UNIT 1: Foundations of Government Reading Questions Chapter 1: The Political Landscape Chapter 2: The Constitution Chapter 3: Federalism Chapter 1: The Political Landscape (p. 2-27) Introduction: The Political Landscape 1. According to the authors (henceforth O’Connor/Sabato), if the Framers (aka Founding Fathers, Founders, etc.) of the US Constitution were alive today, they would be surprised by: a. b. c. Roots of American Government 2. Define and give a metaphor for government. 3. What do citizens “get”? What do they have to “give”? 4. Give two definitions of politics. 5. Reread the Constitution’s preamble on page 2. Then summarize each of the following purposes of the Constitution in 1 sentence each: a. establish Justice b. insure domestic tranquility c. provide for the common defense d. promote the general welfare e. secure the blessing of liberty 6. Use Greek roots to define “democracy”? Is ours? The Philosophical Origins of American Government 7. Explain the Divine Rights of Kings or in other words, what is the source of the king’s right to govern? 8. Describe Hobbes’ state of nature without government. According to Hobbes, why is government necessary? 9. Describe Locke’s social contract theory. 10. Explain the difference between direct democracy, indirect (representative) democracy and a republic. American Political Culture and the Basic Tenets of American Democracy Describe these common characteristics of American political culture: 11. Personal Liberty 12. Equality 13. Popular Consent 14. Majority Rule 15. Popular Sovereignty 16. Civil Society 17. Individualism 18. Religious Faith and Religious Freedom 19. According to O’Connor/Sabato, the US is the most ___________________nation in the world. Political Ideology: Its Role in the World and in American Politics 20. Define political ideology and give 2 radical examples of it from the book. 21. Approximately what percentage of Americans classify themselves as Moderate, Conservative and Liberal? (Figure 1.2 might help) 22. What is a libertarian? 23. Describe 3 components of a conservative. 24. Describe 3 components of a liberal. 25. What is the problem with political labels? 26. Look at Figure 1.3. Where did Obama’s support come from? McCain? Changing Characteristics of the American People 27. Now, summarize what the figures 1.4, 1.5, and 1.6 say about the changing demographics in the US? 28. Summarize the chart on page 26. What does it say about changes in America’s faith in major institutions? Chapter 2: The Constitution (p. 30-61) Introduction: The Constitution 1. Give 3 examples of failed Constitutional amendments? Roots of New American Nation 2. Describe three differences between traditional British society and life in the colonies. 3. Recreate and complete chart. Date Act Description Colonial Response Sugar Act Stamp Act Quartering Act Townshend Act Tea Act 4. What was the impact of Common Sense by Thomas Paine on colonial opinion? 5. How does Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence echo the ideas of John Locke? The First Attempt at Government: The Articles of Confederation 6. Give two synonyms for the Articles of Confederation? 7. Give 10 problematic weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation? 8. How did Shay’s rebellion exemplify the weakness of the Articles of Confederation? The Miracle at Philadelphia: Writing the US Constitution 9. What was the sole purpose of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787? What did Randolph and Madison propose? 10. Describe Beard’s take on why the framers created the Constitution they did? 11. What is Wood’s theory on what the framers wanted? 12. Summarize the Virginia Plan. 13. Summarize the New Jersey Plan. 14. How did the Great Compromise rectify the differences between the Virginia Plan and New Jersey Plan? 15. Describe how slavery was addressed in the US Constitution. 16. What fears were on the minds of the framers as they created the Executive Branch? 17. According to Alexander Hamilton, why was the Electoral College selected as the means of electing a president? The US Constitution 18. How did the final edit of the preamble boldly proclaim a change in where the new government derived its power? 19. What is federalism? 20. How do James Madison’s words on ambition connect to the Constitutions’ principle of the separation of powers? 21. What are three key features of the separation of powers? 22. Recreate the chart on page 47, selecting what you believe to be the most powerful check each branch possesses over one another. 23. How did the 17th Amendment change the accountability of a senator? 24. Give 2 examples of how the separation of powers have become what one scholar has called “separate institution sharing powers”. 25. What are checks and balances? 26. What is the difference between enumerated and implied powers? 27. What is so special about the final paragraph of Article I, section 8? 28. What are the most important powers given to the President in Article II? 29. Whose job is it to determine what the Constitution actually meant? 30. What is the Full Faith and Credit Clause? Where is it found? 31. Why is the supremacy clause the “linchpin of the entire federal system”? 32. What does ratification mean? The Drive for Ratification of the US Constitution 33. Describe two fears of those who did not support the Constitution? 34. Describe the typical Federalist, Anti-Federalist and their main beliefs. 35. What are the federalist papers? Who wrote them? 36. What was the purpose of the Bill of Rights? Who wanted these included? Toward Reform: Methods of Amending the US Constitution 37. Why did the framers want changing the Constitution to be a slow process? 38. Describe the process that is commonly used to propose and ratify amendments to the Constitution. 39. How does judicial interpretation continue to “amend” the Constitution? 40. How does social and cultural change continue to amend the Constitution? Chapter 3: Federalism (p. 94-119) Introduction: Federalism 1. What lessons were learned regarding federalism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina? 2. The relationship between national, state, and local government has been reshaped repeatedly since the Constitution was written. What have been the causes of this? Roots of the Federal System and the Constitution Allocation of Government Powers 3. Define Federalism (again). 4. Make a chart illustrating the difference between federalism, unitary and confederation systems of government. 5. List 4 powers solely given to the national government under the Constitution. 6. You are a state’s governor and you are concerned that the national government is infringing upon your ability to govern your state. You choose to sue the federal government. Which amendment will you mostly use to build your argument? Why? 7. What are 5 concurrent powers of both the national and state government? 8. What is a bill of attainder and ex post facto laws? Did the Constitution allow these? 9. What does the Full Faith and Credit Clause protect? Give an example of a recent challenge to it. 10. Jimmy robs a bank in Tennessee. Jimmy flees to Georgia and posts on facebook, “Ha! I robbed a bank! Neener-neener Tennessee Police—you can’t get me!” Explain the errors in poor Jimmy’s reasoning. Federalism and the Marshall Court 11. What did McColloch vs. Maryland do in terms of the relationship between the federal and state government? 12. What 2 questions did Chief Justice Marshall answer in the case? What were his answers? 13. What was the impact of Gibbons vs. Ogden? Dual Federalism: The Taney Court, Slavery and the Civil War 14. Describe the difference between the Marshall Court’s nationalism and the Taney Court’s dual federalism? 15. How did the Dred Scott case demonstrate the Taney’s court suspicion of federal power? 16. How did the Civil War change the national-state balance? 17. How did 16th & 17th Amendment affect the balance? Cooperative Federalism: The New Deal and the Growth of National Government 18. What was the catalyst for he demise of the concept of dual federalism? 19. How did the New Deal impact federalism? 20. Explain the Supreme Court’s laissez-faire attitude towards the New Deal. 21. How did FDR respond? Did this work? 22. Describe the layer cake/marble cake metaphor of federalism. 23. Describe the difference between categorical grants and block grants. 24. What is New Federalism? Which Presidents promoted it? 25. What was the common theme with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and TANF? 26. Summarize the federalism under the George W. Bush Administration. Toward Reform: A New Judicial Federalism 27. Give 3 examples of how the SC Court has recently (since 1989) ruled in favor of more state/local control?
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