gov essay - Julia Melamud Government 111: Introduction to...

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Julia Melamud Government 111: Introduction to American Government Writing Assignment 1 Over 200 years ago, the Founding Fathers had come to view centralized power as a threat to a person’s rights and liberties due to the authority inflicted by the distant British imperial government. As a result, the major problem facing the Constitutional Convention in 1787 was how to confine the power of the central government, while still providing it with enough ability to protect the national interest. Dividing power between two levels of government, the national government and the state government, was one of the solutions to this problem. This constitutional division of powers is considered by many to be a unique American contribution to government and a part of what makes the American constitutional system so different from other parts of the world. The U.S. Constitution, beginning with the words, “We the People of the United States…” signified the source of sovereignty in nation. The constitution allocated different roles to the separate levels of government and allowed both states and national governments to coexist as separate and independent units, each with a separate sphere of authority and both existing to serve the people. This leads to James Madison’s idea of “double security”, which emphasizes the point that while “different governments control each other, they each will be controlled by itself.” This would protect people from the tyranny of the majority, and ensure that no states can create a monarchy. Overall, this was the primary goal of federalism. Although monarchy was never established in the United States, many conflicts arose between and amongst the two levels of government.
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James Madison was an advocate of individual liberties that recognized the importance of controls on government. His ideas of a governmental system with a division of powers and independent institutions were discussed in “The Federalist, No. 51.” He claims that federalism is the only way freedom and liberty can be maintained. He also supports the idea of separated governments by acknowledging the existence of their individual wills. Without this acknowledgement, the institutions of government would not be powerful enough to function independently. Madison points out the danger of any
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This essay was uploaded on 03/30/2008 for the course GOVT 1111 taught by Professor Lowi, t during the Fall '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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gov essay - Julia Melamud Government 111: Introduction to...

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