Part I: The Federalist Papers

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1 Wheaton High School AP United States Government and Politics Summer Assignment The AP U.S. Government & Politics Summer Assignment has been designed to give students: 1. A head start on the required course content, 2. A chance to enrich their background knowledge of course concepts, and 3. A preview of assignments they will be expected to do throughout the course. The student s task will be to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts covered in their summer assignment prior to the opening of school. The summer assignment will be graded and counted as a significant part of each student s first marking period grade. Students should complete all parts of this assignment by Friday, September 8, Students should sign up for the AP Government Summer Assignment group on Google Classroom and turn it in on Classroom, the code is z8863c. Part I: The Federalist Papers Directions: Read the entire content of this assignment carefully, before you begin. Then answer the questions after each Federalist Paper cited. If you feel you need more than just the quote given to answer the questions, the entire federalist papers can be found at: Introduction: A nation without a national government is, in my view, an awful spectacle. -Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, No. 85 After the Revolutionary War, many Americans realized that the government established by the Articles of Confederation was not working. America needed a new form of government. It had to be strong enough to maintain national unity over a large geographic area, but not so strong as to become tyrannical. In the absence of any model in history to fit America s unique situation, delegates met in Philadelphia in 1787 to create their own solutions to the problems they were facing. Their creation was the United States Constitution. Before the Constitution could become the supreme law of the land, it had to be ratified or approved by at least nine of the thirteen states. When the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787, they knew ratification would not be easy. Many people were bitterly opposed to the proposed new system of government. A public debate soon erupted in each of the states over whether the new Constitution should be accepted. More important, it was a crucial debate on the future of the United States. The Federalist Papers: Nowhere was the furor over the proposed Constitution more intense than in the state of New York. Within days after it was signed, the Constitution became the subject of widespread criticism in the New York newspapers. Many commentators charged that the Constitution diminished the rights Americans had won in the Revolution. Fearful that the cause for the Constitution might be lost in his home state, Alexander Hamilton devised a plan to write a series of letters or essays rebutting the critics. It is not surprising that Hamilton, a brilliant lawyer, came Page 1 of 5

2 forward at this moment to defend the new Constitution. The other New York delegates had angrily left the Convention convinced that the rights of the people were abandoned. Hamilton himself was very much in favor of strengthening the central government. Hamilton s Constitution would have called for a president elected for life with the power to appoint state governors. Hamilton soon backed away from these ideas, and decided that the Constitution, as written, was the best one possible. Hamilton published his first essay in the New York Independent Journal on October 27, He signed the articles with the Roman name Publius. (The use of pseudonyms by writers on public affairs was a common practice.) Hamilton soon recruited two others, James Madison and John Jay, to contribute essays to the series. They also used the pseudonym Publius. James Madison, sometimes called the Father of the Constitution, had played a major role during the Philadelphia Convention. As a delegate from Virginia, he participated actively in the debates. He also kept detailed notes of the proceedings and drafted much of the Constitution. Unlike Hamilton and Madison, John Jay of New York had not been a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. A judge and diplomat, he was serving a secretary of foreign affairs in the national government. Between October 1787 and August 1788, Publius wrote 85 essays in several New York newspapers. Hamilton wrote over 60 percent of these essays and helped with the writing of others. Madison probably wrote about a third of them with Jay composing the rest. The essays had an immediate impact on the ratification debate in New York and in the other states. The demand for reprints was so great that one New York newspaper publisher printed essays together in two volumes entitled, The Federalist, A Collection of Essays, written in favor of the New Constitution, By a Citizen of New York. By this time the identity of Publius, never a well-kept secret, was pretty well known. The Federalist, also called The Federalist Papers, has served two very different purposes in American history. The 85 essays succeeded by helping to persuade doubtful New Yorkers to ratify the Constitution. Today, The Federalist Papers helps us to more clearly understand what the writers of the Constitution had in mind when they drafted that amazing document 200 years ago. What follow are quotations from several essays in The Federalist Papers. After each are questions. Use the Internet to view the full copy of each of the Federalist Papers. There are many sites to choose from: Federalist Paper 10 James Madison Liberty is to faction, what air is to fire, an ailment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be a less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency. Questions: 1. What is a faction and why is it a problem in government? 2. What are the two methods for curing the mischiefs of factions? 3. According to Madison, what are the causes of factions and why are they impossible to remove? 4. Is Madison against majority rule? Why or why not? 5. What is a republic and why is it better for controlling the effects factions than a pure democracy? Page 2 of 5

3 6. How does Madison's argument about the problems created by factions relate to political problems in the US today? Do we have factions active in our political system today? How do they affect our government? Explain your answer in about 100 words or 6 to 10 sentences. Part II: The Constitution Available at: Directions: Read the U.S. Constitution and complete the following questions directly on this handout. We will discuss this the first day of class and you will be responsible for this information on the first test. Part One: The Structure of the Constitution 1. Read each article of the Constitution. Summarize the general purpose or subject of each article in one sentence in the chart below. Article I Article II Article III Article IV Article V Article VI Article VII 2. What eligibility requirements does the Constitution establish for members of the House? 3. What eligibility requirements does the Constitution establish for members of the Senate? 4. What eligibility requirements does the Constitution establish for the President? 5. The powers of the Constitution that are specifically granted to the branches of government or to office holders are called express powers. Page 3 of 5

4 a. Identify two express powers of the President. b. What are the express powers of the Vice President? c. Identify two express powers of Congress. 6. According to the principle of checks and balances, each branch of government must have control over the other branches. Look at the first three articles of the Constitution and identify on of each type of check and balance. Indicate where each power is listed in the Constitution. a. A power that the executive branch has over the legislative branch: b. A power that the executive branch has over the judicial branch: c. A power that the legislative branch holds over the executive branch? d. A power that the legislative branch has over the judicial branch: e. A power that the judicial branch has over the executive branch: f. A power that the judicial branch has over the legislative branch: 7. According to Article I of the Constitution, who has the power to declare war? 8. What power does the Constitution give the President in the area of war? Part Two: Majority and Supermajority The Constitution requires a simple majority for some actions and a supermajority for others. A simple majority means more than half, while supermajority requirements can involve 2/3 majority or a 3/4 majority. Most elections in the United States require a plurality, or the most votes, but not necessarily a majority 9. Veto Power a. What bodies have the power to override a presidential veto? b. What margin is required to override a presidential veto? c. Where in the Constitution is the veto power described? (Article and Section) 10. Ratification a. What body has the power to ratify treaties? b. What margin is required to ratify treaties? c. Where in the Constitution is the ratification power described? (Article and Section) 11. Impeachment Power a. What body has the power to impeach the president? b. Where in the Constitution is the impeachment power described? (Article and Section) 12. Conviction a. What body has the power to convict the president of charges brought against him in the impeachment process and thereby remove him from the presidency? b. What margin is required to convict and remove a president? c. Where in the Constitution is the impeachment power described? (Article and Section) 13. Nomination Process a. What body has the power to accept or reject a president s nominations to the Supreme Court? 14. Elections a. If no candidate for the presidency wins a simple majority of the total electoral votes, what body has the power to choose the president? Page 4 of 5

5 b. What margin is required to choose the president? 15. The See Article VI, Explain the supremacy clause in your own words. 16. What are two ways that amendments to the Constitution can be proposed? 17. What are two ways that amendments to the Constitution can be ratified? Part Three: The Amendments to the Constitution Some parts of the Constitution require a simple majority, others a supermajority, while still others protect citizens from the will of the majority. The first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, protect citizens from the will of the majority. In other words, no majority vote could take these rights away. Read each amendment to the Constitution and answer the questions below. 18. For each amendment in the Bill of Rights (1 st 10 th ), identify the right(s) protected. 19. Which amendment(s) to the Constitution protect the rights of women? 20. Which amendment(s) to the Constitution protect the rights of minorities? 21. How were U.S. Senators chosen prior to the 17 th Amendment? Enjoy your summer, we look forward to a great year of AP United States Government. If you have any questions, please contact: Mr. Zolkiewicz, Or Mr. Trumbull, Page 5 of 5

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