Powers of the Federal Government. Many Americans today belie…

Powers of the Federal Government. Many Americans today belie…

DQ1 Powers of the Federal Government. Many Americans today believe the federal government has acquired too much power, size, and influence in the nation’s domestic affairs. Throughout U.S. history, a tension has existed regarding what powers the federal government can assume and what powers should be left to the states. Review the text of the Constitution for evidence about the relationship the document establishes between national and state governments. Then review the history of the United States through the Civil War for evidence of how that relationship worked in progress, and changed over time.
 
What major controversies during this time period raised questions about the proper relationship between the state and federal governments? How did proponents and opponents of state sovereignty defend their respective positions? How did the question of slavery intermix with the question of states’ rights?
 
When responding to the above questions, draw from three of the following documents:
 
South Carolina exposition and protest
 
President Jackson’s proclamation regarding nullification, December 10, 1832
 
The Kentucky resolution – Alien and sedition acts
 
Abraham Lincoln: Inaugural address, March 4, 1861
 
Declaration of the immediate causes which induce and justify the secession of South Carolina from thefederal union
 
DQ2 A Symbolic Figurehead. Americans tend to pay more attention to the president than to any other government official, blaming him when things go wrong, even in areas over which the president has little control, and crediting him with successes which stem from the legislature instead of the executive. In many ways, the president serves as a symbolic figurehead of both the government and the nation, with the consequence that the executive often overshadows the other branches of government. Review the powers and responsibilities which the Constitution grants to the president. Then explain how presidents from, George Washington through Abraham Lincoln, have wielded and expanded those powers.
 
How did the role of the president change from 1789 to 1865? Which presidents were most responsible for those changes? How did the judiciary and the legislature encourage or seek to curtail the expansion of executive power?
 
Early Constitutional Controversies. In 1788, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, who had both played active roles at the Constitutional Convention, worked together to write The Federalist Papers, a series of articles originally published in New York newspapers to convince readers to back the ratification of the Constitution. Constitutional scholars often refer to these papers to gain an appreciation of the “original intention” of the Framers, how those men expected the federal government to operate under the Constitution, and the powers they sought to grant or deny the federal government. By the early 1790s, however, Hamilton and Madison had divided over basic constitutional questions, such as whether or not the federal government could charter a national bank. The American electorate, which had ratified the Constitution, had split on the issue as well, dividing into rival Federalist and Republican parties.
 
For this assignment, explore one significant constitutional controversy, from the first two decades of the United States under the Constitution (1789 to 1821). Topics to consider include:
 
The incorporation of the Bank of the United States
 
Debt assumption
 
The Jay Treaty
 
The Alien and Sedition Acts
 
The Election of 1800
 
John Marshall’s use of judicial review
 
The Louisiana Purchase
 
The trial of Aaron Burr
 
Describe opposing views of the topic under consideration, and explain how each side used the Constitution to support its position. Assess the validity of the two sides according to your own interpretation of the Constitution as well as according to how the Constitution and constitutional principles were understood at the time the controversy occurred.
 
The paper should draw from at least one primary source and two scholarly, secondary sources for a total of three sources (not including the Constitution itself). For assistance on the use of primary and secondary sources, please see sections 8.1 and 8.2 of the Ashford Writing Center. The secondary sources should be accessed through any of the academic databases available through the Ashford University library.
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