Constitution and federalism notes

HideShow resource information
Preview of Constitution and federalism notes

First 301 words of the document:

The constitution and federalism
· Nature and significance Overview of the US government
· Separation of powers
· Checks and balances
· Bill of rights
· Amendments
· Federalism
· Constitutional change
A constitution is a body of rules that defines the manner in which a state or society is
organised. Within this broad definition there are two basic styles of constitution: codefied and
The US has a written, codefied, constitution whereas the UK does not. Codefied constitutions
are usually the result of revolution as Malcolm Walles pointed out. Vernon Bogdanor has said
that the UK has never had a constitutional moment. The constitution can define the
relationship between the three branches of government and the relationship between the
government and its citizens.
The American constitution is predominantly a liberal document. Key liberal ideas such as
limited government and government by consent are fixed forever in the constitution. The
founding fathers believed they had created a blueprint of a perfect government.
Historical context of the US constitution
1776 ­ Declaration of Independence: taxation without representation, leads to the US War of
Independence from Britain April 1775, 4th July 1776 the colonies issue the Declaration of
1781 ­ Articles of confederation: 13 colonies ratify the articles, create a confederacy afraid of
tyrannical government however there was no executive branch, no judiciary and the
legislature was a talking shop
1787 ­ Philadelphia convention: 55 delegates from 12 of 13 states in May 1787 took 4
months, had to create a strong government whilst protecting freedoms, Virginia plan and the
New Jersey plan create the Connecticut compromise of a bicameral system according to
population and equal representation, created the articles:
I Legislative branch
II Executive branch
III Judicial branch

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

IV Federal, state and interstate relationship
V Amendment process
1791 ­ Bill of Rights: first ten amendments known as the bill of rights, proposed by congress
in September 1789 ratified by states in December 1791, designed to protect against an all
powerful federal government, 17 further amendments have been passed since 1791
Sources of the constitution
Ideas of intellectuals ­ John Locke ideas of limited government, Montesquieu idea of
separation of powers, JeanJacques Rousseau best form of government should reflect the
general will of the…read more

Page 3

Preview of page 3

Here's a taster:

Each branch exercises power and control over the others, it supports the idea of limited
government.…read more

Page 4

Preview of page 4

Here's a taster:

New Federalism 19702000 Nixon, Ford, Bush, Clinton the majority of presidents were
republican, shift back to state power as the federal government did not create the states the
states created the federal government, large increase in block grants allocated to stated by
federal government for non specific purposes or general areas
Federalism is an ever changing concept that has had to adapt to westward expansion (13
colonies to 50) growth in population (4 million in 1790 to 275million in 2000)
industrialisations need for government regulation,…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Government & Politics resources:

See all Government & Politics resources »See all resources »