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PLS 100


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Aristotle's role in developing our constitution?
Aristotle stated that while he was indeed in favor of aristocracy, it is necessary to have a blend of democracy and aristocracy in order to thrive.
What is a monarchy?
form of government in which supreme power is actually or nominally lodged in an individual, who is the head of state, often for life or until abdication
What is an aristocracy?
form of government, where rule is established through an internal struggle over who has the most status and influence over society and internal relations. Power is maintained by an hereditary elite, from a caste, class, family (dynasty or even some individuals).
What is a democracy?
'Democracy' is a form of government in which the supreme power is held completely by the people under a free electoral system.
What did the magna carta do?
It was the first "constitution" and declared the world's first democracy.
Mayflower Compact?
Document created by english immigrants aboard the mayflower. It depended on consent of individuals and prove the determination of the immigrants to live under the rule of law, based on the consent of the people- they were to rule themselves based on the agreements in the compact.
Sugar Act (1764)?
Taxes on goods such as sugar and molasses were to be enforced to help raise revenue for England.
Stamp Act (1765)?
A tax put on all legal documents such as newspapers and cards. The colonists boycotted english goods and the stamp act was repealed a year later. The colonists start calling it "taxation without representation."
Boston Tea Party?
The British raised taxes again in 1767. Outraged colonists dressed as mohawk indians and dumped british tea into boston harbor as a protest. This provoked the coercive acts.
Coercive Act (1774)?
-AKA The Intolerable Acts - Passed by the British in retaliation to the Boston Tea Party - It closed the Boston Harbor and placed the government of Massachusetts under direct British rule.
What did the 1st Continental Congress do?
-1774 -gathering of delegates from 12 of 13 colonies (no georgia) -passed resolution requesting that a petition be sent to King George III -colonies are to raise own troops -continue boycott of british trade -britain treated 1st continental congress as act of rebellion
What did the 2nd Continental Congress do?
-1775 -established an army -named george washington commander in chief -warned britain
What did the declaration of independence establish?
-It established free trade at all american ports with all countries except Britain -the next month, congress stated that each colony should establish a state government separate from Britain -finally, colonists declared their independence on July 4th
What were the Articles of Confederation and what did they establish?
-created a weak central government out of the fear of Britain's powerful government -it is a voluntary association of independent states, in which the states agree to only limited restraints on their freedom of action -no effective executive authority -made up of ambassadors from each state -each state has a single vote -established coinage and regulates foreign affairs -lacked executive power to enforce decisions -no right to tax, could only ask -no national system of courts
Why was Shay's rebellion important?
-mobs of farmers seized county courthouses and disrupted trials of debtors -they then launched an attack on the federal arsenal in massachusetts -this showed the central government that they could not protect citizens from armed rebellion under the articles of confederation -Shay's rebellion spurred nation's political leaders to action
What is the Virginia Plan?
-bicameral legislature -lower chamber chosen by the people and the smaller upper chamber chosen by the lower chamber from nominees selected by state legislatures -the number of representatives are proportional to state's population -FAVORS LARGE STATES
What is the New Jersey Plan?
-one state=one vote
What is the connecticut (Great) compromise?
-bicameral legisature in which the lower chamber, the house, would be proportional to the number of free inhabitants in each state -the senate, upper chamber, would have two members from each state elected by the state legislatures
How to propose and ratify a constitutional amendment?
-can propose by a two-thirds vote of congress or by a national convention that is called by congress at the request of 2/3 of the state legislatures -can ratify by a positive vote in 3/4 of the state legislatures or by special conventions called in the states and a positive vote in 3/4 of them
-in favor of the ratification of the constitution -wanted a strong central government -Alexander Hamilton and James Madison
-did NOT want ratification of constitution -feared strong central government -wanted a guaranteed list of rights (bill of rights) if they were to agree to ratification -samuel adams and patrick henry
What is a unitary government?
The federal government holds all authority. Great Britain is an example.
What is a federal government?
-powers are balanced between different branches of government -representatives make decisions based on the people
What is a confederal government?
group of empowered states or communities -established for dealing with critical issues like war and foreign policy
Which branch of government is popularly elected in the original constitution?
The House of Reps
Advantages of federalism?
-ensures close relationship b/w government and the people b/c of the local state governments being in tune with local needs -encourages development of nation in a decentralized manner -prevents dominance of the majority
Disadvantages of federalism?
-can lead to duplication of governmental duties and overlapping/contradictingpolicies in different parts of the country -leads to competition/rivalry between states and inequality between them -over government and corruption -
Expressed (enumerated) powers?
-found in first seventeen clauses of Article 1, section 8 -coining money, setting standards for weights and measures, making uniform naturalization laws, admitting new states, establishing post offices, regulate commerce among the states, and declare war
What is the necessary and proper clause?
-also known as the elastic clause -provides flexibility to our constitutional system -gives congress power to do whatever is necessary to execute its specifically delegated powers -McCulloch v. Maryland
What are inherent powers?
-national government must be the only government that deals with other nations -power to make treaties, wage war, seek trade, and acquire territory
What are reserve powers?
-all powers not delegated to the national government by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, or to the people
What powers are prohibited to state governments?
-cannot enter into a treaty with another country on its own -may not levy tariffs, grant titles of nobility, coin money
Concurrent powers?
-powers shared by the national government and state government -power to tax, borrow funds, establish courts, charter banks and corporations, and police power
What is the supremacy clause?
-constitutional provision that makes the constitution and federal laws superior to all conflicting state and local laws
What is the commerce clause?
-section of the constitution in which congress is given the power to regulate trade among the states and with foreign countries
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)?
-marshall ruled that no state could use its taxing power to tax a branch of the national government -decided that the national government had the implied power to establish a national bank -IMPORTANT DECISION because it enabled national government to grow and meet problems that we cannot foresee -allows expansion of expressed powers
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)?
-decision defined commerce as all commercial intercourse, including transport of people on steamboats -decided that the commerce power of the national government applied for interstate and intrastate issues -decided that the power to regulate interstate commerce was an exclusive national power -IMPORTANT DECISION because it expanded the interpretation of the commerce clause, allowing the national government to have increased power over economic affairs
What is dual federalism?
-looks on national and state governments as co-equal sovereign powers -neither the state nor national government should interfere in the other's sphere -popular after the civil war (revival of state rights)
What is cooperative federalism?
-model of federalism in which the states and national government cooperate in solving problems -became popular after the great depression -part of the "New Deal" that would help save economy -expanded powers of the commerce clause once again
What eroded dual federalism?
The great depression because regulation of the economy by the national government was needed to save our nation
What is fiscal federalism?
system of transfer payments or grants by which a federal government shares its revenues with lower levels of government.
The temporary granting of power to the state or local governments to handle something, but the power ultimately rests with the national government and can be removed at any time
United States v. Lopez (1995)?
-stated that the Gun-Free school zones act of 1990 was unconstitutional -the act attempted to regulate an area that had "nothing to do with commerce" -placed a limit on the national government based on the commerce clause for the first time in 60 years
Massachusetts v. EPA (2000)?
-case was brought against the Environmental Protection Agency by massachusetts and other states that -groups claimed that the EPA had the authority to, and should, regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases -the EPA maintained that it lacked the authority to regulate these gases -court ruled taht the EPA did have such regulatory authority and they could only choose not to regulate auto emissions and other heat-trapping gases if they could prove a scientific basis for why they shouldn't -IMPORTANT because the court decided this way only because the Bush Administration refused to regulate green house gases so the court decided it was the EPA's job (showed an improper display of how the courts are to act in a democratic society)
US v. Morrison (violence against women act)?
United States v. Morrison invalidated the section of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 that gave victims of gender-motivated violence the right to sue their attackers in federal court -congress lacked the authority to make such a provision because it is not granted to them in the commerce clause
What did Barron v. Baltimore (1833) do?
-it decided that the Bill of Rights did not apply to state laws
Why is the due process clause of the 14 amendment important?
-it stated that civil liberties guaranteed by the national constitution are to be applied to the states -no person is to be deprived of these liberties without due process of law
Civil liberties v. Civil Rights?
-civil liberties are guaranteed in the bill of rights -civil rights are legal rights that we have to be free from unequal treatment by law and in the work place
Writ of habeas corpus?
-a person shall be brought to court to decide if they are to be lawfully imprisoned or if they can be released
Bills of attainder?
-a act that declares a person or group of people guilty without the benefit of a trial -it is unconstitutional to pass a bill of attainder in the U.S.
Ex post facto laws?
-a law that changes the severity of the consequences for a certain crime cannot be enforced on a person who committed the crime prior to the new law -ex post facto laws are prohibited in the U.S.
What did Gitlow v. New York (1925) do?
-Supreme Court decided that the 14th amendment protected the freedom of speech guaranteed by the 1st amendment
incorporation doctrine?
doctrine that incorporated the rights guaranteed in the bill of rights to the states.
What is the establishment clause?
-the part of the first amendment prohibiting the establishment of a church officially supported by the national government
What is the free exercise clause?
-guarantees the right to freely exercise a religion
Why is Everson v. Board of Education (1947) important?
-it reinforced idea of separation of church and state
Why is Oregon v. Smith (1990) important?
-supreme court ruled that Oregon could deny unemployment benefits to drug counselors who had been fired for smoking an illegal drug in their religious services

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