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American Political Controversies Essay

2029 words - 9 pages

* Controversy- etymology (word origin)
From Latin: “against” (contra) and “versus” (verse)
Contra = against or in comparison with
Implies difference of opinion or contrast
Verse = line of writing
Implies opinions expressed in some type of public arena
Controversy- definition
A prolonged public dispute or debate. Disputation concerning a matter of opinion.
“Prolonged” - matters are unsettled over time, lasting
“Public” – not private, concerning people as a whole
“Dispute / debate” – challenge, taking exception to
“Opinion” – personal belief or judgment
Synonyms of controversy- disagreement, difference
ALSO- contention, strife, argument, dissonance, lack of harmony, heated ...view middle of the document...

. more of an impact than a candidate.” –David Winston, GOP redistricting consultant in 1990
redistricting- the process of redrawing legislative districts
if you live in the united states, you live in a district. All representatives to the US are house of reps, state legislatures, and many local offices are elected from districts
goal of redistricting- to eliminate competition, to create “safe” districts for a political party.
“safe” district/seat- a seat that at election is sure to be held by the same party as held before.
“Marginal” district/seat- a seat held with a small majority in a legislative election.

1776- the continental congress adopts the d\Declaration of Independence
13 American colonies (then at war with Great Britain) are independent states
July 4: the wording of the Declaration is approved by congress
1781- the Articles of Confederation established (written in 1777)
The US is a confederation of 13 states: individual states maintain considerable autonomy
Congress has limited powers
Declare wars, establish army and navy, sign treaties, oversee Indian affairs
Regulate weights and measures, run post office
BUT no mandatory power to raise taxes
No Executive or Judiciary powers vested in congress- weak and leaderless government
1787- 55 delegates meet in Philadelphia to produce new constitutional arrangements (originally, to amend the Articles of Confederation): representatives from 12 states attend (except for Rhode Island)
55 are to be known as the founding fathers
Delegates from the state legislatures BUT not directly elected by the people
A secret meeting- in a sense that the delegates lacked the universal mandate-> thus, extra freedom to debate (given the lack of accountability)
Plan: first, produce a document-> then, lobby for its approval
39 out of 55 signed the Constitution
Beard’s Argument #1- Brown’s Counterargument
Charles Beard
1913 published economic interpretation of the constitution of the united states
“Investment portfolios” of the Founding Fathers
Men of considerable “personalty” (holdings other than real estate; bonds):
Public security interests (gov’t bonds)
Land speculation
Money loaned
Investments in manufacture and commerce
Investments in slave trade and slave ownership
Conclusion: they only represented economic interest of financial elites (maximized their financial gains)

* Robert Brown
* 50 years after Beard
* Response to Argument 1: also looks as investment portfolios of FF
* Notices they do have personalty, but ALSO have realty (holdings in real estate)
* Says beard failed to recognize this bc:
* Beard used secondary sources (method)
* Beard is not critical of sources (ideology)
* Says men motivated to protect both and
* Create laws protecting everyone’s property (realty in particular)
* Protect their and everyone else’s rights
* Attacks messenger (Beard) which, in turn, undermines Beard’s argument
* Appeals to...

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