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American Government assignment one - Essay Example

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A fundamental feature of the modern nation-state since the 1848 Treaty of Westphalia has been the tendency to centralize power, usually in a physical place called the capital, over the recognized territories of the same. The Articles of Confederation, though well-intended, ultimately failed to provide for this basic centralizing authority so necessary to have a functioning state…
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American Government assignment one
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Download file to see previous pages In fact that was the very thing against which the Colonials had rebelled. This distrust in government engendered one which was inherently weak. The problem with the Articles of Confederation was that they sought to create a nation while still trying to allow the several states to keep powers typically only reserved for actual nation-states like taxation powers, war declaration powers, and the right to issue currency. Most of all, the Confederation had no executive branch and thus no recognizable head of state. The Constitution gave the new national government the power to issue currency and thus provided financial stability to the country (Henretta 2000, 222). It also established a clear executive and leader of the country in the person of the Presidency. The First President, George Washington, provided a unity which was conspicuously missing under the Articles (Maddox 2003, 78-79). James Madison said that the Constitution was necessary to establish “a strong government to conduct foreign affairs and insisted that central authority would not foster domestic tyranny.” The Constitution gave the “central government broad powers over taxation, military defense, and external commerce as well as the authority to make all laws…to implement those provisions” (Henretta 2000, 226). The Constitution ended the chaos of the Confederation and gave birth to the America we know today. Article 1.) David Jackson’s article in The Oval “House rebukes Obama over Libya” (Jackson 2011) very much encapsulates some of the broad changes which have beset America’s system of Federalism over the course of the last half century. The rise of the unitary executive in no way accords with the thoughts of the founders who very much sought to limit the executive branch through a unique system of checks and balances. The U.S. House of Representatives recently ‘rebuked’ Obama for his continued prosecution of the military action in Libya. The US and its allies are seeking to bolster and support a rebellion led by anti-Qaddafi forces and to protect civilian targets which have borne the brunt of attacks by government forces. A coalition of fiscally conservative Republicans and rebellious Democrats managed to pass a resolution in the House against the Obama Administration’s bombing campaign. The meaningfulness of the resolution is nonetheless very much in doubt. Just after passing it, the House refused to cut funding for the operation in North Africa. It seems that the House resolution then was nothing more than a feel-good measure; things on the ground remain unchanged. The dispute concerns the 1973 War Powers Resolution which requires the President to seek Congressional approval of all military actions beyond 60 days. The Libya action has lasted well beyond 60 days but President Obama has still refused to obtain approval, claiming the War Powers Resolution does not apply because it is a NATO effort. At the root of the question is the explicit power held by the Congress to control spending and declare war. Jackson quotes Florida Representative Tom Rooney who said, “Only Congress has the power to declare war and the power of the purse, and my bill exercises both of these powers by blocking funds for the war in Libya unless the President receives ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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