Matthew Wong Ms.Yuan History-Duke 12 October 2017 How the Constitution affects tyranny That could happen if the Constitution was not set in place to guard against tyranny. Tyranny occurs when the government has an absolute ruler who rules harshly. The previous constitution, the Articles of Confederation, was not very powerful and lacked many laws needed leading to a decision to forward a new constitution. The Constitution set up different laws to split the power between different powers so that they would never be ruled by a tyrant once more. As such, they split the power between the state and central government, federalism, so that one government does not have more power than the other.
The articles of confederation was written right after the revolutionary war was fought, however, the AOC failed, so they had to start all over with a new document called the constitution. 9 out of 13 colonies needed to ratify the new constitution for it to take effect. When it came to organize the government after the AOC, the people were divided on how the government should handle the fears of social, political, and economic fears which motivated the 2 parties, federalist and antifederalist. The federalists supported the new constitution, while the anti federalists were opposed. The political motivation for the federalists to support the ratification was they believed that a stronger government was necessary as the AOC had failed previously
All throughout history and even today, tyranny is a problem in many countries, from North Korea to Cuba. Even America dealt with tyranny before the revolutionary war. After the war, we knew that our newfound country would not thrive under a tyrant’s rule, so a man named James Madison wrote the Constitution to protect our country against dictatorship. How exactly does the Constitution protect against oppression? The Constitution protect against tyranny through federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances.
The first method the Constitution protects against tyranny is Federalism. Federalism is the division of power between state and national government. In Document A it interprets that the governments will each have a portion of power and not be able to have all the power. This evidence helps explain why the Constitution guards against tyranny because Federalism will allow both governments to have limited powers. Another method the Constitution protects against tyranny is Separation of Powers.
Since the foundation of this country its people have identified more with their State and local government than the Federal Government. The Federal Government is look upon with suspicion and distrust. When the Constitution of the United States was written, the Founding Fathers were very careful to create a government that will not dominate and obliviate the local governments. The Revolutionary War was indeed a Civil War fought against a tyrannical centralized government. The founders of this country wanted to be sure that this tyranny was not present in the laws and functions of this new nation.
One of the first officials records of the United States was The Articles of Confederation. From the earliest starting point of the American Revolution, Congress felt it was essential for a more grounded and stronger union and a legislature sufficiently effective to thrashing Great Britain. Following a couple short years, the Articles were supplanted by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Articles were a stepping stone which prompted the Constitution however the Articles contained a larger number of shortcomings which constrained the colonists to dispose of them and create a new document. Preceding the Revolutionary War, large portions of the first thirteen colonial assemblies made regional claims to these areas which postponed the adoption of the Articles of Confederation.
Edwards and Wattenberg define Federalism as, “a way of organizing a nation so that two or more levels of government share formal authority over the same area and people. (Edwards and Wattenburg,70)” When the United States first started to form a central government their objective was to never allow for a dominating power to take over the country again. To do so they created a division of power and made it possible for states and more so the “people” the right to have more of an impact on government. Or so were their intended thoughts when creating the constitution and the branches. In doing so their focus constrained national government but left a loose string as to what the states and their constitutions could do.
After the American Revolution, the Americans were finally able to break away from British rule. They knew they needed to create a government and with that, the Articles of Confederation were born. However, the Articles gave the states too much power and gave almost none to the federal government. The Founders scrapped the Articles and created a new document, the Constitution, which gave more power the federal government than the state governments. In spite of this, not everyone was happy about the new Constitution.
“...the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that they may be a check on the other…[the three branches] should not be so far separated as to have no constitutional control over each other.” (James Madison, Federalist Paper #51, 1788). This quote by James Madison shows that the Constitution basically separates powers of each branch, and gives each the right to stop the other if they feel that something isn’t fair or equal without creating a ruler or making one branch the strongest. With the concept of checks and balances, the founding fathers were able to stop soft tyranny, and keep government in a balanced and equal
After the American Revolutionary War, many Americans were opposed to the idea of a strong central government. They saw the idea of a strong centralized government as a gateway back into the familiar tyrannical government and abuse of power that they had just fought so hard to free themselves of. The idea of creating a new Constitution was unnecessary to some because the Articles of Confederation were already in place. The non-supporters of the newly proposed Constitution called themselves “Anti- Federalist.” Naturally, many of the supporters of the new Constitution felt that it was very much needed and they felt as if the Articles of Confederation were not strong enough to functionally run the government. The “federalists,” or supporters of the proposed Constitution, wanted to
“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands… may be justly pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” (Document B) The Madison quote shows that no person or persons should acquire all powers of the government otherwise it will become a tyranny. Hence our government is split into three branches, all with different powers, so that we may have a separation of powers to protect against tyranny. This separation of powers helps prevent one group from taking over the other two so that our country shall not be ruled by a tyrant
Tyranny is everywhere, the only way it’s not is if we can prevent it ourselves. One of America’s first governments was the Articles of confederation. The Articles of Confederation was shown to be corrupt and couldn’t get the job done, the government didn’t consist of any sort of chief executive, no court system and a weak central government, due to the inability of the government to enforce taxes. The people decided it needed to go. James Madison and a group of men decided to come together in an event known as the Cconstitutional Cconvention, in order to create a new system of government.