The Constitution of the U.S.A

Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・Political Science ・MLA ・9 Sources

The Constitution of the United States

 The Constitution of the United States of America was signed into law four years after the country had gained independence from Britain. The original intention of the document was to list the bill of rights for all the American citizens and further set mechanisms that would ensure that there a central government and a governance system. The first notable contribution of the constitution was the establishment of a Presidency that would unify all the states and make The United States operates as one single entity. Having the constitution into operation, under the leadership of George Washington comes from a background of revolution in which the Americans had the quest for self-rule. The constitution intended to ensure that there are checks and balances in the governance system to ensure that there is no abuse of power by those elected to lead the people and make laws on their behalf. Additionally, there was the need to provide that the governance system that was adopted was agreeable to all the member states and could assure stability of the states that earlier operated as semi-autonomous entities. The background of which the constitution was presented to Americans is torn along two perspectives, that is, re-imagination of the ideals of the revolution or a democratic process to effect a democratic vision.

Brutus' Perspective

 According to Brutus, the formation of a joint government for all the states in the United States should not be accepted, as only one or a few individuals will be making laws for all (2). He alleged that by being a free nation, no single person should assume authority over others for it will cause oppression but those associated with the land should have a united consent in the making of laws. Human beings are wired to pursue their interests as opposed to those of others in the community.  It, thus, brought about the need to for a constitution to ensure the representatives of the people are put in check. The whole community is to come together and give a united consent to pass law hence the aspect of the constitution as a democratic process. Therefore, the task of the government is to implement the laws on behalf of the community’s greater good. To check the authority of the state, laws have been made to limit their powers to avoid repression, oppression of the people and mismanagement of funds and power.

The Drafting of the American Constitution

 The drafting of the American Constitution took place after the war with the Britain that led to massive bloodshed with the intent of having a self-rule standard that was different from that of Britain. American desired to have the ability to elect their leader, that is, the President, unlike the British system that was headed by a King. Therefore, spreading political power to the judiciary executive and legislature was one way through which the drafters of the constitution intended to distinguish their constitution from that of the British.

The Structure of the Federal Government

 America, at the time of drafting the constitution, was already a vast country with each state having its constitution. Therefore, having one constitution that was superior to the other state constitutions needs compromise to ensure that issues in each state were addressed. However, the key objective of farmer was to bring about a democratic process, thus, the establishment of an electoral college that was to take care of the diverse background and the communication problems across the different states in the country (Wood 312). Democracy in the United States was a unique process owing to differences in the 13 original states that currently constitute the United States of America. The differences in sizes, regarding the population size and the economy, had the smaller states having a fear of the more prominent states using the coerced presidential powers in the democratic system to undermine and trample upon their rights, thus, the formulation of the New Jersey and Virginia Plans.

The Legislature

 The most powerful arm of the government as outlined in the original constitution is the legislature. The legislature constituted the direct representatives of the people, thus, affirming the importance of the citizens having direct participation in the matters and affairs that affected their country. The structure of the federal government is the primary outcome of the constitution and was agreed based on a consensus from members, also known as the founding fathers, with each state represented (Holton 17).

The Democratic Vision of the Constitution

 The constitution of the United States had the primary purpose of realizing a democratic process to bring about a democratic vision to the populace. The main notable contribution was the issue of equality in representation through the institutionalization of the bicameral legislature. According to chapter 14 of Brutus (1), the formulation of the constitution was to ensure sustainability in the system of governance that was chosen by the leaders, through the declaration of rights that to guide the spirit of the constitution. The Brutus document further asserts that man is free by nature and no one has the right to exert his authority over another person save for the affirmation of the consent of the people (3). Therefore, the primary role of the constitution was to ensure that the liberties and rights of the people were protected despite the potential of the elected leaders to use greed and personal ambitions to the detriment of their subjects. Therefore, the bill of rights as ingrained in the constitution had a democratic vision that would realize equity to all in the American society.

Powers of the Elected Leaders

 The American constitution grants powers to the elected leaders to ensure that the governance system is working for the people. The constitution guarantees that the forces and the security agencies are under the control of the elected leaders, thus, ensuring that there is minimal chance of abusing the rights that have been enshrined in the constitution to be enjoyed by the people (Oberg and Thomas 1).

Undemocratic Aspects of the Original Constitution

 On the flip side, the constitution, in its original format has some undemocratic content those services to undermine the democracy of the people. For example, the issue of the Electoral College serves to weaken the power of the people to choose their president. Additionally, the constitution was formulated as a compromise document to take care of the concerns of the Southern states. As such, the original constitution did not expressly abhor suffrage and slavery, leading to the suffering of the minority groups, particularly the blacks living in the southern states. Furthermore, there was the discretion of the minority choosing for the majority their representatives. For example, the senators, based on Article I section 3, affirmed the role of the state legislature to appoint the senators instead of the people to elect their senators, an issue that was repealed through the 17th Amendment of the constitution (Goodman 7).

The Limitations of the Constitution

 According to Dahl, the authors of the constitution ha o knowledge of the changes that would result from the constitutional provisions. (57) For example, the requirement that some few select people, in the disguise of being wise people could have the discretion to choose the president was ill-formed and served only partisan interests. The entrenchment of democracy was by itself a revolution that would mean changing the governance system (43). The political institutions that were created by the constitution were subject to being managed by human beings who have the power and capability to alter their operations to suit their interests (Cato 2). Furthermore, the constitution served to limit the powers that as to be exercised by Congress in ensuring that there economic equality throughout the country. Congress had a limited role in moderating tax income rates and discussing the fiscal policy of the nation. Such served to limit the power of the people and their subsequent right to equal representation in the country.

The Role of the Constitution

 The constitution serves as a legal document that is used to gauge the efficacy of the governance system in a country. The type and nature of the government that rules a nation is engrained in the constitution. The affirmation that the American constitution had a liberal view in its original sense is dimmed by virtue of constitutional amendments that have subsequently taken places such as the 4th amendment that adds to the bill of rights to privacy and the abolition of slave trade. However, the significant step towards democratization that the document grants is the ability of the people to have a choice of selecting the leaders to whom they desire to lead them.

In Conclusion

 In conclusion, the immutability of the American constitution affirms that the constitution is a democratic process to effect a democratic vision. The first ten amendments, having been done within the same year of drafting the constitution majorly touched on the bill of rights. Therefore, the sole intent of the document was to ensure that people had the right to choose their leaders and actively participate in the establishing of laws that were to govern their country. The subjection of the military and all security forces to the representatives serve to affirm the process of democratization which the document intended to accomplish. However, the level of segregation as at the time of drafting the document could challenge it as being a process of democratization. During its formulation, women had no right to vote, and political decision making was an exclusive role of men. Therefore, the relegation of half of the population is not in tandem with the democratic principles that need to be held by a country. According to Dahl, the constitution gave a few people the powers to choose the national leaders, therefore, setting room for the entrenchment of partisan interests in the governance system of the country (44). Having the Electoral College making the final decision on who becomes the President and muteness on human suffering through slave trade are some of the principles that ted to water down the intended democratic gains that the constitution was to achieve. Concisely, by having a democratic vision, the authors of the document affirmed that democracy was a continuous process that would require additional amendment owing to the changing needs and preferential system of electing leaders and setting up constitutional institutions, thus, the option of legal amendments.  

Works Cited

Bailyn, Bernard. The ideological origins of the American Revolution. Harvard University Press, 2017.

Brutus, Calvin Dennis. Marketized media versus democracy?: a structuralist analysis of US media, their performance/outputs, and implications for democratic functioning. Vol. 1. University of Wisconsin--Madison, 1996.

Cato. Cato’s Letters NO. 84. SATURDAY, JULY 7, 1722. The first Principle of Power. n/a. pdf.

Dahl, Robert Alan. How democratic is the American constitution?. Yale University Press, 2003.

Goodman, Paul. The American Constitution. Vol. 31. Wiley, 1970.

Holton, Woody. "Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution." (2009): 389-391.

Oberg, Barbara B., and Thomas Jefferson. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 38: 1 July to 12 November 1802. Princeton University Press, 2012.

Wood, Gordon S. "The authorship of the letters from the federal farmer." The William and Mary Quarterly: A Magazine of Early American History (1974): 299-308.

Yates, Robert. "Brutus II." The Antifederalist Papers, http://www. constitution. org/afp/brutus02. htm.

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