Homework Three Model Answers
1. Identify two of the biggest weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.
- Two of the biggest weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation were 1) The lack of the office of the President, and 2) The lack of Congress' ability to make the states obey the nation's new laws. It was very weak because it did not have any one person who would enforce the law, it also did not provide any means to make the states obey the laws that Congress created. The Office of the President is very important in enforcing the laws that Congress forms. (Alexa)
2. Other than George Washington, who do you think was the most influential Founding Father?
- Alexander Hamilton; he gave us political parties, loose constructionism of the Constitution, some of the federalist papers, a national bank, and even George Washington's farewell address. (Paul) (Instructor's note: the "loose constructionism" is something the Constitution can do without!)
3. The Constitutional Convention: describe the "what, when, where, and how" about it.
- In 1787, between May and September, a Constitutional Convention resulted due to the obvious failure of the former Articles of Confederation. America’s constitution was secretly developed during this time span, in Philadelphia, through the brilliant minds of many God fearing men. (Kyle)
4. Give an example of George Washington's leadership. Explain.
- The best example of George Washington's leadership was when he gave up his position of power for the benefit of others-this marked him as a true leader. A leader has two important characteristics: first, he knows where he is going; second, he is able to persuade other people to go with him. James F. Clarke said, "The difference between a politician and a statesman is: A politician thinks of the next election, and a statesman thinks of the next generation." George Washington was a statesman. He cared more for the growth of America than he did about himself. A true leader is more concerned about the affairs of those he is leading than he is about his own personal gain or rewards. He thought of others more highly than himself. (Gabrielle)
- The whiskey rebellion is a good example of George Washington’s leadership because even when the governor of Pennsylvania refused to put down the rebellion, Washington put his own life on the line to suppress it. I think that one of the reasons he was such a good leader was that he led by example. (Jon)
5. "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." From where is that quote taken, and what does it mean to you?
- This quote is from George Washington’s Farewell Address in 1796. I understand it to mean that a society, particular its governance, will be much better off if rooted in morality and religion. I say in particular its governance because Washington said “political prosperity” which probably refers to the political and governmental aspects of the society. If the government and political climate are based on greed and power, they will not help form a good society. If the government and political climate are based on moral and religious principles, they will contribute to a good society (or preserve it). (Addison)
6. Describe two important aspects of the Northwest Ordinance.
- I think that the two best aspects of the Northwest Ordinance are the prohibition of slavery in the north – which would eventually cause the Civil War – and the ability to create new states solely by population. (Aran)
- One important aspect of The Northwest Ordinance was that it established a three stage process based on population for new states to be created and join the Confederation of colonies. It also specified what type of government the new territories and states must have. Secondly, it put foreign countries, particularly England and France, on notice that the United States owned this territory and would be settling it, giving the United States its own power and control. (Dylan)
7. President John Adams was only a one-term president. Why?
- John Adams was president for only one term because he was:
- a) hopeless when it came to foreign policy (e.g. the “XYZ affair”),
- b) an argumentative person (I guess that comes from being a lawyer),
- c) he tried to make it illegal to criticize him (Alien and Sedition act). (Johnny)
- John Adams only served one term because of foreign policy humiliations [e.g., the "XYZ Affair"], as well as his unpopularity and the fact that he was easily offended. (Elise)
8. Write about any issue related to this week's lecture.
- Debate: Should deliberations to change the government proceed in secrecy, without public scrutiny? I think so. Yet with cameras and TV’s and tape recorders, such a feat would be virtually impossible. I think it would be easier for all of the leaders to make good decisions not under pressure of the press, and overly critical citizens. (Daniel)
H1. Would you have been an Anti-Federalist with respect to the Constitution? Discuss.
- I would have strongly supported the Constitution. Its unique balance of individual rights, states rights, and federal rights along with the ability to amend it make it one of the best governments of all time. (Anthony)
H2. Do you think States have the power of "nullification" with respect to laws passed by Congress? Discuss in the context of the Alien & Sedition Acts.
- Kentucky and Virginia did not have the right to nullify a law because of the sixth Article which says “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby”. It is for the courts to strike down an unconstitutional law. If a state is dissatisfied by the state of affairs it can secede. (Anthony)
H3. James Madison's Federalist No. 10, as discussed in the lecture: can you explain and appreciate it?
- Madison's Federalist Paper No. 10 argues against factions, groups of citizens, or what we today would call special interest groups. (James W.) (Instructor's addition: Madison further argued for ratification of the Constitution because a large confederation of many people can better defend against tyranny-by-faction than an isolated state can.)
H4. What would you have done differently if you served as an early President of the United States? Explain.
- If I had been an early President of the United States, my priority would have been to improve our military and naval forces. My reasons are:
- a) To provide protection from pirates (America did not have enough money to bribe or fight the pirates),
- b) To maintain the land that was rightfully theirs (Britain still had forts in the U.S.) (Johnny)
H5. Write about any issue related to this week's lecture.
- Debate: Should the President be required to turn documents over to Congress? Not at all! They are two entirely different powers and one does not answer to the other. The action of George Washington with regard to “Jay’s Treaty” was perfectly acceptable. This was one of those many “checks and balances” that exist in our government and endures to this day. (James G.)