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Constitution: Basic Facts
- function: describes individual liberties (civil liberties) + right
- written & signed in 1787
- what is special? oldest written & still existing constitution; US established with constitution (history existed before)
- survived because it's vague + flexible + short
Constitution: Examples of constitutional questions
1. religion 2. internet privacy 3. national security vs. civil liberties 4. same sex-marriage 5. size of government 6. election of president
Constitution: Different Voices
George Washington: "not gonna last"
James Madison (one of writers): "not lose sight of changes to make it last"
Constitution: Historical Context & famous settlements
Colonies in New World (16th, 17th, 18th)
- Famous British settlements: 1607 Jamestown / Virginia -> reason of commerce
1620 Plymouth / Massachussets -> religious reasons
Brit. Colonies = Some of the freest people in 17th, moving towards a more representative form of gov.
13 colonies established between 1607-1733
Political Freedom in Colonies
English Civil War: 1640 - 1660 -> Charles I executed (König vs. Parlament), zeitweiligie Abschaffung der Monarchie
Glorious Revolution 1688: constitutional monarchy established (no absolute monarchs, parliament gained power)
English Bill Of Rights: 1689
- Colonists have written compact forms of self governments (rights) - Mayflower (Puritans), Virginia Declaration of Rights etc.
Decleration of Independence: July 4, 1776 = indpendent country based on John Locke's ideas: "life, liberty, pursuit of happiness" (people are born with natural rights)
- war, reaction to document, Brit vs US, violent break
- government protects rights, but does not give rights:
-> if it fails people have duty to rise up
-> people give gov. permission to exist = consent of the governed
Content of Declaration of Independence
- 1st paragrapgh: why they break away from UK
- balance of power is going to be shifted
- God references don't refer to Christians God, they believe in scientific principles
- pursuit of happiness = being able to use your potential
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