The Problem of Liberty

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1 Chapter 2 The Constitution The Problem of Liberty n Colonist believed in traditional liberties o No taxation without representation, etc. n The Colonial Mind Men will seek power because they are ambitious, greedy and easily corrupted They thought natural rights can from higher power o Life, Liberty, Property n The Real Revolution The real revolution was the radical change in belief about what made authority legitimate and liberties secure 1

2 Weaknesses of the Articles n Articles of Confederation (1781) was our first constitution and had major weaknesses Could not levy taxes or regulate commerce Sovereignty, independence retained by states One vote in Congress for each state Nine of thirteen votes in Congress required for any measure Money not coined by Congress Army small and dependent on independent state militias Territorial disputes between states led to open hostilities No national judicial system All thirteen states consent necessary for any amendments Delegates to Congress chosen and paid by state legislatures The Constitutional Convention n The Lessons of Experience State Constitutions n Some were too hot, some too cold. Needed something just right #Goldilocks Shay s Rebellion n those in the know thought the friendship between the states was about to implode n The Framers 55 delegates, RI did not send a delegate The only objective was to revise the Articles n They decided very quickly that it had to be rewritten Three major compromises allowed the new constitution to be written n Compromise between large and small states over representation in Congress n Compromise between Northern and Southern states over regulation of commerce & counting slaves for representation 2

3 Debate over Representation Virginia Plan (Large States) Strong national government organized into 3 branches Bicameral legislature Executive and members of the national judiciary to be chosen by legislature Council of revision (executive and some judiciary branch members) with veto power; legislature could override the veto Two key features of the plan: a. National legislature with supreme powers b. One legislative house, elected directly by the people New Jersey Plan (Small States) Generated from a fear that legislative representation would be based on population, allowing the more populous states always to outvote the less populous states Proposed one vote per state, so Congress would be the creature of the state governments Unicameral legislature Multi-person executive branch, removable by state majority The Great (Connecticut) Compromise Bicameral legislature States would have equal vote in one house (Senate) and the other house representation would be based on population (House).all bills dealing with money would originate in the House. Reconciled interests of large and small states the former would dominate the House of Representatives, the latter would dominate the Senate The North-South Compromises Treaties (especially about trade) required a 2/3 approval from the senate (done mostly for the southern states to protect themselves) The Three-Fifths Compromise states that each slave would be counted as 3/5ths of a free person for the apportionment in the house and of direct taxation. 3

4 The Constitution and Democracy n Republican Form of Government Created a Republic & popular rule was only one element of the new government n State legislators to elect senators n Electors to choose president n Two kinds of majorities: voters (for example, the House of Representatives) and states (for example, the Senate) n Judicial review another limitation, though one not necessarily intended by Founders (because it was not mentioned in Constitution) The Constitution and Democracy n Key Principles n Federalism The SHARING of powers between the National Government and the States n Enumerated powers (expressed) Writing directly in the Constitution for the National Government n Reserved powers Given exclusively to the States n Concurrent powers Shared by both the National Government and the States n Separation of powers Between the 3 branches of National Government n Checks and balances Allows national institutions the ability to check one another 4

5 Powers of the National & State Governments 5

6 The Constitution and Liberty n The Antifederalist View Antifederalist believed that liberty can only succeed in small republics Federalist said personal liberty is safest in large republics n Need for a Bill of Rights? Federalist said no due to protections in the Constitution Right of habeas corpus No bill of attainder No ex post facto law Trial by jury in criminal cases Citizens of each state guaranteed the privileges and immunities of citizens of every other state In order for Constitution to be ratified, Federalist offered a bill of rights to be added after ratification; the Anti-federalist accepted and called for ratification The Bill of Rights 12 were proposed and 10 were ratified 6

7 n The Changing Constitution There have been 2 ways the Constitution has been changed; formal and informal Formal change is adding an amendment There have been only 27 in the document's history The Changing Constitution 7

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