Paper_Essay - By 1787, it was blatantly obvious to the...

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By 1787, it was blatantly obvious to the state legislatures convening at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia that the status quo was entirely unacceptable. With no power of enforcement, the central government could not compel coordinated national action from the states, for even the most basic of functions. According to Thomas Hobbes, in the absence of strong government “life becomes a war of all against all” (Peterson 88), and he was not far off the mark in his ideology when analyzing life under the Articles of Confederation. Forbidden the power to raise taxes or conscript an army, the very freedoms that the patriots won were at risk not solely from international imperialists, but domestic rebellion. Acknowledging the fact that the Constitution was designed to increase the power of the federal government, the way the Constitution was constructed, the document itself, and the interpretations of the Supreme Court negatively affect the liberty of America’s citizens and the power of her states. Considering America had to fight for independence from an unrepresentative British Monarch, Thomas Jefferson was correct when he wrote in The Declaration of Independence that in order for government to provide the liberties its citizens are entitled to “Governments [must be] instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Yet the development of our Constitution was far from a democratic exercise in liberty, and in fact was a “bend sinister” (Lowi 9 Sep 2008). This bastardization is exemplified by the fact that voters who elected the state delegates who ultimately attended the Constitutional convention in Philadelphia were required to be male, white, and property owning ( Beard 72 ). Not surprisingly, no working class persons were represented at the Convention. Elitism was the spirit of the day as Madison said, “the freeholders would be the safest depositories of Republican liberty” (Beard 75). The elite at the time were very concerned with the threat of mob rule, and did much to limit their accountability to the people. 1
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Due to its method of selecting individuals to office, the Constitution did not free us from arbitrary government, but gave it to us instead. The Constitution limits accountability by splitting up the US federal government into three branches, where only one sixth of the total branches are to be elected 1 (the House of Representatives), and as previously mentioned, the majority of the people were not even eligible to vote. Perhaps most indicative of the fear of mob rule is the way the President is selected. State legislatures appoint electors to vote for the President who have no legal obligation to vote for the winner of the popular vote in the state. Allowing appointed electorates to fix presumed mistakes in the People’s judgment flies in the face of consensual governorship. By limiting accountability to the voters, the framers placed the government in the arbitrary hands of the external elite, which was all too reminiscent of the system of government
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Paper_Essay - By 1787, it was blatantly obvious to the...

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