AP Gov Unit1 StudyGuide

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  • 1. Unit One: Constitutional UnderpinningsAP Government and Politics

2. Democracy Democracy is rule by the people 3. Democracy: Two Types A. Direct: rule by the people themselves.B. Indirect (representative): rule by elected representatives. C. Founders' distrust of direct democracy: 1. Impracticalities. 2. Fleeting passions of the people --->concern that they would be swayed by demagogues. 4. Republic. *Same as indirect democracy. *Solves problems of direct democracy. Secures the advantages of direct democracy while curing its weaknesses. 5. Democratic Theory A. Majoritarian politics view: leaders are heavily influenced by the will of the people. B. Elite politics views: minorities dominate policy making 1. Marxist: influence of economic elites. 2. C. Wright Mills: influence of power elite: corporate, military, political (Eisenhowers military industrial complex.) 3. Max Weber: influence of bureaucracy. 6. Pluralist view: 1. Political resources are so scattered that no single elite has a monopoly on them. 2. There are so many institutions in which power is exercised that no single elite could possibly control all of them.3. Pluralism therefore argues that many groups compete with each other for control over policy. Policy is therefore the outcome of political haggling, innumerable compromises, and evershifting alliances among groups. 7. D. Hyperpluralist View: 1. "Pluralism gone sour." 2. There are so many groups, and they are so strong, that government has become gridlocked and is unable to act. 8. IV. Fundamental Democratic Values A. Popular sovereignty. B. Respect for the individual. State serves individual, not vice versa. C. Liberty. D. Equality. Of opportunity more than result. Role of FDRs 2nd Bill of Rights: economic security. 9. V. Fundamental Democratic Processes A. Free and fair elections, with competing political parties. B. Majority rule w/minority rights. Fear of tyranny of the majority led to protection of property rights. C. Freedom of expression. D. Right to assemble and protest. 10. VI. Fundamental Democratic Structures (briefly -- covered in more detail later) A. Federalism. B. Separation of powers. C. Checks and balances. D. Constitutionalism. 11. ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLICI. Sources of the Constitution A. British Customs and Traditions, e.g., Magna Carta and English Bill of Rights. B. European Philosophers, e.g., Locke, Hobbes, Montesquieu, Rousseau C. Colonial experiences, e.g., power of elected assembly. D. State constitutions written after the Declaration of Independence, e.g., Preamble closely resembles the introduction to the Mass. Constitution. 12. II. Constitutional Convention, 1787 A. Background. Decl. of Indep. ---> Rev. War ---> Articles of Confed. and its weak central govt.: No power to tax. No chief executive. No national judiciary. No power to regulate interstate or foreign commerce. No national currency. 2. Annapolis Convention, 1786: called to improve Articles. 3. Shays' Rebellion, 1786 ---> necessity of a stronger national government. 13. B. Delegates 1. Characteristics: "well-read, well-bred, well-fed, and well-wed." 2. Participants: a. Madison: "Father of Const." because of leadership and detailed notes of proceedings. b. Washington: presiding officer c. Franklin: "elder statesman." d. Morris: largely responsible for final wording of Const. e. Hamilton: most forceful advocate for strong central government. 3. Charles Beard's Economic Interpretation of the United States (1913). a. Constitution was written by propertied class ---> naturally reflected those interests (although no conspiracy per se). b. Rebuttals: 1) Most people owned property. 2) Even the poor, in hopes of someday owning property, wanted to protect property. Establishing a democratic government involved risks and dangers --> need to build in safeguards and protections. 14. C. Areas of agreement: 1.Scrap the Articles of Confederation. 2.Establish a republican government. 3.Establish a constitutional government. 4.Established a balanced govt. where no single interest dominated. 5.Suffrage for property owners only. 6.Stronger central govt. than under the Articles. 7.Protection of property rights: the main purpose of govt . 8.Keep the proceedings secret. 15. D. Areas of disagreement ---> compromises: 1. Representation among the states. a. Large states favored the Virginia Plan: based upon population. b. Small states favored the New Jersey Plan: equal representation. c. Connecticut (Great) Compromise: a bicameral legislature with a popularlyelected House (based upon population) and a Senate (equal rep.) elected by state legislatures. 16. D. Areas of disagreement ---> compromises: 2. Representation and taxation of slaves. a. Northern states wanted slaves to count for taxation, but not representation. b. Southern states wanted the opposite. c. 3/5 Compromise: 3/5 of the slaves would count for both purposes (3/5 was the ratio that would yield equal representation among northern and southern states). 17. D. Areas of Disagreement ---> Compromises:Election of the President. a. Life term v. annual election ---> compromise of a 4-year term. b. Method of election: 1) Some wanted election by Congress. 2) Some wanted election by state legislatures. 3) Some wanted direct election. 4) Compromise: Electoral College system. 18. E. Ratification Politics1. Federalists: a. Supporters: property owners, creditors, merchants. b. Views 1) Elites most fit to govern. 2) Feared "excesses" of democracy. 3) Favored strong central government. c. Leaders: Hamilton, Madison, Washington, 19. 2. Antifederalists: a. Supporters: small farmers, frontiersmen, debtors, shopkeepers. b. Views. 1) Feared concentration of power in hands of elites. 2)Believed that govt. should be closer to the people. 3)Feared strong central government. Favored stronger state govts. 4) Feared the lack of Bill of Rights -- their strongest argument. c. Leaders: Henry, Mason, Gerry. 20. 3. Federalist Advantages:a. Were better represented in state legislatures. b. Controlled the press. c. Began ratification procedures quickly before Antifederalists could get organized. d. Agreed to a Bill of Rights after ratification of the Constitution. 4. The Federalist Papers: Madison, Hamilton, and Jay. To rally support for ratification of the Constitution. 5. Ratification, 1788: by state ratifying conventions of popularly-elected delegates. 21. I. Separation of Powers I. Separation of powers.A. To Madison, tyranny was govt. that controlled all 3 branches of govt. ---> Division of power among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. B. This system diffuses power instead of concentrating power. C. Influence of Montesquieu. D. Colonial experiences, e.g., excessive power in st. legislatures need for strong exec. E. Danger of one branch combining forces with another branch ---> checks and balances. 22. II. Checks and Balances A. 1. 2. B.Background. 18th century view of govt. as something to be restrained, and modern view of govt. as something to be used for the common good. Fear of tyranny among Founders ---> distrust of govt. ---> checks and balances as means of intentionally building inefficiency in order to prevent govt. abuse of power. System of restraints in which each branch can check the other two. Reflects fear of tyranny. 1. Examples: veto, veto override, appointment and confirmation, treaty-making and ratification, defense funding and Commander-In-Chief. 2. Political independence within each branch: no branch is dependent upon the other two for election (exception: judges are appt'd by President) and continuance in office (life terms for judges ameliorate presidential influence). 3. Staggering of terms within each branch -> a majority of voters can gain control over one part of govt. at one time, e.g., midterm cong. elections can serve as a check on the exec. 4. Modifications of checks and balances: examine if the following strengthen or weaken checks and balances. 23. Checks and Balances 24. II. Checks and Balances1. Political parties. a. In theory, should weaken checks and balances -- a way of bringing the branches of govt. together. Const. divides govt., but parties bring people in govt. together. b. In reality, however, parties are weak: Dominance of only 2 parties ---> each party has wide range of interests ---> much disagreement within each party itself ---> difficult to assert such strong control c. Prevalence of divided govt., i.e., a Pres. of one party and a Cong. of the other. 25. II. Checks and Balances 2. Changes in voting methods. a. Senators now chosen by people. b. Congressmen also chosen by people. c. Presidents chosen by electors who vote as the people have voted. -- Thus, members of two branches essentially chosen by same electorate ---> weakening of checks and balances in theory; however, split ticket voting has changed this. 26. II. Checks and Balances 3. Growth of federal bureaucracy. a. Development of numerous agencies w/legislative, executive, and judicial functions. b. Congress often grants broad authority to agencies and lets them carry out the general will of Congress, e.g., Congress established an IRS to collect taxes, and then granted the IRS authority to help write the tax code, enforce the tax code, and settle disputes over the tax code. -- Thus, growth of bureaucracy has caused a weakening of checks and balances. 27. II. Checks and Balances 4. Changes in technology, e.g., nukes, computers, fax machines, satellite communications: Two views: a. President, Congress, interest groups, media have all been able to take advantage of the new technologies ---> strengthening of checks and balances. b. President has been especially able to take advantage of these ("electronic throne"), e.g., staged event of Bush landing on an aircraft carrier ---> weakening of checks and balances. 28