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govt 2305 apt lesson02 The Constitution


hello this is mr. Seymour and we are
going to be discussing chapter two of your textbook which is on the
Constitution and the founding of the Constitution and our constitutional form
of government the supporters of the Tea Party movement think that the federal
government has overstepped the powers that are granted to it by the
Constitution here tea party activists are protesting against big government
throughout American history debates over the meaning of the Constitution have
persisted and the tea party is just one of those debates there’s some things we
need to understand first, the Constitution was not the first document
that tried to form a government within the United States we first had the
Articles of Confederation the problem was that it was too
decentralized it gave the states too much power and it was to end it limited
the power of a federal government the Articles of Confederation weakened
national government too much and the balance of power went too much to the
states the nation was unlikely to offend the borders and unable to put
down domestic unrest as we found in an event called Shay’s rebellion which was
an uprising of farmers against the government over the loss of land of the
farmers to banks and the courts were unable to step in and enforce anything
and it turned into a a riot a national riot the founders wanted to create a
constitution that was general enough to stand the test of time
their approach succeeded in the United States Constitution is the oldest
written constitution still in use today however by leaving some passages open to
interpretation they also set the stage for conflict over the meaning of the
Constitution this painting depicts the signing of the
document at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 now the sequence of
important events that led to the to independence and to the writing the
ratification of the Constitution start back in September of 1774 with the first
Constitution Constitutional Congr ess or the First Continental Congress in May
1775 we have the Second Continental Congress in January of 1775 the first
publication of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet common sense comes out in July of 1776
Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence in November 15 of 1777 the
Articles of Confederation are adopted in August of 1786 to January of 1787 Shay’s
rebellion takes place and in September 14th 1786 Annapolis delegates
to the Annapolis convention decided the articles of
Confederation need to be fixed and decided they were going to have a
Constitutional Convention and that constitutional convention happens in May
25th 1787 and it begins in Philadelphia they weren’t even authorized to have
this Constitutional Convention but they did it anyway
against the authorization of the states that sent them to represent them in
September 17 1787 the Constitution is signed on October 27 1780 7 the
federalist papers begin appearing in New York as a series of newspaper articles
for and against the Federalist Papers were for and the anti-federalists papers
were against the Constitution and the debate is on now popular control of
government government by the people through voting is called republicanism
it is a reject of amount of monarchy and a upholding of the legitimacy of the consent of the government it places
limits on the governmental power and the job of the government then is to uphold
natural rights with the job of the people to oversee their government James Madison writing in Federalist
paper number 10 speaks eloquently about the problem of factions a number of
citizens whether amounting to too many or a minority of the whole who
are united and actuated by some common interest adverse to the rights of other
citizens or to the permanent aggregate interests of the community is in
Madison’s view a faction but what are factions today factions today are groups
of like-minded people who try to influence the government and often they
try to dominate the government and this leads oftentimes to conflict the
economic context of the American Founding had an important impact on the
framing of the Constitution most Americans worked on small farms or as
artisans or business owners which meant that economic power was broadly
distributed this woodcut shows New York City around the time that the
Constitution was written viewed from Upper Manhattan it’s lot more
pastoral than if you were to go there today today it would be the big city and
back then you can see that it was just pasture land and so we have a tradition
in this country of coming from farmers roots now this is your nuts and bolts in
your book and it’s a comparison of the Articles of Confederation and the
Constitution on the issue of legislature the Articles of Confederation are
unicameral one house the Constitution calls for a bicameral or two house
Congress divided into the House of Representatives
the Senate the role of the Senate originally was to represent the states
the role of the house was to represent the people members of Congress between
two and seven per state was what the Articles of Confederation called for the
number was determined by each state under the Constitution two senators per
state representative apportioned according to population so each state
got a number of Representatives according to the population of the state
not by what they wanted smaller states get smaller numbers of Representatives
in the House of Representatives but they have an equal equal say in the Senate
in Congress voting it’s one vote per state under the Articles of
Confederation under the Constitution it’s one vote per representative or
senator the selection of members under the Articles of Confederation they were
appointed by set appointed by state legislatures and not directly elected by
the public under the Constitution representatives are elected by popular
vote senators are appointed by state legislatures and eventually senators
will become a a selected by popular vote as well the chief executive under the
artist of Confederate Confederation there is none there is an Executive
Council within Congress but it has limited executive power under the
Constitution there’s a president of boom the first of course is George Washington
the National Judiciary there are no general federal courts under the
Articles Articles of Confederation under the Constitution there is a court
Supreme Court called for in the Constitution and Congress has authorized
to establish a national judiciary meaning a system of Courts under the
issue of amendments to the Constitution Articles of Confederation said that you
can amend the Articles when every state approved under the Constitution when
approved by two-thirds of each house of Congress and three-fourths of the states
power to coin money under the Articles of Confederation both the states and the
federal government had the power to coin money so each state had its own currency
under the Constitution only the federal government has the power to coin money
as far as taxes the Articles of Confederation apportion taxes by
Congress Cola and it’s collected by all states the Congress basically gets what
the states give them under the Constitution its apportioned and
collected by Congress so Congress has a way of collecting the money that it
needs to operate as far as ratification under the Articles of Confederation
unanimous that a consent was required under the Constitution the consent of
nine out of the thirteen states was required but eventually all thirteen
were ratified remember that one of the big lessons of
this book is the political process matters so it’s not surprising that many
of our most important debates took place in 1787 but there are obviously still
very important debates that go on today for instance gay marriage is just one of
them but the issues that face the convention
are that of majority rule versus minority rights the rights of and voting
of large states versus the representation of small states
legislative which would be lawmaking power versus executive power how much
power do we give to our the leader the president national versus state and
local power slave states versus non slave states and with the exception of
the latter we’re still with we are still fighting over these issues majority vs.
minority rights large states versus small states Legislative versus
executive power national versus state and local power and of course the civil
war is supposed to have taken care of the issue of slave states versus non
slave state now this particular graphic is again in your book it’s your nuts and
bolts to point to these are conflicts the position of the large states
position of the lot of small states and the compromises that are made and
everything in the Constitution is about compromise so the first conflict was
apportionment in Congress and the position of the large states is what it
should be done by population which gives the large states more representation in
the small space the position of the small states that every state should we
have equal vote compromise was called the great compromise which creates the
Senate in the house in the house you have apportioned representatives on the
basis of population in the Senate each state gets the same number of
Representatives too so you have an equal vote each state gets an
we’ll say in the Senate whereas large states have an advantage over small
states in the house the method of election to Congress the position of the
large states was it should be by the people the position of the small states
was it should be by the states the compromise was that the house is elected
by the people the Senate was selected by the states of course now we also
directly elect our senators but that’s not so much later down the line the
election of the executive or president position of the large States was that it
should be done by Congress the position of the small States was that it should
be done by the states the compromise is that it’s by the electoral college
you notice that that in neither of those two positions are the people really
brought in to select a president you do not select the president even today you
select the electors for the president in your state who decides federal and state
conflicts in the large state position is that there should be some federal
authority the position of the small States was there should be state courts
the compromise is that state courts decide as well as the federal court the
Supreme Court which has the power to overturn laws and the judgments of the
state courts the Supreme Court is the supreme decision-making body when it
comes to interpreting the law control over Commerce the position of the slave
states is it should be by state the position of the non slave states was it
should be by Congress it compromises by Congress but with a 20 year exemption
for the importation of slaves so basically the issue of slavery can’t be
taken up for 20 years counting slaves towards apportionment the position of
the largest lay of the slave states was that every every person whether they be
a slave or free should be counted equally the position of the non slave
states is that they shouldn’t be counted at all
the compromise is called the three-fifths compromise which basically
says will count slaves as three-fifths of a person protection of individual
rights the position of Federalists are that they should be secured by state
constitutions and a National Bill of Rights is not needed the position of the
anti-federalists is that a National Bill of Rights is needed the compromise is
that after the first Congress in 1791 we ratify what we call the Bill of Rights
which is the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution James Madison
argued it is beneficial to put the interests of one group in competition
with the interests of other groups so that no one group can dominate
government we call that a plurality he hoped to achieve this through the
separation of powers across different branches of the government and across
national state and local levels which is federalism which we’ll talk about in the
next chapter Alexander Hamilton authored a majority of the Federalist Papers and
was a strong advocate of ratification of the Constitution his opposition was led
by Thomas Jefferson now in determining how we were going to
represent the states small and large there were two plans that were placed
against each other and we finally came up with what’s called the Great
Compromise the Virginia plan was a plan proposed by the larger states during the
Constitutional Convention in which representation in the national
legislature was based on population this plan also included a variety of other
proposals to strengthen the national government the New Jersey plan in
response was in response to the Virginia Plan gave smaller states at the National
Convention they would receive equal representation in that in the national
election legislature regardless of size the outcome is you have the great
compromise where we come up with two houses a bicameral Congress the House of
Representatives representing population and representing the people the Senate
representing the states give each state an equal vote now Connecticut haven’t had a pivotal
place at the Constitutional Convention though there were many disagreements
over the details of America’s new constitution one of the most intense
focused on how states would be represented in Congress either
allocating representatives equally or based on population after other plans
were considered and rejected the Connecticut compromise or great
compromise one out but why Connecticut well Connecticut is right in the middle
it’s not really a large state and it’s not really a small state it’s a middle
population state and so Connecticut had an interest in seeing both of these
points of view reflected in whatever came out of the Constitution other
questions included how long should the executive the president serve and should
there be one executive or three the Federalists favorite a strong executive
and they thought that legislators were too slow and unwielding and favored
having energy in the executive branch so but a leader with scrum for Agadir
powers could do the people’s business in the case of a crisis the
anti-federalists thought it was a blank check for power and Madison came up with
a compromise that allowed for a single executive to better counteract the
legislature while specifically enumerated all the powers in the
Constitution as for electing the presidents the compromise was reached
and that gives us the electoral college which each which is where each state’s
vote is based on its number of representatives and Senators once again
this reflected a compromise between those who wanted the president could be
selected by Congress which is more similar to the parliamentary system that
we’re going to talk about next and those who wanted direct election the
presidential system is so is is in strong contrast to a parliamentary
system that exists in democracy’s a parliamentary system is a
system of government in which the legislative and executive power are
closely joined basically the legislature elects or selects who’s going to lead
the country the legislature of Parliament selects the chief executive
the prime minister who forms the cabinet and members of parliament and we decided
that we were going to do it a little differently so we came up with the
Electoral College which is hotly debated today of course it’s what led to Donald
Trump winning but the question would we would become with Donald Trump of won if
it was a direct election who knows federalism the American system is the
American system of divided power between autonomous levels of government that
control different areas of policy almost all areas of dispute in American
politics from the early days to today for enforcement to legislative seats
slavery regulation and commerce and taxation to many of the Constitution
involve federalism later we’re going to spend a chapter in the next chapter on
federalism but for now let’s look at two key terms the National Supremacy Clause
of the Constitution is part of article 6 section 2 which states that the
Constitution is the supreme law of the land
this means that national laws take precedence over state laws if the to
conflict however in a compromise with the anti-federalists the first 10
amendments of the Constitution outlaw outline pardon me a bill of rights that
protects individual incomes and liberties of these the Tenth Amendment
states that all powers not delegated by the Constitution are reserved to the
states and to the people how strict is the 10th committe amendment how much
does it constrain what the federal government can do this is a big issue
even for today probably more today than ever for instance some political leaders
including state attorneys generals argue the fear that the recently enacted
Affordable Care Act or health care reform or Obamacare was unconstitutional
because the federal government cannot require citizens to
for two self-care only states would be able to do that Supreme Court didn’t
agree with that reasoning and the Supreme Court is able to have power over
the lower courts this is a slave auction in Virginia slavery proved problematic
at the Constitutional Convention would there be limits on the importance of
sweat on the importation of slaves how would runaway slaves we dealt with
by non slave states and how would slaves be counted for the purpose of
congressional representation the southern states would not agree to any
provision limiting slavery which made resolving disagreements difficult
convention delegates use two forms of compromise to broker a deal splitting
the difference and log-rolling to count the slave population the framers
eventually split the difference for the purposes of determining a state’s burden
and for allocating seats in the House of Representatives slave before were
determined to count as a three as three-fifths of a person so let’s split
the difference to address whether runaway slaves should be returned or not
and whether the government could restrict slavery in the future the
northern states traded votes or log-roll with the south the South got its way on
slavery but the North won support for a change on a different issue
congressional power to regulate commerce and tax imports so that’s log rolling
when you prayed one vote for another Congressional exclusive powers those
powers that are given only to Congress including include raising revenue via
taxing and borrowing regulating Commerce pointing money establishing roads
patents and copyrights declaring war and controlling the purse strings basically
spending money the Necessary and Proper Clause which is also known as the
elastic clause which gives Congress the ability to stretch its powers really
enhances the power of Congress and gives them an advantage over the states in
theory the executive branch has many has many fewer powers than Congress does
however the executive power shall be vested in the president a phrase that
presidents have used to argue for greater executive power in recent
administration’s and in Chapter 11 we’ll talk about the presidency and
presidential power the commander-in-chief the fact that the the
event of the chief administrator the the president is commander-in-chief is
supposed to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed and we can talk
about ways where the executive branch has grown to the establishment of a
permanent bureaucracy the Accra the Accra the operation of rules and
regulations in the Federal Register and so forth and basically we’ve seen the
power of the executive branch grow and finally there’s the judicial branch
article 3 of the Constitution which has only six paragraphs devoted to it versus
the pages of paragraphs devoted to Congress in fact the Constitution does
not explicitly mention the idea of judicial review which is the ability of
the judicial branch of the Supreme Court to overturn a law on the basis of this
constitutionality which is the key power and it’s currently used by the Supreme
Court that’s going to have to come out through a court case itself Marbury vs.
Madison which we’ll look at later so let’s look at how it works in theory
the theory of checks and balances that means that what we we do is we have
separation of powers into three branches executive legislative and judicial the
executive branch has some authority over the legislative branch the president for
instance the president can veto congressional legislation and some
authority over the judicial branch by the president by the accreditation or
selection process of judges the president nominates the judges but the
Senate actually selects whether or not that judge is going to sit in office the
judicial branch interprets actions by the executive branch and it interprets
the laws passed by Congress the legislative branch has power over the
executive branch the Senate approves presidential nominations and Congress
can pass laws over the President’s veto now let’s look at checks and balances in
the war on terror as an example so prisoners are taken to Guantanamo on
January 11 2002 President Bush said that wanton mo was an outside the legal
jurisdiction of the United States it’s a for if he says it’s on a foreign country
which is Cuba but it’s on u.s. territory and technicality and that the prisoners
are held that are held there do not have protections guaranteed to prisoners of
war under the Geneva Convention but then the Supreme Court said in
Hamden versus Rumsfeld On June 29th 2006 that the detainees
were entitled to basic legal rights and that the Geneva Convention it applied to
them so it’s still a problem the detention center is increasingly
controversial as Amnesty International which is a human rights organization
calls it the gulag of our time and in 2006 the United Nation urges the United
States to close the facility President Obama has a new idea
two days after taking office he signs in order to close the center by the end of
the year and to suspend all Guantanamo Military Commission hearings for 120
days nope the court says that a week later military Court of Justice
overturns his order to suspend hearings at Guantanamo so sounds like a plan
President Obama wants to move on to honorable prisoners to a federal prison
in Illinois but that plan is blocked by Congress Congress votes to block funds
that are needed for the transfer or release of prisoners held at the
facility going into lat into the last year
President Obama’s presidency more than 100 prisoners were still in Guantanamo
some of whom had been detained for 14 years without a trial can you see how
hard it is to get anything accomplished with all the checks and balances and
losing over each other’s shoulders Congress alone has a power of the purse
to fund government programs although President Obama ordered the troop surge
in Afghanistan Congress had to continue appropriating money to pay for the war
the eighth amendments ban on cruel and unusual punishments is generally viewed
as excluding capital punishment the execution of juveniles and mentally
impaired has been found to be unconstitutional by the courts this
picture shows the electric chair in southern Ohio sectional facility in
lucasville in changing the Constitution many of the constitution is difficult
and it can be controversial some amendments that are widely accepted
today like the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote were instantly
and intensely debated prior to their ratification so how is the
constitutional amendment this flow chart shows how amendments to the Constitution
can be proposed and ratified and the frequency to which each method has been
used interest during president is not a part of the formal process of amending
the Constitution first Congress proposes an amendment by at least a two-thirds
vote and then that and then that goes to the to the states and at least
three-fourths of the state legislatures have to choose that and that’s all been
done all but once another way is that by at least three fourths of state
conventions called for by the purpose of ratifying the amendment that’s been done
once and that was to overturn prohibition amend
secondly the amendment can be proposed by a national convention that is called
by at least 2/3 of the state legislatures and then it can be proof it
can be amended by least three-fourths of the state
legislators has never been done or it can be amended by three-fourths of state
conventions which has never been done these are amendments that were
introduced in Congress that did not pass since 2011 and just a few of them all
right into 112th Congress which was 2011-2012 they wanted to impose a
12-year limit for House and Senate they wanted to impose term limits amend the
first amendment to allow limitations on federal campaign contributions and
expenditures protect the right of parents to raise and educate their
children without interference from government required that the federal
budget be balanced in the 113th Congress 2013-2014 two amendments were proposed
not ratified no treaty executive order or agreement with another nation can
diminish the rights of US citizens all laws that apply to u.s. citizens must
apply equally to US senators and representatives and in a 114th Congress
2015-2016 requiring that the rights extended by the Constitution be granted
only to national natural persons not corporations and we’ll understand why
that particular amendment was proposed and then the repeal of the sixteenth
Amendment which is the income tax and of course that didn’t pass either I wish it
had all right is the constitutional living document that’s the last thing we
have to consider here there is vigorous debate among justices of the Supreme
Court as to whether the Constitution is a living document that changes over time
or should be interpreted more strictly according to the original intent of the
framers there are two sides to this argument
Republicans oftentimes talk about wanting the Constitution not to be too
changed by by the Supreme Court and the Democrats oftentimes see it as necessary
for things like civil rights and civil liberties this will end our lecture here
for chapter 2

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