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Essay/Term paper: The uniqueness of the american constitution

Essay, term paper, research paper:  American History

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The Uniqueness of the American Constitution


We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union,
establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense,
promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves
and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United
States of America.

This document, written more than 200 years ago is still the backbone that
allows America to be an example of freedom and righteousness to the rest of the
world.  Unlike any other government doctrine, the Constitution has remained an
active governing force through the changes of American society.  It allows its
citizens the basic freedom of human beings and does not infringe on one's
individuality.  In its uniqueness, the Constitution not only gives freedom but
also protects its people economically, religiously, politically, and socially.

Power is a delicate element and the Constitution is careful in defining
where certain powers lie.  One of the novelties about this doctrine is that it
does a clever job of dividing certain powers between the state and federal
governments.  Monetary units, for example, are issued exclusively by the federal
government.  This is not only more convenient for traveling purposes, but also
allows for a more 'united' spirit.  People in California can easily view a
commercial for a product affiliated with New York without having to translate
the cost or watch the television screen scroll down 50 different prices.  The
Stock Market functions fairly smooth now, but with an East Texas businessman
trying to sell to a novice buyer from Minnesota, things would be complicated and
time consuming.  Other examples of powers held only by the federal government
are the formation and control of a militia and foreign relations.  If each state
had its own army and own foreign policy combined, the idea of being 'united'
would be only an idea.  These states would be more like small countries, more
like Europe.  With too much power on a state level, a main government could not
function, and with too much power in the national government, states would be
just boundary lines for the names of places.  The states hold just enough power
to keep the federal government from having complete control.  This adds a
balance that had no duplicate in any country, which perhaps is what leaves many
people dreaming of America.

One of the elements people incorporate into the American dream is
religious freedom.  The governing forces of this country have no religious or
denominational theme.  Instead, the founding fathers made it clear that a
government should function according to basic human decency and morale, not
religion.  A strict separation of church and government is declared in the
Constitution.  This is not to prevent holiness from entering politics, but to
keep politics from entering holiness.  Often times in governing bodies, though
the motives are pure, the outcome is somewhat crooked.  This is why such a
separation is necessary; to keep government from corrupting church.  Another
reason is simply to prevent governing bodies from dictating individual beliefs,
because America was never meant to be a dictatorship.

From the start, Americans, like all groups of people needed an example. 
They needed someone not to be a dictator, but a leader.  Due to the division of
powers in the federal government today, the threat of dictatorship is almost
non-existent.  The President can be overridden by Congress as well as by the
Supreme Court.  Congress can likewise be overridden by the President.  There is
no branch of government that is allowed more power than another.  This prevents
any one body from becoming too powerful or having too much input in national
affairs.  This division of power and the fact that Congress is made up of so
many individuals gives the general public a more active role in government.  The
Constitution states, 'We the People', which is what makes this document and
America so unique.

Since the people rule themselves, American government cannot infringe on
many of the choices one makes.  Due to the Bill of Rights, citizens have the
right to say, hear, write, and be anywhere they wish to be.  However, there are
limitations in order to protect the peace and general welfare of a community. 
For the most part, though, Americans are free.  Starting from disorganized
colonies and idle wanderers, this land has underwent major revolutions to become
the nesting house for freedom and dreams that it is today.

Times in 1787 were extremely different than in 1997.  With the memory of
Great Britain's heavy hand so fresh in the minds of early Americans, one can
imagine the apprehension and excitement of starting fresh.  The men who wrote
the Constitution however, were not starting fresh.  They remembered Britain's
fo9llies and learned what to do different.  Each article and each amendment to
the Constitution has reasoning behind it, somewhat of a try-fail method of
government.  Fortunately for the American citizens and for all who live in the
United States, it has worked.  The Constitution is the reason for the American
Empire.

 

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