Foundation of American Government

Warm up
Foundation of American
 SSCG1 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the
political philosophies that shaped the development of
United States constitutional government.
 a. Analyze key ideas of limited government and the rule
of law as seen in the Magna Carta, the Petition of Rights,
and the English Bill of Rights.
 b. Analyze the writings of Hobbes (Leviathan), Locke
(Second Treatise on Government), and Montesquieu
(The Spirit of Laws) as they affect our concept of
What is government?
 Defined – institutions that make public policy for a society
 Legitimate use of force used to control human behavior
 All forms of government require submission of some freedom
 Purposes:
 Maintaining order
 Making Economic Decisions
 Providing Security
 Providing public goods and services
 Roads, Clean Air
 Promoting equality/Resolve Conflicts
 Many early issues left to states
 Dilemmas:
 Freedom vs. Order
 Freedom vs. Equality
Where did our Ideas about Government Come From?
 The Greek philosopher was one of
the first to study government.
 He studied the polis, a state
consisting of a city and the
surrounding countryside, of the
ancient Greeks.
 Greek words: politics, democracy, and
Thomas Hobbes
 English scholar and philosopher
 Social contract - by agreement people
gave up to the state the power
needed to maintain order. The state,
in turn, agreed to protect the
 In Leviathan, Hobbes set out his
doctrine of the foundation of states
and legitimate governments - based
on social contract theories.
 “state of nature” – what life would be
like without government.
The state of nature inevitably leads to
conflict, a "war of all against all" and thus
lives that are "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish,
and short" (xiii).
 To escape this state of war, men agree to a
social contract .
Individuals give up natural rights for
Abuse of power is accepted for peace.
Rebellion is expected when abuse is severe.
Hobbes rejects separation of powers
Hobbes believes Monarchy is best form of
The modern day
“state of nature”
 English Philosopher and Political
Took social contract a step further.
People were endowed with the right of
life, liberty, and property.
To keep these rights, they willingly
agreed to give power to a governing
When government failed to preserve
the rights of the people, the people had
the right to break the contract.
Thus, monarchy may not be the best
form of government
He influenced the American Declaration
of Independence.
 The Two Treatises of Government by
John Locke.
 Government is necessary because
people have not figured out a way to
live in groups without conflict.
 The Second Treatise outlines a theory of
political or civil society based on natural
rights and contract theory.
 Lawyer and Political Philosopher
 The Spirit of Laws was published
anonymously by Montesquieu.
 Montesquieu stressed
separation of powers
abolition of slavery
preservation of civil liberties
rule of law
idea that politics and laws should reflect the
social and geographical character of each
particular community.
Match the philosopher with the correct
 One of the First to study government
 Believed in Separation of Powers in government
and Against Slavery
 One of first to develop Social Contract Theory
 Believes individuals have natural rights of Life,
Liberty and Property
Rule of Law
 It is NOT a LAW….
 It IS how democracies gain legitimacy
by contract or agreement
Means by which states have legitimacy
to create laws and penalties
Requirements- culpability, public, valid
and universal, impartial
State’s role- Constitution, independent
judiciary, public legislature, civilian
police and military
Law must reflect will of the people and
guarantee civil rights
Rule of Law
 Triumph of individuals over
the state
 Citizens be actively engaged
in the democratic process
 Defines state’s boundaries
 Citizens consent to laws and
agree to follow them
 Remember- this can change
due to interpretation…
constitutions and laws can
alter rights
 Government is bound by the
law and answers to citizens
Work Period
Create a flip book about Hobbes, Locke, and Montesquieu. Include the following:
 Year/Where lived
 Major Book
 Major Philosophy
 Influence on American Government
 Illustration
10/9 – Exemplary: includes all major information asked demonstrating an
understanding of each philosopher
8/7 – Satisfactory: includes major information, but is missing 1-3 items
6/5 – Needs Improvement: includes some major information, but is missing or has
incorrect information for 4 -6 items
Below 5 – Unfinished or is missing has incorrect information for 7 + items
Declaration of Independence Activity
 Read The Declaration of
 Part 1: List similarities to the
ideas of the philosophers we
have disused in class.
 Part 2: List evidence that this
document is a piece of
persuasive writing
Declaration of Independence
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,
Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are
instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the
Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its
foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall
seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that
Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and
accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while
evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are
accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the
same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right,
it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their
future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now
the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The
history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and
usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these
States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
Magna Carta
 “limited government” shaped the
constitutional government of the U.S.
 In 1215, King John of England was forced to
sign the Magna Carta
 Magna Carta required King John to
proclaim certain rights, respect certain legal
procedures, and accept that his will could be
bound by the law.
 Writ of habeas corpus, allowing appeal
against unlawful imprisonment.
Petition of Right
 Petition of Right, 1628, a statement
of civil liberties sent by the English
Parliament to Charles I.
 The Petition of asserted four
 no taxes may be levied without
consent of Parliament
 no subject may be imprisoned
without cause shown habeas
 no soldiers may be quartered upon
the citizenry
 martial law may not be used in time
of peace.
English Bill of Rights
 The English Bill of Rights names
certain rights to which subjects
and permanent residents of a
constitutional monarchy were
thought to be entitled.
 petition the monarch
 bear arms in defense
 It also sets out certain
constitutional requirements of
the Crown to seek the consent
of the people, as represented in
The Constitution
 Supreme law of the US
 Foundation of the legal
authority of our FEDERAL
 Framework for organization
of the US Government
 Basic Principals
 Popular Sovereignty- power
resides in the people
 Limited government- it can
only do what the people let it
 Separation of powers- keeps
power balanced… checks and
 Federalism- division of power
between national and state
 Articles of Confederation was weak- no taxes=no military,
no separation of powers, unanimous votes to change, 9/13
vote to make a law, no power to regulate trade
 Compromises- Connecticut Plan, 3/5, Bill of Rights
 Federalists vs. Antifederalists
Structure of the Constitution
 Preamble= purpose
 Amendments
 27 total
 Articles (7 total)
State relations
Amendment process
Federal power
 1st 10 = Bill of Rights
I Legislative Branch
 Bicameral= 2 houses
 Important Powers
 Senate- 2 per state 2 years
 Make laws
 House- population 6 years
 Set taxes
 Declare war
 Override vetoes
 Borrow money
 Regulate trade
 Print money
Georgia’s Legislators
Currently GA has 14
We are the 11th District
II Executive Branch
 President and vice
president- 4 years
 Qualifications- 35+ years,
14 year resident of US,
natural born citizen
 Important Powers
 Commander-in-Chief
 Pardons
 Treaties
 Appoint Federal officers
 Execution of lawas
The Executive Branch
III Judicial Branch
 Supreme Court Judges-
lifetime (but can be
 Currently 9 Justices
 Power rests with US Supreme
Court and other
congressional created courts
 Important Powers
 Decides cases of
Constitutional law and
federal law
 Cases involving ambassadors
go straight to them
 1803= Marbury v. Madison=
Judicial Review
Supreme Court Justices
Did you know?
Currently the Supreme Court has
3 associate judges: David Souter,
John Paul Stephens and Sandra Day
O’Conner (the first female
Justice). All of them are retired
from the Supreme Court.
V and VI
 Amendments
 2/3 of House and Senate
deem it necessary
 2/3 of States deem it
 Ratifications by ¾ of state
legislatures or conventions
in ¾ of states
 1st 10= Bill of Rights
 27 Total (the last one was
in 1992)
 Federal Power
 Supremacy Clause=
Federal law > State law
 No religious tests for
public office
Constitution Scavenger Hunt
Using the copy of the Constitution in your text book,
locate the answers to the questions on the scavenger hunt
The first group to get 100% correct wins a PRIZE!!!!
You and a partner will assume the role of prosecutor or defense
attorney in a case brought by the estates of Hobbes, Locke,
Montesquieu and the authors of the Magna Carta, Petition of Rights
and The English Bill of Rights
Plaintiff Attorneys
Prepare a brief citing 10 specific
examples of theories or ideas from
the Constitution and link them to
documents written by the plaintiffs.
ANALYZE them to make a strong
Write a closing argument to describe
how beliefs and ideals affect social,
political and economic decisions and
why it is important to recognize that.
Defense Attorneys
Prepare a defense and identify 10
specific similarities between the
plaintiff’s documents and the
constitution, but ANALYZE
them to point out the
Prepare an argument and
describe how beliefs and ideals
affect social, political and
economic decision buty why it is
not always necessary to
document these ideals.
Comparing Political Systems
Compare and Contrast the following governmental systems.
 Unitary, Confederal and Federal
 Unitary, Oligarchic and Democratic
 Presidential and Parliamentary