Archive for the ‘Constitution’ Category

Video: America Gets a Constitution

From the History Channel:

http://www.history.com/videos/america-gets-a-constitution#america-gets-a-constitution

america-gets-a-constitution#america-gets-a-constitution

Reminders and assignment for Sept 27

While I am at the funeral, you will have a sub. She is a dear friend of mine, and I know you will treat her like a princess. Make sure you prepare for these two quizzes!

1. You will take a combined 9-10 terms check first, and then grade it. Turn those in.

2. You will then take your MC check over your homework. You will grade that and turn it in.

You will then do this assignment, which can all be done online. Click here to download the assignment: Federalist 51 Document Analysis– Hyperlinks are provided within the document.

If you need to, search for the APPARTS form you will need on the blog, and download a copy. I COULD put it here, but you need to learn how to do this. Keep that copy on your hard drive.

You may write in it in word, but SAVE AS Federalist #51, so that you keep the original. This is due Monday!!!

Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation

This video can also be accessed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pgc0Da5Q9M

A short history of the articles of Confederation

This video can also be accessed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h10eSXRFs

This is a student presentation. She did a pretty good job, and found some great pictures.

This video also discusses the role of Shays’ Rebellion on support for the Articles:

This video can also be located at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbP0JWQeXag

Notes on the Declaration of Independence

Continuing our discussion of the ideological and philosophical differences that lay at the roots of the drive toward rebellion and revolution by the colonists, I have included our notes we took today after we read and discussed the Declaration of Independence.

Some links at which you need to look:

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html – This is the text we read in class.

You can also look in your textbook on pp. A1-A3. The text of the Declaration included in your book also explains (in blue text) the antecedents of each of the specific acts to which Jefferson alludes in each of the grievances against the King, so look at that as well.

The notes we went over in class after reading the Declaration are as follows:

Main Political Claims/ Political Theory Expounded in the Declaration:

(Directly derived from Locke)

1. All men are created equal. (which means that…)
2. All men have certain natural rights. (life, liberty, property)
3. Government is formed BY THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED to protect those rights.
4. If the expectations of #3 is not fulfilled, consent may be withdrawn, and government can LEGITIMATELY be abolished.

Note that the colonists are no wild-eyed anarchists– they want a LEGITIMATE government that respects and protects their rights, not no government at all. In fact, note that in the last paragraph, Jefferson points out that states are now independent– and they all had state governments. On July 5, it is those state governments where the power given up by the people by consent now resides. This also touches directly upon the claims made in the Example of a Letter from a Committee of Correspondence.

The Crux of the Problem: Where is the Philosophical Difference of Opinion Between the Colonists and the British Government:

Is consent required?

Basic Charges against the British Empire:

(4 points–These can be seen as being paired)
1. Laws were not passed that we needed– 2. Laws were passed to which we did not assent.

3. The British authorities subverted our ability to govern ourselves– 4. The king’s government violated our rights and liberty and therefore did not legitimately govern us either.

Links for more information that you must look at:
http://faculty.history.wisc.edu/sommerville/367/locke%20decindep.htm –This puts phrases from the Declaration of Independence parallel to the Lockean arguments in the Second Treatise on Government.

http://www.constitutionfacts.com/?section=declaration&page=fascinatingFacts.cfm – Interesting facts about the Declaration

Questions chapter 9

Questions- Chapter 9: The Confederation and the Constitution
Make sure you still know the definitions and significance of the terms. You can include them in your answers if you need to, however.

By the way, notice the boldfaced words in the questions below. They will be relevant to a DBQ handed out later.

1. What was the effect of the exodus of the Loyalists on American society after the war?
2. How exactly did Revolutionary rhetoric cause social upheaval?
3. What were the limits of Republican idealism when it came to disadvantaged social and demographic groups in American society?
4. What concept provided a counterweight or balance for the excesses of individualism in early American political thought?
5. How did the theory of “republican motherhood” affect women’s lives and expectations regarding their role in society?
6. What were the similar features of the many state constitutions? How did these influence the US Constitution as well as the debate over it?
7. How was “economic democracy” encouraged by specific actions of state governments in the early post-war years?
8. What economic benefits did America gain from independence?
9. Explain the economic disadvantages and dangers facing the new republic.
10. How did the economic situation (look at your answers to 7, 8, and 9) in 1786 influence the political situation as we attempted to establish a new government?
11. What was ironic about the use of the term “Union” (as on p. 180) to describe the American political system? (Look back on pages 179-180 and scan for mentions of unity or related concepts such as unanimity as well as the opposite concept of disunity as you consider your answer.) Consider HISTORICALLY the ability of the colonies to be unified.
12. Why were the executive and legislative branches so weak under the Articles of Confederation? Give specific reasons.
13. Explain the major weaknesses of the Articles, and what impact these weaknesses had. What is meant by calling the Articles “anemic” on p. 182?
14. What were the major achievements of the Confederation government?
15. What four foreign powers challenged American sovereignty the most in the post-war years? Why, and HOW?
16. What were the specific causes of Shays’ Rebellion? What effects did this uprising have politically? What was the significance?
17. What did Jefferson mean by the term “democratic despotism” on p. 185? What is the relation of this term to the term “mobocracy?”
18. Summarize the economic arguments of “paper moneyites” versus “sound money” proponents? What is the danger of paper currency? (You may need to research this)
19. Explain how economic instability and “unbridled republicanism” led to fears of “anarchy.” How did this influence the writing of the Constitution?
20. What were the common characteristics of those “demigods” who gathered eventually to “revise” the Articles? What were their three main goals?
21. How did enemies of America as an independent nation also ironically serve as “Founding Fathers,” according to p 187?
22. Explain each of the important political compromises that made up the Constitution.
23. What was the role of direct versus indirect voting in choosing government officials at the federal level?
24. What were the two great principles of the political theory of republicanism mentioned on p. 190?
25. Describe the differing political views between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. What kinds of people tended to either camp?
26. In general, how did the most radical of the Revolutionary generation respond to the Constitution, and why?
27. Why, specifically, did four states in particular resist approving the new Constitution?
28. What was the purpose of the essays known as The Federalist?
29. Explain the statement on p. 195 that “[t]he minority had triumphed- twice.” In particular consider the statement elsewhere on that page that “[t]he majority had not spoken.”
30. Explain, specifically, how the Constitution attempted to balance the needs for liberty (personal freedom) and order (security and protection).

Civil Liberties in Times of Emergency

With the capture and arrest of the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, there are three opinion pieces I want you to read, as well as the first three paragraphs in particular from the front page of Thursday’s paper. As you hopefully know, at first authorities considered charging the surviving bomber as an enemy combatant, and deliberately decided not to Mirandize him once he regained consciousness. Remember that he is a naturalized US citizen captured on American soil and has so far not been tied to any international terrorist organizations.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/boston-bomb-investigation-extends-to-russia/article_047ec30a-d724-5b49-9811-c4c0941fd3dc.html (first three paragraphs are particularly important).

First, from an editorial from the Post-Dispatch: http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/the-platform/editorial-president-or-terror-suspect-the-rule-of-law-applies/article_411048ff-1e15-5032-8b1c-9756bc4a7d93.html

And this one from conservative commentator George Will: http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/george-will/george-will-the-shame-of-deference/article_20bdbf54-e3fd-5fdb-aab5-7d8bb93e623e.html

And from moderate Kathleen Parker: http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/kathleen-parker/kathleen-parker-the-terror-of-not-knowing/article_033f880d-56ef-5535-b1c5-0b7df2d2b74b.html

This is a great chance to APPLY what we learn and use it to determine our course of action. It is also a good chance to review the Constitutional Amendments and Supreme Court decisions as well as other historical precedents that apply to our understanding of  civil liberties. We will be discussing this in class next Tuesday, April 30. Take notes and CONSIDER your answer to these questions:

What are civil liberties? What is the purpose of civil liberties? Are they negotiable or variable? What does history show us about limitations on civil liberties in times of war or crisis? What points does George Will make about previous instances of racially-based civil liberties decisions? What point does Kathleen Parker make about the ease of stripping those perceived as “alien” or “other” of their rights and claims to humanity?

Here is a link outlining very briefly the current case law on the matter of enemy combatants and civil liberties: http://web.law.duke.edu/publiclaw/civil/index.php?action=showtopic&topicid=24