Government and Politics Essay example

Submitted By AshantyAlves
Words: 4169
Pages: 17

The Constitution | Background to the constitution1787 Philadelphia convention 55 founding fathers met to review system of govt set up in 1776 by declaration of independenceThe confederation had been set up keeping in mind that it had to be very different from the British system, without a monarch like figure. Limited federal power to stop this & protect the liberties of peopleIt only had a legislature, but central govt was to weak & failed to even simply unite the country | Challenges of producing a constitutionEnsuring central govt was strong enough to be able to deal with problems & unite the country but weak enough to stop a monarch like figure emerging.Stopping larger states controlling smaller states Federalists – central govt should have adequate powerAnti – Federalists – protecting people from govtBoth agreed it needed more power but how much was the issue. Federalists gained more in the convention but anti federalists clawed back during ratification by states | Powers of the Federal government (1) – article 1CongressArticle one is on the legislature, they intended for this to be the main policy making body of govt not the executive.Prohibited them from passing ex post facto laws that punished someone for a crime they had committed before the law had been createdGave the elasticity clause to pass any laws that were necessary & proper to fulfil its role. | Powers of the Federal government (2) – article 2Executive Gave him the state of union address in which he can recommend what he deems necessary in his judgement. Implementing laws that congress makes, appointing ambassadors negotiating treaties & commander in chief (foreign policy), selecting heads of departments (put laws into force) | Powers of the Federal government (3) - article 3Supreme CourtOnly specified that the court should e created & the types of cases it should hear, as well as how its judges were to be appointed | Safeguards on Federal Government power (1)FederalismLimiting federal govt as a whole increasing its power, individual states were to take care of all other matters not outlined in the constitution, although there was a federal government states still had powers over many issues Dual federalism – both work on their own – layer cakeCooperative federalism – integrated - marble cakeNew federalism – Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush & Obama all gave back powers to the states | Safeguards on Federal Government power (2)Separation of powersKeeping the three branches separate in order to stop them working together & becoming too powerfulBicameralism As congress was the most powerful branch, it had to be separated as well & two chambers were created who would work together but at the same time keep a check on each other & have different powers. | Safeguards on Federal Government power (3)Checks & balancesEach branch was given the responsibility to make sure the others weren’t exceeding their powers; in order to do this each branch had to have a proportionate amount of power. Constitutional amendmentMade it difficult for politicians to make, two methods – ¾ of states make a convention – PhiladelphiaAmendment proposed to congress, 2/3rds of both houses pass it, ¾ of states ratify it. Only 15 effective amendments excluding bill of rights. (Flag desecration) | Safeguards on Federal Government power (4)Staggered elections - HOR 2 years, president 4 years, senate 6 years. This way even if a party wins all the elections, which rarely happens, the other part of govt is from another party making it unlikely that they will work together in order to create more power for federal govt.(democrats took control of congress in 2006)Fixed elections days - in order to stop govts setting an election when it would most suit them so that they could win another term in office the founding fathers declared all elections would be on the first Tuesday of November.(Obama and McCaine) | Bill of Rights1) Freedom of