American History essay
1) Why were the founding fathers suspicious of strong central government?
The most concern that the founding fathers feared was the end of individual freedom. In a strong central government, powers would not be separated. A strong elite group would be formed that would use the government positions for their self-centered interests and motives. The founding fathers were particularly suspicious of the strong central government and as such they consistently expressed their views and insisted that they would be divisive and promote the interests of their members at the expense of the wider community (Wechsler, 524).
What were their assumptions about the nature of the federal government, state government, and the freedom of individual citizens? The founding fathers were worried that a strong and well organized central government would use its sovereign powers to intimidate and harass the individual states or their political rivals or anybody who differed with them (Wechsler, 524).
What kind of power did the federal government originally have? The federal government primarily had very little power under the Articles of the Confederation.
What kind of power did the states originally have? Originally, the states had all the power. As a matter of fact, the power was enough for them to efficiently disregard the central government and look after their interests.
Which was more powerful, and in what ways? Give Specific example. The central government was more powerful than the state powers since they were allowed to collect levies, control interstate trade, create an army and arbitrate legal disputes among states.
2) Despite all the efforts of the founding fathers, and those who came after, the Union broke apart in 1860-61. How do you explain this?
Among other several issues, the most burning that led to the fall of the union was the future of slavery. The northern and western states fought to dominate the union while the south fought to come up with southern liberation as a fresh union of states under its composition (Wechsler, 524).
3) In what ways did Abraham Lincoln violate the rights of states? In what way was this break with the past? What was his justification for doing this?
Lincoln violated the rights of states in several ways. For instance, he ordered the military blockade of the southern ports. This was an act of war that would also have an impact on the society at large. However, Lincoln having survived the civil war and his use of war measures called for support from a majority of the Americans. He justified this by successfully conducting a war, having in mind the actions that go with it, and moreover without the support of a huge segment of the American population (Wechsler, 524).
4) What is Progressivism?
Progressivism is a term use to some reactions to the economic and social issues and prompt industrialization introduced to America.
In what way is this break with traditional American nations about weak central government? How can you account for this change?
During the progressivism reform era, scholars and social activists sought to address the political, cultural and economic issues that had resulted from the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism. The progressives sought these changes marking the termination of the old order and called for the establishment of a new order suitable for the modern industrial change.
What for example was the difference between Jackson’s destruction of the central bank, and Woodrow Wilson’s creation of the Federal Reserve Board?
Jackson believed that the then banking system had been managed by a board of directors who had links to industrialization and as such favored the metropolitan and industrial northern states. Since he was the then pillar of the frontiersman, he begrudged the bank’s failure to financial support for development into the western states. On the other hand, Woodrow supported the creation of a Federal Reserve board that would see the creation of a new banking system. Unlike Jackson, who supported the closure of the 2nd bank in America, Wilson had the idea of creating a Federal Reserve System where all national banks and other banks would join. This way he would stabilize the country’s currency and financial systems (Sylla, Legler and Wallis, 391-403).
Was the creation of an income tax just? Who was this supposed to help, and who did it hurt? How does this fit with traditional notions of weak government?
Creation of an income tax was unjust since taxation to fund efforts to safeguard private belongings infringes a person’s right to choose how to allocate his or her property. Fund collected from income tax were initially meant to help the whole society at large but eventually only the wealthy benefited from the tax incentives as support from the government. As a result, the peasant farmers and low-income earners were adversely affected by the tax reform as they contributed a huge percentage of the tax revenues but did not benefit from them. This fitted well with the notions of the weak government regime that saw a huge difference between the low-income earners and high-income earners and as such increasing rates of the poverty level (Fisher).
5) Trace “Progressive” federal legislation from the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt (1900-1908) through that of Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945). Why were Franklin Roosevelt’s programs so popular? What did they accomplish?
FDR’s programs were so popular since they managed to save the country from economic, social and political disaster. His programs lay the basis for the stability and success of the American nation. Franklin’s programs achieved a lot and went a long way in raising the America that we have today. The programs ensured that the benefits of capitalism were divided equally among the large and divergent populace (Wechsler, 524).
6) What kind of power does the federal government have today?
The federal government’s powers are affirmed by the Constitution in the Congress, the head of state, and the federal courts. Further, the powers are defined by Congress bills including the establishment of executive branches and courts inferior to the Supreme Court. For instance, the federal government has the authority to collect taxes, duties and excises, to clear the debts and more so provides for the defense general welfare of the United States (Wechsler,524).
What were the most important reasons for the increase of federal interference in the states from the 1860’s through the 1960’s? Give Specific examples.
The most important reasons for the increase of the federal interferences range back from slavery, the civil war bill of reconstruction fit in the 1860s and racial discrimination in the aftermath of the war. Moreover, the flood of lower Mississippi in the late ‘20s that prompted to the building of the dams was also one of the reasons (Wechsler, 524).
What powers have been left to the states today? Is this appropriate?
State powers are divided into three categories: The powers reserved for the states as stated in the tenth amendment in the bill of rights are “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states and are reserved to the states respectively or to the people.” The overlapping powers are the powers accorded to both state governments and federal governments which include the power to charge taxes and approve operations among many more. These powers are appropriate since they lay a clear guideline between the powers of the state governments and those of the federal government and as such there is no interference between the two governments (Wechsler, 524).
7) What are different views about government interference in America today? How can one account for these differences?
Currently, most Americans believe that the federal government interferes with the manner in which the state governments run their duties. Governors and state generals have started challenging the federal government’s overstepping the states governments constitutionally prescribed roles. For instance in 2010, several state governments filed a case suit against the national government saying that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act surpassed the powers of the Congress. Moreover, the central government can give itself more authority and engage Supreme Court justices to endorse such powers without the contribution of the states thus the federal government has grown more powerful and dominant over the state governments. The two governments should have a clear guideline on their respective roles that were designed and intended for the purpose of maintaining state and national sovereignty (Wechsler, 524)
Sylla, Richard, John B. Legler, and John J. Wallis. “Banks and state public finance in the new Republic: The United States, 1790–1860.” The Journal of Economic History 47.02 (1987): 391-403. Print
Fisher, Glenn W. The worst tax?: A history of the property tax in America. University Press of Kansas, 1996. Print.
Wechsler, Herbert. “Political Safeguards of Federalism: The Role of the States in the Composition and Selection of the National Government.” The Colum. L. Rev. 54 (1954): 543. Print.
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