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Us Government Essay

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Government Test #1

1. PS 101 -- First Exam Study Guide -- 15% of your final grade -- 3 substantial paragraphs each

How is power shared between the state and federal governments and what argument did Hamilton and Madison make for a federal system? Explain enumerated powers and implied powers. What does the 10th Amendment say and with what two clauses of the Constitution does the 10th Amendment potentially conflict?

There is no fixed principle on how power is to be shared among 3 branches or between states and federal government. Power shifts over time in response to what people perceive as necessary. It depends on the economy, national security situation, and other factors. Hamilton & Madison argue in the Federalist Papers that federalism is part of a system of checks and balances; people can shift their loyalties back and forth between state and national governments in order to keep each level under control. If rights are ignored or abused by one level, people can use the other to right what had been wronged (civil rights). Madison also argued that the US was ideal for power sharing and limited government, because the more factions, the more they will check each other, so no one faction or group can seize control of the government.

Enumerated powers are listed in the Constitution. Their are seventeen, including the Supremacy Clause. The writers of the Constitution recognized that national authority would at times conflict with laws of the states. In such cases, national law was intended to prevail. This power was granted in Article VI of the Constitution in the supremacy clause. It states that the laws of the US shall be the supreme of law of the land. The writers also recognized that government had to be capable of adjusting to change in order to be effective. Thus, the necessary and proper clause or, the elastic clause, came about. It gives national government implied powers (powers not listed in the constitution). Powers that Congress can use to make laws that are necessary to cary out the enumerated powers.

Tenth Amendment established reserved powers which says powers not delegated to the national government are reserved for the states. It was added to the Bill of Rights to protect states’ rights and check the federal government’s elastic clause. But it has potential to conflict with the necessary and proper clause and the supremacy clause.

3. How was the right of free speech limited in the early history of the U.S.? How did the Cold War affect the exercise of free speech in the U.S.?

The first attempt by the US government to restrict free expression was the Sedition Act of 1798, which made it a crime to print harshly critical newspaper stories about the president or other national officials. Thomas Jefferson called it an ‘alarming infraction’ of the constitution, and pardoned everyone convicted under it when he became president. The Sedition Act never went to the Supreme Court, which left unanswered the question whether Congress had the power to regulate free expression and how far its power can go.

During the Civil War the government greatly reduced free expression. They passed legislation barring the Court fr...

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