Unit 1

Report
UNIT ONE: PHILOSOPHICAL & HISTORICAL
FOUNDATIONS OF THE AMERICAN POLITICAL
SYSTEM
LESSON ONE:
What did the Founding Fathers
think about Constitutional
Government?
TERMS:CONSTITUTION
LIMITED GOVERNMENT
CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT
PARLIAMENT
DEMOCRACY
REPUBLIC

UNWRITTEN CONSTITUTION
WRITTEN CONSTITUTION
FORMS OF GOVERNMENT
The Student will be able to . . .
 Describe
the diverse features of the early American
colonies and state and their populations
 Explain what the Founders learned about government
from history and their firsthand experiences with
government
 Describe the forms of constitutional governments
 Evaluate, take and defend positions on the sources
that should be consulted if a new constitution for the
United Sates were being written today
 Defend: Are the Founders’ concerns about abuse of
government power still valid today?
CHARACTERISTICS OF
COLONIAL AMERICA

Size



Diverse Background




Puritans to Quakers
Economic Reasons (poor to rich)
Different Languages (English, Dutch, French, Germany)
Social/Political Cultures


The colonies were bigger than England & Scotland
More than 1,000 miles from north to south of colonies
Huge estates to family farms (slavery in every colony)
Mostly Rural/Trade people
HOW DID THE FOUNDING FATHERS LEARN
ABOUT GOVERNMENT?

Greece and Rome
 Aristotle,




Those who govern must be wise
Government should help people learn about and perform their civic
and moral duties
Democracies begin well, but usually end in tyranny
Hobbes and Locke
 Hobbes


– “State of Nature”
Live in conflict/violent. Choose to set up a state to create order out
of chaos
 Locke

Cicero
– “Social Contract”
Government should protect “life, liberty and estate”
100 Years of self-government
 Local
self-government existed with a remote authority
WHAT DID THE FOUNDERS LEARN?
1.
Government should be the servant, not
the master, of the people
2.
A fundamental higher law, or
CONSTITUTION should limit government
FORMS OF GOVERNMENT TO CHOOSE FROM

Every “STATE” must perform 3 functions:
 1.
Deliberate about what is to be done and decide
what public policy should be

 2.
Perform an executive function

 3.
Legislative Function: Deliberating on and Enacting Law
Carry out Public Policy
Carry Out a Judicial Function

Interpretation of law are managed and applied to every day life
ARISTOTLE’S TYPES OF GOVERNMENT
Rule of
Right Form
Corrupt Form
ONE
Monarchy
Tyranny
FEW
Aristocracy
Oligarchy
MANY
Polity
Democracy
(mixed constitution)
(when poor take over from the
ruling group)
MIXED CONSTITUTIONS

Polybius: A mix of the types of government
 Rule

of One; Rule of a Few; Rule of the Many
England



The Monarchy
Parliament
 House of Lords
 House of Commons
The Colonies


The Monarchy
Elected Representatives
WHAT IS A CONSTITUTION?

A plan that sets forth the structure and powers
of government
 The
power of each instrument of government
 How the constitution can be changed

Most constitutions are written out
 Only
3 current democracies DO NOT have a single written
out format of their government


England, Israel and New Zealand
Limited Government
 Restraints
on governmental powers
HIGHER LAW

The Founding Fathers saw the Constitution as
“Higher Law”
1. It sets forth the basic rights of citizens
 2. It establishes the responsibility of the government to
protect those rights
 3. It establishes limitations on how those in
government may use their power with regard to citizens’
rights and responsibilities, the distribution of resources,
and the control or management of conflict
 4. It can be changed only with the consent of the
citizens and according to established and well-known
procedures

LESSON REVIEW
Get in your STUDY GROUPS
 Discuss and answer the “Reviewing and Using
the Lesson” questions on page 10
 Each group must be ready to present the
answer to a specific question, citing the book,
to the class

STUDY GROUPS
 Group
1ST PERIOD
One: Tanner, Ari, Mikel, Keziah
 Group Two: Jacob, Patricia, Joseph, Ryan
 Group Three: Brittney, Nadia, Nick, Rene
 Group Four: Danielle, Drew, Jordan, Michael
 Group Five: Kyle, Montoya, Katrina, Emma
 Group Six: Garrett, Quinn, Scott, Nathan
STUDY GROUPS:
 Group
4TH PERIOD
One: Mariah, Meghan, Catherine
 Group Two: Bridgett, Ashley, Rosamaria
 Group Three: Joel, Adam, David
 Group Four: Kori, Brett, Jeffrey
 Group Five: Alex, Matt, Taylor, Mercedes
 Group Six: Amanda, Alexis, Kristi
LESSON ONE: REVIEW







Identify at least three characteristics of the British colonies
What important lessons did the founding generation learn from
political theory and political history?
What is the difference between “LIMITED” and “UNLIMITED”
government? Do you think the difference is important? Why or
Why Not?
What is a “CONSTITUTION?”
What is a mixed constitution? Explain the advantages and
disadvantages of this type of government?
Why is a constitution considered a higher law, and what are the
major characteristics of a higher law?
According to Aristotle, what are the differences between right
and corrupt forms of government?

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