US Poli Thought: Group Assignment 2

Basic Comprehension

  1. What were the recognized deficiencies in the Articles of Confederation and the problems they brought about?
  2. Why were many of the framers so concerned with the individual States printing paper money?
  3. What did Federalist and Anti-Federalists agree on?
  4. Pre-1920/14th Amendment, what was the original intent of the Bill of Rights?
  5. In one sentence or less, what were the anti-federalists primarily concerned with?
  6. Briefly outline Rousseau’s theory of democracy as it has been explained in class and/or summarize in about 3 sentences the main argument in Samuel Adams’ letter.
  7. If we assume the view in 6 is correct, Sam says two possibilities follow from a Federal government. What are they. Hint:
    1. Either X or Y
    2. If X then A (which is bad)
    3. If Y then B (which is also bad)
    4. Therefore, a Federal government is bad.
  8. Describe the conditions under which the Constitution was drafted and the tactics employed to get its public approval. (See: Dissent of Penn)
  9. Describe the various violations of legal and democratic procedures that took place in the Pennsylvania State Legislature.
  10. What 3 reasons do the Penn Minority gave for their dissent?
  11. In Federal Farmer 1, what is the measuring stick proposed to determine whether a Federal government is in the goldilocks zone between a confederacy and a national government?
  12. Why does Federal Farmer 1 reject the possibility of a purely confederate system where Congress has no coercive power?

Application and Philosophical Questions

  1. Do you think the US would be better or worse off now if it were a confederacy of independent states rather than the Federal system the founders constructed? Suggestion: Be specific about the respects in which the US would be better or worse off. Defend your answer against one objection.
  2. Historical reason for States: Founded on different religious interpretations (i.e., different and distinct cultures). Now, is Ohio so culturally and religiously distinct from Indiana or Illinois? If the reason for different states is culture, then shouldn’t states that are now culturally similar dissolve? On what grounds can states be justified as distinct political entities?
    1. What is the purported danger or undesirability of a national government over a large diverse peoples? (Think Adams/Rousseau)
    2. What is the purported danger or undesirability of a government over a small relatively homogenous area? (Think Madison #10)
    3. Is there any good reason to think “States” are in the goldilocks zone between town-level government and National government; i.e., they are the optimal political unit for sovereignty? Consider their current diversity in (geographic) size, population, and degrees of cultural heterogeneity. Consider and reply to one objection to your view.
  3. Design a model for how you think the Constitution should have been approved.
    1. Selection of local representatives (or not…maybe State referendum?) majority? super-majority? consensus?
    2. Alterations and amendments during discussion.
    3. Final vote. (majority? super majority? consensus? national/state referendum?)
  4. (In Dissent) Is all the rhetoric on national government being necessarily despotic hyperbole or is it warranted? If, yes, to what degree?