System of Interrelated
Political Processes
Fair and free elections
Majority rule
Freedom of expression
The right to assemble and protest
Democracy encourages the majority to decide things about
which the majority is blissfully ignorant.
- John Simon

Defining Democracy
Democracy As A System Of
Interdependent Political Structures
Separation of powers
Checks and Balances
Bill of Rights

Separation of Powers

The Constitutional Roots of the

American Experiment
The Colonial Beginnings
Mayflower Compact - Legalized the Pilgrims position as
a body politic
Colonial assemblies - Every colony in the New World had
an assembly

The Rise of Revolutionary Fervor

The Declaration of Independence - We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,
Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Chronology of Events
American Revolution begins on 04/18 /1775
Second Continental Congress convenes on 05/10/1775
Ben Franklin presents a plan for confederation on 07/21/1775
Richard Henry Lee introduces independence resolution on 06/07/1776
Declaration of Independence adopted on 07/04/ 1776 That to secure
these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just
powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of
Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the
People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying
its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such
form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and
Third Continental Congress convenes on 12/20/1776
Articles of Confederation proposed on 11/15 /1777
Articles of Confederation ratified on 03/01/1781
English declare hostilities at an end on 02/04/1783
America declares hostilities at an end on 04/11/1783
Revolutionary War Ends (Treaty of Paris) on 01/14/1784
Constitutional Convention opens on 05/25/1787
Final draft of the Constitution sent to Congress on 09/17/1787

The Colonial Background

Separatists were dissatisfied
with the Church of England
and sought a place where they
could practice their religious
The compact they formed set
forth the idea of consent of
the governed.

(The Granger Collection)

British Restrictions & Colonial Grievances

In 1763, the British Parliament began to pass laws that
treated the colonies as a unit. The major reason for these
laws was to raise revenue to help pay off the war debt
incurred during the French and Indian Wars (17561763).

First Continental Congress

The focus was to restore the political structure that was in
existence before the passage of legislation affecting the
internal operations of each colony by Parliament.
Had the Crown and Parliament relented on many of their
demands it is possible the Declaration of Independence
would never have been issued.

Second Continental Congress

Established an army
Made Washington the
general in chief and
pursued the
Revolutionary War
Painting by John Trumbull, 1819, Library of Congress

The Political Theory and

Practices of the Revolutionary
Conflicts over the meaning of
democracy and liberty in the new nation
Initially, the Revolution was fought to
preserve an existing way of life.
Traditional rights of life, liberty, and
property seemed to be threatened by British
policies on trade and taxation.
The Revolution was inspired by a concern
for liberty together with the development of
sentiments for popular sovereignty and
political equality.

Prelude to the
Declaration of
Delegates to the Second Continental
Congress did not originally have
independence in mind.
By the spring of 1776, delegates concluded
that separation and independence were
A special committee was appointed to draft a
declaration of independence.
The Declaration of Independence was
unanimously adopted by the Second
Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

The Rise of Republicanism

Republicanism vs. The Republican Party
While republicans were opposed to rule by the
British, they were also opposed to rule by any
central authority. They were even skeptical of
a permanent union of the states.
Each state was seen as the sovereign authority
and the only legitimate ruling force.

The Declaration of Independence

The Influence of John Locke
Natural Rights
Social Contract
Archivo Iconografico S.A. /Corbis

Bettmann /Corbis

Key ideas in the

Declaration of
Human beings
possess rights that

cannot be legitimately given away or

taken from them.
People create government to protect
these rights.
If government fails to protect
peoples rights or itself becomes a
threat to them, people can withdraw
their consent from that government
and create a new one

Omissions in the
Declaration of
Did not deal with the issue of what to
do about slavery
Did not say anything about the
political status of women, Native
Americans, or African Americans who
were not slaves

The Articles of Confederation:

Our First Form of Government
States retained most of
the power
Citizens loyal to their
The Confederal
Structure Under the
Articles of
Library of Congress

The Articles of Confederation:

The First Constitution
Provisions of the Articles
A loose confederation of independent states
Weak central government

Shortcomings of the Articles

Indebtedness and inability to finance its
Inability to defend American interests in
foreign affairs
Commercial warfare among the states

Accomplishments Under the Articles

Articles established to:
Organize the states so they could defeat the British
Gain independence from Britain

Weaknesses of the Articles

Still no central authority to resolve disputes between the
states. To organize the states for the collective good,
including the organization of a militia, was crucial to the
development of the Constitutional Convention.

The Constitutional Roots of the

American Experiment
Toward Unity and Order
The Articles of Confederation - Adopted on March 1, 1781
to bring the thirteen states together while allowing each state to
remain independent

Shayss Rebellion - Economic depression of mid-1780s

Daniel Shays - Rallied farmers to demand change from

Tensions Over Big Government Today

How much power should the American government have and what
role should it play in the lives of citizens?

Shays Rebellion,
Widespread economic
problems among farmers at
the end of the Revolutionary
Nonpayment of taxes and
debts led to foreclosure
and Massachusetts took up arms
Farmers in western
to prevent courtsfor


Armed farmers led by Captain Daniel Shays

forced the ill-equipped state militia to withdraw.
By the spring of 1787, special armed forces
recruited from the Boston area defeated the

Aftermath of Shays
Shays Rebellion reinforced the fears of
national leaders about the dangers of
ineffective state governments and of popular
democracy out of control.
In this climate of crisis, a call was issued to
meet in Philadelphia to correct defects in the
Articles of Confederation.
Delegates to the Philadelphia convention
were instructed to propose revisions for the
Articles of Confederation, but they wrote an
entirely new constitution instead.

Why the Founders Were

An Excess of Democracy in the States
In the mid-1780s, popular conventions

were established to monitor and control the

actions of state legislators.
The Pennsylvania state constitution
replaced the property qualifications as a
requirement to vote with a very small tax.

The Threat to Property Rights in the

Popular opinion
Stay acts
Shays Rebellion

The Articles and the Constitution

Convening the Constitutional

Consensus that a new Constitution
was desperately needed
Yet, growing concern by influential
citizens about democratizing and
egalitarian tendencies

The Constitutional
By 1787, most of Americas leaders
were convinced that the new nation
was in great danger of failing.
Delegates to the Constitutional
Wealthy men, well-educated, landowners
Young, but with broad experience in
American politics
Familiar with the great works of Western
philosophy and political science

Debate Over the Intentions of

the Framers
Historian Charles Beard: The framers were
engaged in a conspiracy to protect their
personal economic interests.
Although the reality is surely more complex,
broad economic and social-class
motives were likely important.

Factions Among

The beliefs of the delegates ranged

from the near-monarchism of Hamilton
to definite decentralized republicanism.
Archivo Iconografico, S.A./Corbis

The Constitutional Convention of


Consensus Among the

Agreement that a new constitution must
replace the the Articles of Confederation
Republican form of government
Support for a substantially strengthened
national government
Concern that a strong national government
is potentially tyrannical
Belief in a republican form of government
based on popular consent
Desire to insulate government from public
opinion and popular democracy

TABLE: The Virginia and New Jersey Plans

Virginia Plan

New Jersey Plan

Legitimacy derived from

citizens, based on popular

Derived from states, based

on equal votes for each

Bicameral legislature

Unicameral legislature

Executive size
undetermined, elected
and removable by

More than one person,

removable by state

Judicial life tenure, able to

veto state legislation

No Judicial power over states

Table: The Virginia and New Jersey Plans

Virginia Plan

New Jersey Plan

Legislature can override

state laws

Government can compel

obedience to national laws

Ratification by citizens

Ratification by states

A Council of Revisions to
review national laws

A Supremacy clause
similar to Article VI of

Disagreement Among the

of the states in the legislature

Status of slavery
Selection of the President
Overall, Conflict Often Centered Around
Disagreements Between Large and Small

Three-fifths Compromise
Enactments against the slave trade were
prohibited until the year 1808, but a tax or
duty on such importation was permitted.
Return of runaway slaves
Overall, these provisions explicitly recognize
the legal standing of slavery

Conflict and Compromise:

The Conflict

The Compromise

State-based approach versus an

individual-based approach

House of Representatives:
Proportional; Senate: Equal number
of representatives from each state

The Conflict

The Compromise

The fact that Northerners hated slavery

worried Southerners, who feared that
their greater representation in Congress
would be used to end slavery

Slaves counted as three-fifths of a

free person; protection of the
Atlantic Slave Trade for at least 20

The Conflict

The Compromise

Southerners feared that the Norths

greater representation in Congress
would be used to end slavery

Slaves counted as three-fifths of a free

person in determining representation in
the House of Representatives;
protection of the Atlantic slave trade for
at least 20 years

Understanding the Constitution

What the Framers Created
Republican form of government
Popular consent and some popular
participation, but barriers to majoritarian
Purposes and powers of
government limited

Library of Congress

The Madisonian Model

Separation of powers
Checks and balances

The Struggle to Ratify the

Delegates had been instructed to propose
alterations to the Articles of Confederation, but
they wrote an entirely new Constitution instead.
Ratification was a difficult process.
Federalists favored
Anti-Federalists opposed

To Adopt or Not to Adopt?

Federalists Versus Antifederalists

The Politics of Ratification

The Federalist Papers
James Madison
Alexander Hamilton
John Jay
The Brutus Essays

Ratification of the U.S. Constitution

New Jersey
South Carolina
New Hampshire
New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island

December 7, 1787
December 12, 1787
December 18, 1787
January 2, 1788
January 9, 1788
February 6, 1788
April 28, 1788
May 23, 1788
June 21, 1788
June 25, 1788
July 26, 1788
November 21, 1789
May 29, 1790

30 - 0
46 - 23
38 - 0
26 - 0
128 - 0
187 - 168 *
63 - 11
149 - 73 *
57 - 46 *
89 - 79 *
30 - 27 *
194 - 77 *
34 - 32 *

Ratifying Amendments

The Time for Ratification of the 27 Amendments to the Constitution

Four ways to Amend the Constitution

Four ways to Amend the Constitution

Cope with any new and unforeseen problem

Taken on with extreme caution
Rigorous process

Amending the Constitution

Although 11,000 amendments have been
considered by Congress, only 33 have been
submitted to the states after being approved,
and only 27 have been ratified since 1789.


The Bill of Rights

A Bill of Limits
No explicit limits on state government powers
Did not apply to state governments