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Constitutional Underpinnings. By: Lillian Chang, Priya Sharma, Kathy Wang, and Amanda Phan. The Articles of Confederation. The federal government was weak Shay’s Rebellion exposed the weaknesses of the government Nation’s leaders called for a stronger central government.

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Constitutional underpinnings

Constitutional Underpinnings

By: Lillian Chang, Priya Sharma,

Kathy Wang, and Amanda Phan

The articles of confederation
The Articles of Confederation

  • The federal government was weak

  • Shay’s Rebellion exposed the weaknesses of the government

  • Nation’s leaders called for a stronger central government

Weaknesses of the federal government
Weaknesses of the Federal Government

  • Could not draft soldiers

  • Could not tax citizens- tax revenue was dependent on state policies

  • Not able to control interstate trade

  • No national currency

  • Needed approval from 9 out of 13 states to pass laws

  • Needed unanimity to amend Articles

The constitutional convention
The Constitutional Convention

  • The Framers met in Philadelphia 1787

  • Stronger Central government was needed

  • Virginia Plan vs. New Jersey Plan

The great compromise
The Great Compromise

  • Bicameral Legislature:

    • House of Representatives

    • Senate

  • Representation of Slaves

    • Three Fifth Compromise

The constitution
The Constitution

  • A blueprint and guide for the structure of government

  • Is vague purposely

  • The elastic clause allows Congress to “make all laws” that appear “necessary and proper”

  • Executive orders and agreements

  • Judicial Review

Enlightenment philosophers
Enlightenment Philosophers

  • Thomas Hobbes

    • Best way to protect life was to give power to an absolute monarch

  • John Locke

    • Life, liberty and property were natural rights

    • Duty of the government to protect rights

  • Charles de Montesquieu

    • Three branches of government

  • Jean Jacques Rousseau

    • Social Contract


  • Institution that creates and conducts public policy

  • Maintains legitimate authority and control over society

Policymaking system
Policymaking System

  • Linkage institutions – serve to set political agenda

    • Media

    • Political parties

    • Interest groups

    • Polls

Elitist theory
Elitist Theory

  • A small number of powerful elite form an upper class, which rules in its own self-interest.

Pluralist theory
Pluralist Theory

  • Interest groups compete with each other for power and control over public policy

  • No group or set of groups dominates

  • Bargaining and compromise are essential to democracy

Hyperpluralist theory
Hyperpluralist Theory

  • Too many influential groups in democracy

  • Government is often “pulled” in many directions at the same time

  • Causes gridlock and ineffectiveness

Separation of powers
Separation of Powers

  • power is separated between branches of government

  • each branch has its own powers and duties and is independent of and equal to the other branches

Checks and balances
Checks and Balances

  • Each branch is subject to restraints by the other two branches

Legislative branch
Legislative Branch

  • Congress (Senate and House of Representatives)

  • passes laws

  • Bicameral Legislature

  • Has checks over Executive Branch

  • Has checks over Judicial Branch

Executive branch
Executive Branch

  • President, Cabinet, White House Staff

  • enforces laws

  • Has checks over Judicial Branch

  • Has checks over Legislative Branch

Judiciary branch
Judiciary Branch

  • Supreme Court, lower courts

  • interprets laws

  • Has checks over Legislative Branch

  • Has checks over Executive Branch

Constitutional clauses
Constitutional Clauses

  • These clauses show the dominance of the national government over the states.

  • Supremacy Clause

  • Necessary and Proper Clause

  • Commerce Clause

Court cases

  • McCulloch vs. Maryland

  • Gibbons vs. Odgen

  • These court cases deal with the issues of Federalism

Powers granted to states
Powers granted to states

  • Tenth Amendment: any powers not directly stated in the Constitution are reserved to the states.

    From using the tenth amendment states can:

  • Establish public schools

  • Protect health and safety (police and fire)

  • Regulating business

  • Marriage laws

Federal and state powers
Federal and State Powers

  • Concurrent power: ‘shared powers’ are levying and collecting taxes, creating courts, borrowing money, and having private property for public use.

  • Interstate compact: states can form relationships with each other, like how the federal government has treaties with other countries

Interstate relations
Interstate relations

  • Full Faith and Credit Clause

  • Extradition

  • Privileges and Immunities Clause

Types of federalism
Types of Federalism

  • Dual federalism: layer-cake federalism

  • Cooperative federalism: marble-cake federalism

  • Centralized federalism

Categorical grants
Categorical Grants

  • Money provided by the federal government to the state and local governments

  • Have a specific purpose defined by law

  • Project grants

  • Formula grants

Block grants
Block Grants

  • General

  • Can be used for a variety of purposes within a broad category

  • Preferred by states over categorical grants


  • Requirements imposed by the federal government on the state and local governments

  • American with Disabilities Act (1990)

  • Often no federal funding (unfunded mandates)

Advantages of federalism
Advantages of Federalism

  • Increases possibilities of political participation or greater access to the political process

  • Innovation to handle policy questions

  • Gives interest groups a strong political voice

  • Encourages diversity on many policy questions

Disadvantages of federalism
Disadvantages of Federalism

  • Fragmentation of politics, because of the many levels of agencies which make the process too complicated.

  • Basic inequity in the federal system

  • Strong state and local groups can obstruct and delay putting in national policy