Fundamentals of Constitutional History


Assume you are a visiting professor teaching about American democracy in a highly prestigious university in Innsbruck, Austria. In preparation for your first class, you must prepare notes. In writing your notes, consider that the individuals you are speaking to are slightly familiar with political American culture.

Prepare 1–2 pages of notes addressing each of the following criteria:

Refer to Table 1-1 of The American Democracy, and in 100 to 150 words, identify and explain America’s 3 core political ideals and the 3 rules of American politics.
In 50 to 100 words, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and why the U.S. Constitution replaced it.
In 100 to 150 words, explain what powers were granted to the federal government—enumerated powers and implied powers—in the U.S. Constitution, what powers were specifically denied to the federal government, and what powers were reserved to the states and the people.
In 150 to 250 words, explain the 3 primary eras of federalism in United States history; for example, 1789–1865, an indestructible union; 1865–1937, dual federalism and laissez-faire capitalism; and 1937—present, federalism today. In explaining the last era, specifically address the following issues:
Did President Franklin Roosevelt’s proposed court-stacking plan and the court’s subsequent decisions, which “removed the constitutional barrier to increased federal authority”, fundamentally alter the state and federal governmental relationship?
Explain how President Ronald Reagan, in the 1980s, and a Republican Congress, in the mid-1990s, attempted to address this via the principle of devolution?

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