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After reading this chapter, students will be able to: 1. Explain the theoretical and historical factors that influenced the writers of the U. Describe the structure of the Articles of Confederation, and explain why the confederation failed. Identify and explain the compromises made by the delegates to come to agreement on the U. Explain the rationale for, and give examples of the separation of powers and the checks and balances in the U.

Demonstrate understanding of the formal and informal processes for amending the U. The Mayflower Compact created the first formal government for the British colonists.

By the mids, other British colonies had been established along the Atlantic seaboard from Georgia to Maine. In , the British tried to impose a series of taxes and legislative acts on their increasingly independent-minded colonies. The colonists responded with boycotts of British products and protests.

Representatives of the colonies formed the First Continental Congress in The delegates sent a petition to the British king expressing their grievances. The Second Continental Congress established an army in to defend the colonists against attacks by British soldiers.

Perhaps the most revolutionary aspects of the Declaration were its assumptions that people have natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that governments derive their power from the consent of the governed; and that people have a right to overthrow oppressive governments. Based on their understanding of natural rights and the social contract and their experience with an oppressive British regime, all of the colonies adopted written constitutions during the Revolutionary War.

Most of these gave great power to their legislatures and restrained the power of the executive At the end of the Revolutionary War, the states had signed the Articles of Confederation, creating a weak central government with few powers. In this government, each state had one vote and there was no executive. The Congress had no power to raise revenue and virtually no way to amend the Articles. The Articles proved to be unworkable because the national government had no way to ensure compliance by the states with such measures as securing tax revenues.

General dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation prompted the call for a convention at Philadelphia in Although the delegates ostensibly convened to amend the Articles, the discussions soon focused on creating a constitution for a new form of government. The Virginia plan and the New Jersey plan did not garner widespread support. The final version of the Constitution provided for the separation of powers, checks and balances, and a federal form of government.

The principles of separation of powers and the checks and balances were intended to prevent any one branch of the government from becoming too powerful. Fears of a strong central government prompted the addition of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.

The Bill of Rights secured for Americans a wide variety of freedoms, including the freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly. The Bill of Rights initially applied only to the federal government, but amendments to the Constitution following the Civil War made it clear that the Bill of Rights would apply to the states as well.

An amendment to the Constitution may be proposed either by a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress or by a national convention called by Congress at the request of two-thirds of the state legislatures.

Ratification can occur either by a positive vote in three-fourths of the legislatures of the various states or by special conventions called in the states for the specific purpose of ratifying the proposed amendment and a positive vote in three-fourths of these state conventions. The process for amending the Constitution was made very difficult to ensure that most of the states and the majority of both houses agree to the proposed change.

Informal methods of constitutional change include congressional legislation, presidential actions, judicial review, and changing interpretations of the Constitution. The authors also make a point to provide a brief tutorial on how to read figures and tables and emphasize the importance of visuals such as those found throughout this book to their understanding of the course content.

The authors make the points that students should study visuals carefully and note that often they will be tested on this information. Like many figures, tables, and photographs, these visuals present descriptive data. Descriptive information provides an answer to what or who questions but does not typically answer why or how questions.

Analysis why or how is a form of critical thinking. Why were so many people willing to relocate to America? How important was the concept of limited self-government? The people were dissatisfied with the Church of England and sought a place where they could practice their religious beliefs. The compact they formed set forth the idea of consent of the governed.

More Colonies, More Government People in each of the colonies became accustomed to making decisions that affected the internal order of the colony. Although each colony had only limited authority to make decisions, in practice most governmental actions that affected the people were made within the colony.

The colonies were not really united as a political force before the First Continental Congress Each colony was separate with its own decision-making government. British Restrictions and Colonial Grievances The British government decided to raise revenue by imposing taxes on the American colonies. The imposition of the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act resulted in a colonial boycott of English goods. The Colonial Response In 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 War — The First Continental Congress The colonists gradually began to realize that they were similar in many respects and that as a political unit they would have more influence with Parliament.

Still the focus of these political meetings 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 that the Declaration of Independence would never have been issued.

Declaring Independence A. The Resolution of Independence This was a brief precursor to the Declaration. July 4, —the Declaration of Independence 1. Universal Truths. Natural Rights and a Social Contract. People have natural rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. An important component of the Declaration of Independence is the concept of a social contract, which came from the experiences of the formers of the Mayflower Compact.

Like the compact more than years before, the Declaration of Independence was based on the idea of consent of the governed and that governments had the responsibility to protect the natural rights of its citizens.

If the government failed to do so, the people had the right to revolt. The Rise of Republicanism Republican as used here must be carefully distinguished from the current Republican Party. Although 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 Articles of Confederation: The First Form of Government States retained most of the power and the central government had a very limited role in the governing process. The loyalty most citizens had was to their state, first and foremost. Accomplishments under the Articles The primary reason for the establishment of the Articles was to organize the states so that they could defeat the British forces and gain independence from Britain.

Once independence was won, there was less pressure on the states to organize for the collective good. Weaknesses of the Articles The lack of a strong central authority to resolve disputes between the states and to organize the states for the collective good, including the organization of a militia, was crucial to the development of the Constitutional Convention.

The solution appeared to be the establishment of a stronger central government. Drafting the Constitution Concerned about economic turmoil, five states called for a meeting to be held at Annapolis, Maryland, in September Among the problems to be solved were the relationship between the states and the central government, the powers of the national legislature, the need for executive leadership, and the establishment of policies for economic stability.

Who Were the Delegates? There were 55 delegates, who certainly did not represent a cross-section of s American society. Most were members of the upper class and relatively young. Almost all of them had prior experience in political office or military service.

There were no women or minorities. The Working Environment The conditions under which the delegates worked for days were far from ideal. Heat, humidity, swarms of flies, and secrecy plagued the delegates. Factions among the Delegates The beliefs of the delegates ranged from the near-monarchism of Hamilton to definite decentralized republicanism. Some republicans left the convention when they saw the federalist tenor of the proceedings.

Politicking and Compromises 1. The Virginia Plan. The Virginia plan was actually fairly close to a parliamentary system, with power concentrated in a lower house that was to choose the executive. The major problem was that representation was strictly by population, which was a disadvantage to the small states. The New Jersey Plan. A one-state, one-vote plan that would have created a relatively weak central government. Again, the executive was to be elected by the Congress.

The Great Compromise or the Connecticut plan provided for a bicameral legislature, with one house based on population and the other on equal representation for each state. Under the Great Compromise, Congress did not choose the president. The Three-Fifths Compromise. Another compromise concerned the issue of slavery. Northern states wanted to ban the importation of slaves, whereas Southern states did not. Southern states wanted slaves counted in the population for the purposes of determining the number of members each state sent to the House of Representatives.

It also decided that Congress would not be able to ban the importation of slaves until Other Issues. To the benefit of the agricultural South, export taxes were banned. As a compromise, both the president and the Senate had a role in choosing the membership of the Supreme Court. Working toward Final Agreement 1.


American Government and Politics Today - Cover1

Jillson uses political development and the dynamics of change as a thematic tool to help students understand how politics works now—and how institutions, participation, and policies have evolved over time to produce this political environment. In addition, Jillson helps students think critically about how American democracy might evolve further, focusing in every chapter on reform and further change. Includes important Supreme Court events and decisions including the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the affirmation of gay marriage. Covers the continuing challenges of and to the Affordable Care Act. Presents new material on race, ethnicity, gender, and political participation. Explores growing income inequality and its implications.


9781133610625 - American Government and Politics Today by Schmidt, Shelley, Bardes, Ford


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