GOVT 2301
Week Three
Readings and Notes




Readings (read the Introduction for each chapter below)

The Founders Constitution-Chapter One: Popular Basis of Political Authority
The Founders Constitution-Chapter Two:- Right of Revolution
The Founders Constitution-Chapter Three:- Republican Government

The above readings cover three essential topics for American government. The titles give them away. Read each and get comfortable with the arguments they make. Think about the following questions: To what degree ought the people be the basis for political authority? When is revolution justified? When might it not be justified? What is a republic? What are the arguments for them and how are they maintained?

Internet students: I decided to stick to a small number of broad questions about each of the chapters. Answer each of the following questions in at least 250 words (longer answers are both allowed and encouraged)

1. Read the introduction of Popular Basis of Political Authority and outline the advantages and disadvantages of resting political on the general population. Which founders trusted the people and which did not?

2. Read the introduction to Right of Revolution and any one of the original documents in Chapter 3. Comment on when revolution might be justified and when it might not be.

3. Read the Introduction to Republican Government and describe what a republic is, how it is organized and how they are best maintained.

Study Questions
- Let these guide you as you read the chapters

Popular Basis of Political Authority
- If we are in fact free and equal, what gives one person a right to rule over another?
- Why is consent an appropriate justification for political authority?
- It is claimed that Americans put Locke's theory into practice. How?
- What relative opinions did Adams, Madison, Hamilton and Jefferson have about the ability of the people to in fact provide a solid basis for society?

Right of Revolution
- What principle does the right of rebellion rest on?
- What justifies rebellion? What does not justify rebellion?
- How did the colonists justify their decision to rebel?

Republican Government
- What is a republic? How can we define it?
- Why are republics desirable? How are they better than other forms of government?
- What is "the problem of balance?"
- Why might large republics be favorable to small ones?
- What problems might commerce pose for a republic?