Free «The Constitution of the United States» Essay Paper
The United States of America is the first federal democratic republic in the world. It was established in the former English colony on the American continent by immigrants from the monarchical Old World. Moreover, those immigrants created a new nation, i.e. the Americans, with its morality, culture, traditions, religious institutions, its legislative system, armed forces, and financial system. The American nation was fated to become the most progressive one in the world due to its industriousness, love for learning, patriotism, peacefulness, love of liberty, and democracy. Nowadays, the United States of America is the most powerful country in the world. It takes a leading position in worldwide in terms of the development of its economy, science, culture, and art. It has become a superpower. Most countries globally take the American economy and democracy for a model. The best students from different countries get their degrees and qualifications at American higher educational establishments. Furthermore, American cultural, sociological, and philosophical virtues have become a basis for creating a new society in the world, i.e. the European Union.
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The whole American history is a way of development of the civil society as the most justified one in the world. American ideals of liberty and justness have become worldwide virtues. The United States of America has never won any country for its colony. It has not become an empire in spite of its financial, economic, and military power. Besides, during the historian evolution, the United States has been fighting against totalitarian regimes for liberation of everybody in the world and establishment of principles of democracy as a main patrimony of humankind. It is explained by the fact that the national American ideology is based on human rights. Every human being was born to be free. As it is stated in the Constitution of the United States, the American national ideology is based on liberty, individualism, and private property. Each American citizen has equal rights irrespectively of his or her ethnic origin, race, gender, religion, political views, or believing. The American people are a nation of free individuals united by their national ideology, living in the civic society in the first democratic republic in the world. The goal of the paper is to consider the main democratic achievements, fixed in the Constitution. The main document of the country was designed as a real program for the further development of the democratic society in the United States. The Constitution was created by people. It has served for all individuals as a major law of historical, philosophical, and ideological value for the whole American nation. In the course of time, the community has adopted some amendments. However, the Constitution with its major values should remain unchangeable.
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Being established by immigrants from monarchical countries, the United States of America became democratic only when a certain period had passed. It is explained by the fact that nobody knew all the obstacles and circumstances following the creation of the first one in the world republic. They were inevitable, but the first successful republic coped with them. The United States did not turn into a totalitarian state because of its developed civil society. This community has become the most important condition for the development of democracy and equality of all citizens. Civil rights and liberties are above all in the United States of America. Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, and the Progressive Era are the main historical periods of development of the American civil society. Problems with civil liberties, racial segregation, and human rights violence were main American problems in the nineteenth century. Those issues could not occur in the countries of the Old World under the single reason, i.e. they all were monarchical. Moreover, many of them had colonies. Since European immigrants formed the bulk of the American nation, it is not surprising that such a state of affairs with civil liberties in the United States was a target for criticism during a long period of the world’s history.
The major reasons for the American Revolution were the British Acts and restricted social, economic, and political liberties of colonists. The British government considered American colonists to have defrayed a part of the state’s expenses on the Seven Years’ War. Moreover, the British Crown considered its American colonies should be depended economically and politically on the mother country. Therefore, the British government issued the Stamp Act in 1765, the Wool Act in 1699, the Hat Act in 1732, and the Iron Act in 1750. These acts were determined to forbid people from producing the certain goods in America and increase the tax burden for colonists. Moreover, the Molasses Act and the Sugar Act were as the very serious obstacles for the further development of the American industry, forbidding free trade with France and their colonies. Therefore, Great Britain transformed colonists into political and economic enemies for Spain and France by forbidding them free trade with these countries. At the same time, taxes were increased. However, nobody was interested in improving social and economic conditions in the British colonies. Moreover, these colonies did not have any representatives in the British Parliament. This fact irritated the local American elite. In addition, the English Crown forbade meetings of colonists, which became a tradition for discussing local problems in order to solve them. Undoubtedly, nobody wanted their social and economic rights and freedoms to be violated in such an outrageous way. Therefore, American settlers organized riots in their towns to make the British government cancel their discriminative acts. However, colonists did not want to abrogate political ties with the United Kingdom. However, the further murderous events in Boston did not remain them any other decision than to struggle for independence. Therefore, the American Revolution was caused by economic and political problems. As a result, they caused the violation of rights and freedoms of settlers. The American Revolution led to the emergence of a new nation in the former English colonies in the New World.
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The national American Exceptionalism became the main ideology of American people. It was the next reason for the emergence of the American republic. As Deborah Madsen states, American Exceptionalism is “the single most powerful agent in a series of arguments that have been fought down the centuries concerning the identity of America and Americans” (1). It emerged in the New World among Puritan communities of the first English colonies in Massachusetts Bay as an integral part of their religious beliefs. Hereby, they had faith in the idea that God gave them a miraculous opportunity to save the fallen humanity. It could be done by establishing their Christian communities there, according to the strict observation of all Christian dispensations because the New World was the last chance to save the human civilization. Thus, America and Americans are “special, exceptional, because they are charged with saving the world from itself… America must be as ‘a city upon a hill’ exposed to the eyes of the world” (Madsen 2). As they believed, Americans had a special destiny expressed in the exceptional mission. It lied in living according to spiritual and moral virtues of the Christian Church.
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Therefore, the abovementioned political, economic, ideological, and social reasons caused the creation of the Declaration of Independence. The latter one was a claim against the English colonial government violating the rights of colonists in America. The Declaration of Independence was a historical document, which explained some reasons forced American colonists to take the certain actions leading to the independence. As a result, in 1775, the War for Independence broke out in America. In 1781, thirteen former colonies, which became the states, passed the Articles of Confederation, as an additional document to the Declaration of Independence. These acts were aimed at regulating political, economic, and social relations between them. In 1786, the American authorities faced a problem for their further existence in the Union. Each state had its own government and secured all rights for each individual, according to the Bill of Rights. At the same time, the Union had a huge debt to pay France for its help in the war against Great Britain. However, the states did not want to do it. As a result, an economic default posed a threat to the further existence of the new republic of independent states. Therefore, the next step to strengthen the federal power and divide the whole power into three branches executive, legislative, and judiciary was inevitable.
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In 1787, the Constitutional Convention took place in Philadelphia. This process ended with the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, based on the major principles described in the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. It had lasted from May to September. The Virginia Plan was adopted as a base for the Constitution. It was composed by James Madison and introduced by Edmund Randolph. The plan directed at a new American government to protect sovereignty of each state and enforce the federal power. The main task was to build a strong republican government and avoid emergence of monarchy in the United States. Therefore, the Virginia Plan had given too much power to the national federal government.
Lest a monarchy should emerge, the Founding Fathers divided the whole power into three branches: legislative, executive, and judiciary, and according to the Plan, “the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary powers within the several States ought to be bound by oath to support the articles of Union” (Anonymous, Clause 18). Of course, it strengthened the federal power because all acts of three branches in all American states had to comply with the articles of Union, as the central power of the United States. In addition, it made the Constitution the major legislative document in the United States.
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As Vile states, the Plan proposed “a bicameral legislature, rather than the unicameral congress under the Articles of Confederation. The Virginia Plan proposed apportioning both houses according to population” (15). According to the Plan, the upper and lower houses divided the legislative power. The lower house had representatives of each state, but their number depended on the quantity of population living in the state. Therefore, the states with large populations, for example, Virginia, would have more delegates in the lower house. The upper house was to be formed by the representatives from the lower one. Of course, the more populated states formed the upper house as well. The less populated states were expected to respect all decisions made by the more populated ones. According to Bloom and Johnson, “the small-state delegates opposed the Virginia Plan. Many feared a strong central government and were concerned with preservation of the power of the states” (57).
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According to the Virginia Plan, the executive branch would be appointed by the legislative one. As Warshaw states, the executive branch or the Cabinet was considered as a Congress agent in the government. Some delegates, such as Alexander Hamilton, urged that “the Cabinet serve as both presidential assistants and as departmental managers” (Warshaw 16). Thus, the Cabinet could run the American government when the President was absent. The Cabinet became a singular executive while “Taxing powers, raising armies, and declaring war, all traditional powers of the chief executive, were overwhelmingly considered to be the province of the legislature by the convention delegates” (Warshaw 17).
As Drahozal states, “the Plan gave the national legislature the power to use military force against recalcitrant states… Congress could use troops to enforce compliance with federal law” (13). Thus, the Virginia Plan strengthened the federal power because each state should have obeyed the federal law. It is due to the fact that the federal government had rights to punish every state with its armed force for any violation of the American legislation. The ratified in 1791 First Amendment is a major document, which guarantees individual liberties to all American citizens. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments established equal rights for all Americans irrespectively to their race, ethnicity, and religions. Thus, the Constitution of the United States became the major American Law, guaranteeing the protection of all liberties and rights to each American citizen.
In order to understand all profits and virtues of the American Constitution, it is necessary to compare its major principles with the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. As it is stated in the Chinese Constitution, this country is a multinational country, the people of which have eliminated private property and established the so-called democratic dictatorship of its working class. The Communist Party of China is a major political force. It establishes the socialist ideology, according to which each citizen is considered as a part of a sole socialist state’s machine. The country guaranties each person the protection of his or her rights on work, rest, education, and other social freedoms. At the same time, any demonstration of individualism or personal autonomy in political, religious, ethnical, or economic decisions, which may not coincide with the communist ideology, is considered as hostile to the state. Therefore, all nations living in China must coordinate their local ethnic policy with the central authorities, i.e. the so-called national chauvinism should emerge. As a matter of fact, the Chinese Communists have conducted a policy of leveling, when each nation cannot have independence in its development without permission of the central authorities regulating the whole life in provinces. As for individual freedom, the Article 25 of the Chinese Constitution states that China conducts the policy of family planning. According to it, the Chinese government orders each family how many children it can have. Of course, nobody can call it democratic. Though the whole power is divided into judicial, legislative, and executive, but the initial branch is the so-called procuratorates. It is aimed at supervising the observance of the Chinese laws. Therefore, the Chinese Constitution does not protect individual freedoms, as the American does.
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Louis Michael Seidman in The New York Times raises the problem of the change of the Constitution. He states that 27 members of the House could pass wrong acts; and nobody could improve the situation in the country. He claims the Constitution should be changed because it could not secure the stability in the USA. As a matter of fact, the Constitution is a major American Law. It can be improved by amendments. The American people elect its senators and congressmen. Therefore, it is up to the Americans to make the authorities better. As for rewriting the Constitution, it is not necessary to do so because even the best written law could be violated by dishonest citizens. Therefore, the sole way to improve the situation is to convince the authorities to pass all necessary amendments.
The Constitution of the United States is a historical, philosophical, ideological, and political document. It guarantees real rights and freedoms to each American citizen. Moreover, the American people are proud of their Constitution. All American authorities cherish and fulfill all of its Articles. The American history is reflected in the Constitution, which cannot be rewritten. Only amendments can improve some provisions of the country’s main document.