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Constitution Six

1. What do each have in common: political parties, abortion rights, and how members of the electoral college vote? There is nothing said in the Constitution related to these developments
2. Provide the four general ways the Constitution changes informally. Through judicial interpretation, political practice, and as a result of changes in technology and changes in the demands on policymakers.
3 a. How is the Constitution changed through judicial interpretation. The SC has the power of judicial review, which gives courts the right to decide whether the actions of the legislative and executive branches of state and national gov. are in accord with the Constitution.
3 b. How do each illustrate judicial interpretation: segregation and abortion? 1869, the SC decided that the Const. allowed racial discrimination despite the 14th Amendment. 58 yrs later, it concluded that it violated the Const. 1973, SC decided the Const. protected a woman's right to an abortion during the first 2 trimesters.
4. How do political parties illustrate changing political practice? Writers of the Const. disliked the idea of parties, but by 1800, the party system started playing a key role in policy making.
5. How do the mass media and atomic weapons illustrate how technology has changed the Constitution? Mass media questions governmental policies, supports candidates, and helps shape citizens' opinions. It can reach huge audiences. Atomic weapons gives the president's role as commander and chief added significance.
6 a. What did the writers of the Constitution believe about democracy? They despised democracy, and did not want to permit the majority's preference to become policy. They believed the gov. would be a gov. of the rich, well-born, and able.
6 b. What kind of government did they create? a republic
6 c. What has been a central theme of American history? The gradual democratization of the Constitution
6 d. Provide four specific examples of the above (changes by formal amendment) - not number of amendment, change that occurred prohibiting of discrimination (race) in determining voter eligibility - women's right to vote - D.C.'s right to vote in pres. elections - lowering the voter eligibility age to 18.
7. Provide three ways technology has contributed to the growth of democracy. Officeholders communicate directly through TV, radio, and mail - Air travel allows for members of Congress to go from DC to their districts - public opinion polls, TV, email, and internet allow officials to see citizens' opinions
8. Briefly explain the history of the 26th Amendment (voting age). Young citizens often asserted "If we're old enough to fight, we're old enough to vote" (Vietnam). Congress agreed, but SC thought they had overstepped, so Randolph proposed an amendment that passed (400-9), and in 100 days, 3/4 states ratified.
9 a. define gridlock. When the president, Congress, and the courts all pull in different directions on policy, and there is no policy at all.
9 b. How does the US Constitution promote gridlock? It creates a system of policymaking where it is difficult for the gov. to act.
9 c. What two good things does the system of separation of powers and checks and balances promote? The SoP and checks and balances promote the politics of bargaining, compromise, and playing one institution against another.
Created by: Matti



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