Constitution Guards against Tyranny in Federalism

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“The Farmers of the Constitution knew that free speech is the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew it was the deadliest enemy of tyranny.” Hugo Black. The word tyranny has a long history in the American Revolution. But what really is tyranny? Tyranny is a cruel government with an absolute ruler, for example, a king, or a dictator. When the constitutional convention met in 1787 they had many different ideas and points of views but one thing they all agreed on was they didn’t want tyranny. The writers of the constitution wanted to prevent tyranny in their government because they didn’t want to have another King George III. So they decided that the constitution will guard against tyranny in federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances and to make a compromise between the big and small states.

Federalism guards against tyranny in the Constitution. In document A, after looking at the graph, you notice that powers are shared between both governments. There are some things that only the central government does like conduct foreign relations, and there are some things only the states do like set up local government, but at the end, they share some responsibilities such as taxes. They have to work together as a team to make it all work. Federalism is a system of government in which federal and local share the power.

According to James Madison, in the Federalist paper #51 1788, federalism was put in place to divide the power into two distinct governments to help protect rights. Federalism is a system of government which was created, by written agreement, a central and national government to which it has distributed specified legislative powers, called the federal government, and regional or local governments to which is distributed other, specified legislative powers. This shows that the Constitution guards against tyranny by separating the power, it’s practically creating an extra layer of protection a to people’s rights.

Separation of powers guards against tyranny in the Constitution by dividing the government into different branches and giving each specific job they all do different jobs. In document B James Madison, Federalist Paper #47 says that “Liberty requires that the three great departments of power should be separate and distinct.” This shows how essential it is to divide the governmental power into separate but at the same time equal branches to prevent tyranny. Document B also showed Articles 1-3 of the Constitution. Each article explained how each branch worked. Everything needs to go through the three branches. The judicial branch enforces the laws, the executive branch enforces the laws, and the legislative branch makes the laws. By making these three branches the government can make sure that they don’t become corrupt and only make, enforce, or judge a law that would only be beneficial to them.

Checks and balances guard against the Constitution by giving the branches a role and keeping them in order. What is “Checks and Balances”? Each branch of the government can monitor the other branches “checks” so they will all maintain a certain order and they’ll all have the same power “balance”. “Divide and arrange the several offices in such manner as that they may be a check on the other”, James Madison Federalist Paper #51, 1788.

The quote in Document C explains how the three branches of government need to have control over each other to prevent another branch from taking away or violating someone’s rights. The chart in Document C shows how the branches put this principle into place. For example, the legislative branch can make a law, but the president can veto it, or the judicial branch may rule the law as an unconstitutional law. The farmers of the Constitution added checks and balances to protect our rights even if one of the branches becomes corrupt.

By giving all states an equal vote/say in the government, the government can maintain an equal balance between the big states and the little states. In the beginning, the larger states wanted to have more power in government because they had a larger population, so they made the Virginia Plan. The smaller states said that it wasn’t fair and they thought it was better to have equal representation, so they made the New Jersy Plan. But then they agreed to the Great Compromise. The Great Compromise of 1787 states that every state was given equal representation, previously known as the New Jersey Plan, in one house of Congress, and proportional representation, known before as the Virginia Plan, in the other.

Document D Article 1, Section 2, House of Representatives states that “ The number of representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one representative…”Article 1, Section 3, Senate states that “The Senate should be composed of two senators from each state…” Both of the quotes from the articles of the Constitution explain how the House of Representatives and the Senate should be set up. This makes voting and decision making fair for both big and little states. This protects against tyranny by making sure one state wouldn’t get more power than the other because they just had a bigger population (it made power for each state equal).

The framers of the Constitution prevented tyranny in the Constitution by creating federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances, and the great compromise between big and little states. After the American revolution they didn’t want the government to have to much power so they created the Articles of Confederation but they were too weak. So after the Articles of Confederation failed the framers of the Constitution had to create a new form of government to protect our rights. We were the first modern government to write this and separate their government like that.

This new form of government still helps keep power in check like they wanted in the first place and prevented tyranny. “The glory of justice and the majesty are created not by the courts – nor by the officers of the law – nor by the lawyers – but by the men and women who constitute our society – who are the protectors of the law as they themselves are protected by the law” Robert Kennedy.

Cite this paper

Constitution Guards against Tyranny in Federalism. (2021, Mar 25). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/constitution-guards-against-tyranny-in-federalism/

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