Notes from Chapter 2 (Understanding American and California Government)
ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION: formed a league of friendship among the states – formed a weak national government.
• Established a Congress, but limited the powers Congress could exercise.
• No executive or judicial branch
• Allowed national and state level to make money
• Lack of national identity
• Congress was unable to raise an army (no draft/finance powers)
• Created decentralized government
Shay’s Rebellion: Merchants wanted to be paid in full for the money they had loaned, and the farmers didn’t want to pay b/c the tax burden was too high so they didn’t pay/blockaded attempts to get into their farms by authorities to claim the property. ..Hinted at mob rule which scared the wealthy.
• Think back to Aristotle: Democracy is a government by the poor over the wealthy
• Aristotle: Any government must keep everyone in the loop so there is no revolution or mob rule
• Shay’s Rebellion indicated a mob rule – worst form of democracy ever
Constitutional Convention: Philadelphia, 1787
The people sent were men: enlightened, education and experience
Rather than revise the Articles, they decided to make a new Constitution
Areas of consensus
The gov’t should be a republic
• Federalism – division of power between the state government and the federal government
• Supremacy clause: Constitution is the supreme law of the land
• 10th Amendment: Powers not delegated to the national government were reserved for the states
National gov’t should be stronger than under the Articles
Three separate branches: Executive, Judicial, Congress (Legislative)
• Separation of powers
• Creates a divided government where one political party does not control all the branches of government
• Checks and balances
Areas of conflict
• 3/5 Compromise
Trade and Taxation
Motives of the Founders
John Locke – social contract that establishes limited government
Charles de Montesquieu – separation of powers and checks/balances
Isaac Newton – Nature is a machine with parts, action/reaction = checks/balances
Life under the Articles
Some were part of Declaration of Independence
Protect property from the masses
Championed the right to property
Agreed with Madison, “ The first object of government is to protect property.”
Ratification of the Constitution
Emphasize a real division of power between the national and state government
Faulted the Constitution for lacking a bill of rights
They were localists – wary of trusting officials far away in a central location
Changing the Constitution
By Constitutional Amendment
By judicial interpretation
By political practice
IMPORTANT EARLY USSC RULINGS
McCulloch v. Maryland: National bank dispute
Marshall “The power to tax involves the power to destroy,” and the states shouldn’t have the power to destroy the bank because it was “necessary and proper” to carry out Congress’ powers to collect taxes, borrow money, regulate commerce and raise an army.
Marshall, “If the goal of the legislation is legitimate, then all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, are constitutional.”
Marbury v. Madison: Powers of judicial review.
Implied power of Congress
Civil War and Reconstruction
Civil War: 1861-1865
Emancipation Proclamation: Slaves shall be forever free in Confederate states where the Union army was not in control (unenforceable).
The Gettysburg Address
The Reconstruction Amendments
13th: Abolished slavery, constitutionalizing the Emancipation Proclimation
14th: All persons born or naturalized in the US are citizens – this overturned the USSC’s ruling before the Civil War that blacks – free or slaves – could not be citizens.
14th: Equal Protection Clause; all states must treat people equally and, Due Process Clause; all states must treat people fairly
15th: Right to vote to blacks.
These all had an enforcement provision “Congress shall have the powers to enforce this article by appropriate legislation”
Great Depression and New Deal