Poli Sci 180 Ch 2
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The Articles of the Confederation
The first political constitution for the government of the United States.
The Constitutional Convention
was convened in 1787 to propose limited reforms to the Articles of Confederation. Instead, however, the Articles would be replaced by a new, far more powerful national government.
Groups pursuing their self-interest above the public good.
A system of fundamental laws and principles outlining the nature and functions of the government.
The Virginia Plan
drafted by Madison, foresaw a strong national government that could veto any state laws it deemed contrary to the national interest. The central institution was a bicameral (two-chamber) legislature. The people would elect the lower house, which would in turn select the members of the upper house; the two chambers together would then elect the executive and judiciary. Breaking with the Articles of Confederation’s equal representation of states, this plan allotted seats to both chambers of the legislature by population size alone.
The New Jersey Plan
enhanced the national government’s powers to levy taxes and regulate commerce but left remaining powers to the states. The plan had a federal executive, elected by the legislature, to enforce states’ compliance with national law, and a federal judiciary to settle disputes among the states and between the states and the national government. Any national law would become “the supreme law of the respective States.” This plan preserved the core of the Articles of Confederation—equal representation of states in a unicameral (single-chamber) legislature.
The Great Compromise
AKA the Conneticut Compromise. There would be a bicameral legislature. The house of representatives would be made up of representatives from districts of equal population, white in the senate each state would be equally represented with two senators.
60 percent of the enslaved population would be counted for purposes of representation. Northern delegates, convinced that the largest slave-holding states would never have a majority in the Senate, gave in
The method of electing the president, a political solution that gave something to each of the state-based interests. The president would not be elected directly by the popular vote of citizens. Instead, electors chosen by state legislatures would vote for president. Small states got more votes thatn warranted by population, as the number of electors is equal to the total representatives and senators. If the college did not produce a majority result, the president would be chosen by the popularly elected House, but with one vote per state delegation.
Bill of Rights
Clauses to the Constitution to guarantee specific liberties from infringement by the new government.
Separation of Powers
The allocation of three domains of governmental action -- law making, law execution, and law adjudication -- into three distinct branches of government: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. Each branch is assigned specific powers that only it can wield.
Checks and Balances
Each branch has ways to respond to, and if necessary, block the actions of the others.
Splitting of legislature into two separate and distinct chambers.
Establishes a legislature that the founders believed would make up the heart of the new government. By specifying many domains in which congress is allowed to act, also lays out the powers of the national government.
Takes up the cumbersome process of assembling an electoral college and electing a vice president -- a process that was later modified by the twelfth amendment. The presidential duties listed here focus on war and management of the executive branch. The president's powers are far fewer than those enumerated for congress.
Judges of all federal courts hold office for life "during good bahaviour". It authorizes the supreme court to decide all cases arising under federal law and in disputes involving states.
States that the constitution and all federal laws are "the supreme law of the land"
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