Political Science 1100, Introduction to American Politics, January 29, 2013


Current Events 


 What were the Founders Thinking?


4. Madison's dilemma: making a lasting national republican government that would do more good than harm


        How do you give citizens control of the government & make sure that the government

             makes good laws and protects basic rights?

        How do you guarantee majority rule and that majorities do what’s right?



5. Madison’s opponents at the Convention 

            Roger Sherman wanted

     Equal representation of the states in Congress



                 A national government with narrow authority


            The New Jersey Plan



6. The framers built the Constitution on political compromises



Compromise #1: Congress

                Two houses:
                    Equal representation in the Senate,
                        representation based on population in the House


           Compromise #2: The presidency

                A strong presidency with many checks, especially the Senate


            Compromise #3: Slavery

             The Constitution protected slavery


            Compromise #4: Federalism


            •The national government: power to tax, to deal with other nations,
       provide national defense, and regulate commerce between states
            •States could governing themselves internally
            •The boundary between state and national power is very vague and unclear


6. The Results:

    The U.S. Constitution has had many successes

    But the possibility of gridlock was built into the Constitution -
            Checks and balances were
intended to make gridlock possible

    The Constitution created a government that is very hard to use when Americans
     are passionately and evenly divided
                  – like they are now.


     When there is bitter political disagreement, the Constitution’s government
            only works when politicians, like the framers, use all of their political
            skills of negotiation and compromise






How and Why do Americans fight about states' rights and federalism?




In a federal political system, political authority is divided by a constitution between a central government and regional governments

    Examples: Canada, Australia, U.S.


(As Opposed To A Unitary System, Such As Britain Or France)



A. States Affect Everyone's Lives


B. States do things differently

     Example: Capital punishment




        Interstate economic competition



The Economic Shift to the Sunbelt


           The Political Shift to the Sunbelt:



Population Shifts Result In Shifts In ....

... The distribution of Seats In The House Of Representatives,



.... and Therefore in The Electoral College that elects the President