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Study Guide Questions - Politics Politics usually describes the processes by which people and institutions exercise and resist power. Political processes are used to formulate policies, influence individuals and institutions, and organize societies. Ancient democracy did not presuppose equality of all individuals; the majority of the populace, notably slaves and women, had no political rights. Athens, the greatest of the city democracies, limited the franchise to native-born citizens. Modern American democracy gives equal rights to different groups. Pluralism, theory that reality is composed of many parts and that no single explanation or view of reality can account for all aspects of life.
Ideology is meaningful belief system: a set of beliefs, values, and opinions that shapes the way an individual or a group such as a social class thinks, acts, and understands the world. Declaration of Independence is a written statement issued and adopted by the Continental Congress in 1776 proclaiming that the 13 North American colonies henceforward would govern themselves rather than be ruled by Great Britain. Weaknesses of Articles of Confederation: 1 / its inability to regulate trade and levy taxes, 2 / the new nation was unable to defend its borders from British and Spanish encroachment because it could not pay for an army when the states would not contribute the necessary funds. Edmund Randolphs Virginia Plan and William Patterson's New Jersey Plan. Randolph proposed that members of both houses of Congress be apportioned (divided) according to the population of each state.
Because the population in three states alone Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts made up nearly half the country, Randolphs plan would have given these populous states control of the nation. Patterson's New Jersey Plan favored small states, giving all states equal representation in a one-chamber Congress regardless of population. Under the New Jersey Plan, the more numerous small states could unify against the larger ones. Not until mid-July did the delegates adopt a compromise originally put forth by Roger Sherman of Connecticut: Let the states have it both ways. Give the states an equal voice in the upper house, the Senate, and representation apportioned by population in the lower house, the House of Representatives. This bargain became known as the Great Compromise.
Federal political systems are relatively uncommon around the world. Instead, most countries are unitary systems, with laws giving virtually all authority to the central government. The central government may delegate duties to cities or other administrative units, but it retains final authority and can retract any tasks it has delegated. The central government in a unitary system is much more powerful than the central government in a federal system. A confederation is similar to a federal system but gives less power to the central government. Unlike federal systems, confederations usually give each member nation absolute control over its citizens and territory.
The framers of the U. S. Constitution sought a fundamental change from these earlier notions in two important ways. First, they put the Constitution above legislative power indeed, above all governmental powers. The Constitution, particularly the Supremacy Clause of Article VI, establishes the rule of law, the idea that the government itself, including the president and Congress, must abide by the law. Judicial Review, the power of courts to review statutes and governmental actions to determine whether they conform to rules and principles laid down in Constitution/ The Constitution gives Congress the authority to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper, an implied source of power sometimes called the Elastic Clause.
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