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Unformatted text preview: GOVT 1111 The Constitution: Radically Moderate; an Attempt by the Framers to Certify Liberty When the Framers first formed the structure of our constitution, and in effect the foundation of our country, they made it seem as though liberty, equality, and justice were the underlying ideals from which they from drew all of their remaining considerations on how our country should be governed. One only has to look as far back as the Articles of Confederation however to see their true intentions. There is without a doubt liberty was the premier importance of the Framers; as they themselves said their final and main objective of the constitution was to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”. 1 Democracy and equality on the other hand were slightly less concrete. In reality one of the Framers’ concerns was the idea of too much power being placed in the hands of the general public, which is the direct result of the synthesis of democracy and equality. Although there is much evidence of the Framers’ ambitions to include these ideals in the framework of our constitution (as they indeed did), in reality their perspectives on the ideals were not the liberal views they were thought to be, but on the matters of democracy and equality, quite moderate. In fact, there lies much evidence in the Constitution of the Framers attempts to curtail the powers of democracy and equality. Our Founding Fathers did believe however, that both democracy and equality engulfed the concept of liberty; therefore by curtailing parts of democracy and equality, they were in fact only hedging some aspects of these ideals, while strengthening the more crucial aspect of them: liberty. By doing so, they were able, in sum, to retain the full ideals of liberty, equality, and democracy necessary to protect them from the tyranny of the masses and to protect the people from the tyranny of government. In order to truly see the impressions of liberty, equality, and democracy upon our government, there is no better object of scrutinization then the body of government created to protect the people, by the people, and for the people: Congress. It is no coincidence that the legislative branch is the first to be explicitly mentioned in the Constitution; the Framers viewed it then as the main branch of our government. Not just the first Article, but even the first section of the Constitution is unambiguously dedicated to defining the power of the Legislative Branch: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States” (US Constitution, Article 1, Section 1). Out of the three ideals, there is no doubt that the underlying purpose of our Founding Fathers was the preservation and guarantee of liberty. To begin with, it is monumental that even though the Framers 1 1 Preamble to the Constitution (Ginsberg, Lowi, and Weir. We the People . Chicago: 1st World Library, 2005.) (A8) established an office more powerful than any in Congress—the presidency—the power to impeach the...
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This note was uploaded on 12/13/2010 for the course GOVT 1111 at Cornell.
- LOWI, T