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Pol 201 - the American Constitution - America’s Democracy

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America’s Democracy

William Mensah

POL 201 – American National Government

Ashford University

Dr. Young, Jill

October 17 2017


America’s Democracy

        Most countries run on democracy; democracy is a system of government where the country is pretty much run by the whole population. United States of America is considered to be one of the greatest countries in the world and this is due to how it utilizes its democracy. The constitution is the greatest document that governs the country no matter any laws made, it still go by the guidelines of the constitution. That is nothing goes above the constitution, which protects the rights of the citizens in the country, and also the rules and regulations we live by in the country. The United States Constitution is the most important governing document that protects the rights and set the rules and regulations for the ruling of the country.  

US Constitution

            The Constitution comes first in everything the government does in the country. It sets up the tone on how the government should run the country and to fulfill its obligations as a ruling government. Although the Constitution is considered as the most important governing document in the country, it still has its advantages and disadvantages to the American people. One of the main strength of the U.S constitution is the involvement of the separation of powers, which brought about checks and balances. It pretty much ensures that one branch does not have the entire power to rule or to implement a law or something without the other branch having a decision about it. According to the text “A mixed constitution system divides power among a monarch, a legislature, and the aristocracy. Politically, this approach entitled the separation of powers” (Fine and Levin, 2016) This system is what strengthen our constitution in a way that the different branches of government are able to influence the decisions made by the other branches and it helps to prevent one branch from having too much power to rule or implement something over the other. On the other hand some might see the constitution as weakness due to its vagueness. That is how the constitution was written allows different interpretations, which causes misunderstanding to the American people sometimes. At times the American people cannot really distinguish what can be right or wrong from the constitution. A great example will be how the supreme court even sometimes interpret the constitution at times “other justices are at least moderate, originalists in the sense that the original meaning of the constitution clause behind them are misinterpret at times” (Delahunty, 2012) This shows how even our court systems with our best justices even interpret the constitution to the point where sometimes one can not tell what is right or wrong.

            There are several ways in which we can help to maintain the main strength and focus of the constitution a great example is how well we maintain the checks and balances in our political system. I strongly believe this will help maintain a strong democracy in our country. Since checks and balances ensures and creates special role assignments for each of the branches, it helps to prevent “the tendency toward abuse power, such as with despotism, and the corruption, would be limited because the checks placed on power across the branches of government” (Fine and Levin, 2016) the branches of government are able to maintain checks and be able to supervise or intervene the decisions they made. The most important thing in the country is the democracy so therefore it is really important to keep on maintaining the checks and balances in our political system of government. Although some might argue that “if we accept popular sovereignty and think of the people as the source of all legitimate constitutional authority, the constitution itself may limit how the people act within the confines of the constitution” (Sarat, 2008 pg. 23) I do believe some people just twist and turns what the constitution actually defines and this turns to hurt our country especially with the judicial system. The constitution needs to be cited and be use for it main purpose for what it was written to do. All this can be done through educating the American people on how important the constitution is to our land. Not forgetting that the constitution is the important document governing the country.    

Federalism

The point where the state, federal government and the local government all have some kind of power to rule a situation at hand is what is regarded as federalism. Federalism is "a system of government under which power is divided among federal, state and the local governments" (Fine and Levin, 2016 chap. 3 sec 4). For example the State level of governing has a way of handling their own laws, which affects its citizens either good or bad. A great example will be the immigration laws made by some States recently. In the United States “the central government has turned back significant portions of federal authority to the states for a wide range of major programs including welfare, Medicaid, legal services, housing, and job training” (Oates, 1999 pg. 1120) due to this the States also have power to put certain policies they think might benefit their citizens in place. The immigration laws in particular are something that is controlled by the federal government and off course all federal laws overpower the State laws. At times too, the State may argue the federal government concerning certain policies they might want to have in place for example concerning the immigration act, lawmakers in Arizona and Indiana directly challenged the 14th Amendments provision granting automatic citizenship to those born on U.S soil. In my opinion I do believe the 14th Amendments does a great job in supporting this right. But these laws makers want the federal government to narrow the right down to the point where the 14th Amendment will exclude kids born to illegal immigrants parents not be considered as citizens neglecting the fact that the constitution is the most important document governing our country and that whatever the constitution states is what we need to go by.  

Due to the fact the central government authorize the States some sort of power some States implement laws and policy which makes it really hard for its citizens. This is something I see to be a very challenging for the country. One the safe side these laws and policies made by the States does not go over the federal government, which makes it a really great thing. With all these laws and policies made, none of then over exceeds the constitution hence making the constitution the most important document governing our country.

Branches of Government

        The legislative branch of government in opinion is the most powerful branch in the government. Although the checks and balances are put in place in order to ensure that other branches influences the decisions made by other branches. The legislative branch of government has the power to make laws. In fact they have the ability to make new laws or even change existing laws. Congress makes up the legislative branch, which consist of the senates and the House of Representatives “Congress is the legislative branch. As such it writes the nation’s laws and make public policy” (Fine and Levin, 2016 chap. 5 sec 2). The Legislative branch also has the power and the strength to hold the executive branch accountable on how it functions. Although the legislative branch has the power to make all these laws including even making a change to existing laws none of their obligations or duties goes over the guideline of the constitution; making the constitution the most important document in the country. The legislative branch of government however can be very undemocratic. This is because for example the number of senators each State has, like California, which has a population of about 37 million people, has the same number of senators in a State like Wyoming, which only has a population of about 600,000 people. Due to this situation some States ends up having twice the number of votes as other States “many legislatures are not well apportioned, with some States having a larger or smaller share of seats than other States would be dictated by the relative sizes of their population.” (Ivan, Torre and Torrens, 2016) This can be a very difficult for legislation to pass certain laws since due to the sizes of the States, some laws or policies might not be in their choice of interest.

            In order to help maintain the great works of the legislative branch, Americans need to find the time to review the policies the executive branch comes out with. That is since the legislative branch has the power to hold the executive branch accountable through its oversight function, it is always good for them to have the time to review such policies because these policies might end up affecting the Citizens of the country. Also the legislative branch should involve more of the public opinion in terms of making laws and also inform the general public about laws that are being reviewed and the reason behind such laws. The consistent change of congress members will also continue to help the country’s democracy since “congressional newcomers will inject fresh blood and ideas into our democratic system.” (Latz, 2015 pg. 115) This way there will always be bright new ideas and ways of coming up with the nation’s laws and policies. The legislative branch can put certain measures in place to help strengthen it function in the government. The United States uses the Electoral College System which shows that it is an unfair way of casting an election because the votes of some Citizens are not taken into accounts and all these affects the way the seats are assigned which can affect the American public of the laws made in the country. The government needs to come up with new methods of electing their candidate.  

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