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Roots of
American
Democracy
Chapter 3
Early Developments
●
Ancient Greece: Athens, direct democracy
– Philosophers: Plato, Aristotle
●
●
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Ancient Rome: representative democracy
England: colonial charters, British tradition
Native Americans:
– Ohlone - direct democracy
– Iroquois: confederation
Enlightenment Thinkers
●
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Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Leviathan
John Locke (1632 - 1704) Second
Treatise of Government
Baron de Montesquieu (1689 - 1755)
The Spirit of the Laws
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 1778) The Social Contract
English Influence
●
Early Tradition
– Limited government
– Representative government
●
Important documents
– Magna Carta 1215 - King John
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Rights to nobles - taxation, raise an army
– Petition of Rights 1628 - King Charles I
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Extended rights to commoners
– English Bill of Rights 1688 - William and Mary of
Orange
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Gained joint monarchs
Signed Bill of Rights: parliamentary elections, freedom
from cruel and unusual punishment, fair and speedy trial
Colonies and the Beginnings
of Independence
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Charters
– Royal Charter
●
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Bi-camerial legislature
Government appointed by king
– Proprietary charter
●
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Proprietor = executive
Councils, judges, lower house of legislature elected
– Charter Colonies
●
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Directly ruled by colonists
Self governing
Growing Resentment
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Issue: no taxation without
representation
Issue: Defense of colonies
Action / Reaction
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Taxation: boycott
First Continental Congress 1774: asked
King and Parliament for US
representation: denied
Second Continental Congress 1775: war
likely, set up Articles of Confederation;
George Washington lead army: King
called “den of traitors”
Declaration of Independence: 1776
Declaration of Independence
●
●
Thomas Jefferson
Based on John Locke (1632 - 1704),
The Second Treatise of Government
– Natural rights
– Consent of the governed
First US Government
●
Articles of Confederation
– 13 colonies / states -- 1 state = 1 vote
– Unanimous decisions
– Powers
●
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Trade with other nations
Make war and peace
– No powers
●
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Tax
Raise an army
National courts
Print currency
Problems
●
Liberty v. order
– Thomas Jefferson
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Unity
– George Washington, Alexander Hamilton
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Financial responsibility
–
–
–
–
Tariffs
Currency
Debt to Europe
Debt to soldiers
Constitutional Convention
1787
●
●
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Fix Articles of Confederation
Philadelphia
Rhode Island did not attend
55 delegates from 12 states
Proposals
●
Virginia Plan
– Bicameral legislature
●
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Lower house: people
Upper house:
selected by lower
house
– Representation based
on population / money
contributed to national
government
– Executive chosen by
legislative branch; veto
– Judicial consist of
judges chosen by leg.
branch
●
New Jersey Plan
– Legislative branch
unicameral by
state legislatures
– All states equal
– Executive branch
several persons,
no veto power
– Supreme Court
appointed by
executive; for life
Compromises
●
Great Compromise
– House = population
– Senate = state
●
3/5 compromise
– Slaves: 3/5 of slave population count
●
Slave trade compromise
– Legislature regulate trade with other
nations
– No ban slave trade for 20 years
Ratification
●
Federalist
– for
– James Madison,
Alexander
Hamilton, John Jay
– Federalist Papers
– Urban, northern
●
Anti-federalists
– against
– Thomas Jefferson
– Feared strong
central government
– Demanded Bill of
Rights (first 10
amendments)
– Rural, southern
Adoption
●
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1787 Delaware became first state to
ratify the US Constitution
1788 nine states approved
Constitution became “Supreme Law
of the Land”
1791 Bill of Rights added
Eventually all 13 colonies approved