• What is the purpose of government? • What was the founders’ view of the purpose of government and the role of the citizen in the American Republic? • Are these views still relevant at the close of the millennium? • How does the constitution underpin U.S. government? • Why was the concept of “checks and balances” a novel idea in the 18th century versus today? • How does Madison’s concept of checks and balances challenge popular understanding of Montesquieu’s theory of separation of powers? • Define the following concepts: democratic theory, republicanism, pluralist theory, majoritarianism, and the elitist theory. • Why did the Anti-Federalists fear the new governmental system? • Does this new federal system strengthen or weaken the concept of separation of powers? Why or why not? • What are the powers of state and local governments in an era of “new federalism” and devolution? • What influence should the federal government have over state and local issues such as education, affirmative action, abortion, and the environment?
For this unit, view and take notes from the Constitutional Beginning through the American Federalism videos.