In this course weve examined Americas founding debates
between Federalists and Anti-Federalists regarding how to realize
self-government. Weve studied
constitutional thinking and institutional design at the highest levels, which
were aimed at putting principle into practice.
This ranged across enduring questions of statecraft, the good society,
good citizenship, freedom and equality, justice and rights, and so forth.
Drawing on a deep, careful, precise reading of these debates
as elaborated in course readings, lectures, and videos argue either for or
against ONE of the following constitutional revisions. What are the most persuasive principled and
practical reasons for adopting or rejecting ONE of these revisions? How might it advance the cause of
self-government, properly understood?
What are the most persuasive counterpoints to your argument, and how
would you respond to those counterpoints?
One way to frame your essay would be to establish what
position both Federalists and Anti-Federalists would take on the reform you
address, explain why they would take those positions, and explain with whom you
Possible revisions, many from this website
(http://www.amoreperfectconstitution.com/23_proposals.htm (Links to an external
Expand the Senate to 136 members: Grant the 10 most populous
states 2 additional Senators, the 15 next most populous states 1 additional
Senator, and the District of Columbia 1 Senator.
Expand the size of the House to approximately 1,000 members
(from current 435).
Propose a reform to establish term limits in the House
Establish a new 6-year, 1-time Presidential term with the
option for the President to seek 2 additional years in an up/down referendum of
the American people.
Eliminate lifetime tenure for federal judges in favor of
non-renewable 15-year terms for all federal judges.
Reform campaign financing by preventing wealthy candidates
from financing their campaigns, and by mandating partial public financing for
House and Senate campaigns.
Shift to a system of compulsory voting, where all eligible
citizens either vote in national and/or local elections or pay a fine.
Create a Constitutional requirement that all able-bodied
young Americans devote at least 2 years of their lives in service (not
necessarily military) to the country.
Eliminate the Senate and shift from a bicameral to a
Establish a national holiday on election days.
Propose a reform to make it easier to amend the
As opposed to presidential nomination / Senate confirmation,
open the selection of Supreme Court Justices to the popular vote.
In addition to the impeachment process, empower Congress to
remove sitting presidents and begin a new election cycle through simple up/down
vote.So if 51 percent of both Houses of Congress vote down a president, he will
be removed and an election will be held to replace him.
* Caution: A paper that avoids the Federalist /
Anti-Federalist debates and responds to the prompt with the assertion of a
superficial opinion will not do well.
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