U S Constitution the United States Term Paper
- Length: 10 pages
- Subject: American History
- Type: Term Paper
- Paper: #26964593
Excerpt from Term Paper :
The truth is that the forefathers were actually quite surprised at the effect that the signing of the Constitution had created in America; at the democratic society and government that resulted after the ratification of the Constitution.
The ratification in itself was a long one, and it involved in essence the perusal of the written Constitution by each state for ratification purposes, for which each state was required to create an independent ratifying committee headed by special delegates. The discussions of the advantages and the disadvantages of the newly written constitution of America began almost immediately after it was signed, and the two opposing factions of the Federalists to whom the majority of the forefathers belonged, and the Anti-Federalists who formed the opposing group brought these forth. The situation in America at the time of the writing of the Constitution was that of pro-democracy. The political as well as the industrial climate was that of democracy, and this was flourishing everywhere. People who had been considered as 'underclass citizens' now found themselves to be at par with the others, and they could even run for office if they so desired.
Everyone had the right to vote, and people like the common farmer, the laborer and the local merchant or artisan declared that they too had a right to a place in their government, and their companions did their best to encourage them and vote them into power. By the year 1825, the concept of 'universal white male suffrage' came into existence, and political office came to be meant for the commoner too, and the idea of 'disinterest' wherein it was thought that those who were extremely wealthy and therefore would have no selfish interest in amassing more wealth were those who were best suited for office was abolished, and in its place came the idea of the commoner running for office. This resulted in politics becoming a business of dealing and wheeling where everyone had an equal right to vote and also to run for office. Monarchy was replaced by democracy, and this led to equality, which up to today is one of the basic principles of democracy in the American Constitution, brought into clear emphasis by the Declaration of Independence.
Equality was meant to penetrate all walks of life like for example, in the pursuit of property, or of happiness, etc., and this pursuit was carried out in a liberal as well as literal manner, and people were gradually learning to make major decisions on their own instead of depending, as had been the tradition until then, on their superiors, who were people wealthier than them. The long-held principles of benevolence and patronage by the wealthy who were able to and would traditionally bestow riches or anything else of value on the traditionally poor and needy was now being replaced at a rapid rate and these people were becoming less necessary for the survival of the lower classes. Indeed, the system of classes where there was a distinct division between the upper and the lower classes based on wealth and other criterion was being abolished and being replaced by an egalitarian society where everyone was an equal in the eyes of the law.
The several politicians who were traditionally well to do aristocrats with large land holdings and with absolutely no interest in other people's wealth were now being replaced by those people who believed in the concept that those who had no role to play in the marketplace would not actually be aware of the workings of the market place, and therefore, total involvement of all the players was an absolute necessity, and therefore those aristocrats who did not get totally involved in the workings of the market would definitely not be aware of all its aspects of working, and they would also not be aware of the daily routine in the life of a common man. The aristocrat was, in fact, being ridiculed for his slothful and even 'evil' behavior because he was a man of leisure and was therefore wasting his time, and the belief that the elite knew what was best was also changing rapidly, and the common man was being represented by his own kind in politics.
Equality and equal opportunity for all, and the involvement of everyone in commerce and work of his country were taking place. Everyone was lauding the individual effort and this encouraged all those interested to take part in the workings of the market, thus bringing the principles of enlightenment and the resulting republicanism to the fore front. Superiority of the elite was abolished and the individual effort was recognized and self-assertion became the norm. The economic fate rested on the individual and this resulted in the crowding of more and more people into the major cities in their search for more and better resources to further their own economic status. This striving for betterment had the result of the creation of an industrial energy that resulted in the evolution of the spirit of competition and individualism and also the need to be hard working and industrious, in a place where the cry for labor and commerce was heard everywhere.
All labor began to be considered equally important, whether it was done with the mind or with the hands, and this became the credo for the average American who kept in mind the principle that the American citizen had to constantly struggle for the achievement of certain goals like rapid progress and gaining of property and happiness at the end of it. This spirit of 'rugged individualism' and competitiveness had the result of people being wary of one another and not in the least concerned about the other person's welfare, and they also became aware of the fact that they would not be able to trust another person, especially one in a position of superiority in the government, and this feeling brought about the emergence of the new concept of localist democracy of the American that personified the idea of 'interest-group politics'.
The concept of equality became so embedded in the minds of ordinary people that the average American came to believe that there was no single force or person on earth who was in any way at all superior to themselves. Thus it was that the ordinary and common man finally found a voice for his opinions and he was able to enter the governmental organization at all points available to him. He was in turn bale to bring to the attention of the government all the small and minute details of which only he was aware of up until that point of time. It was at this time that partisanship became an important feature of the American government that was built on trust, and people began to form parties based on the same principle of trust. Government jobs now became 'payable' and salaries were paid to those in government services, as against the ages old practice of volunteering and therefore no fee being payable to volunteers. (Introduction)
It is a fact that the federalism of America that came into existence more than 200 years ago is still in the process of encouraging and also implementing a large number of changes in its constitution. All the three types of the governing system of America, the federal and the state and the local are all part of the lives of the average American citizen. However, growing expectations of the people and the interrelationships between the different governments have been undergoing vast changes over the years, and these changes have resulted in the growing complexity of the workings of the governments. The Constitution that was formed in the year 1787 was based on the federal system of governance, wherein the people of the country would be able to retain their sovereignty while at the same time delegating some powers to the states as well as to the national governments.
This means that the American government vests large amount of powers in the states wherein they are actually completely functional constitutional polities that can make and break their own decisions for the American citizen at their own free will. There has been a long raging debate, however, about the very nature of American federalism, a debate that was started at the time of the writing of the Constitution of America. While some like George Washington argued for the vesting of more authority and powers in the federal government, some others like Thomas Jefferson were of the opinion that the American Union must be a power that remained within the states only. The American Civil War that was fought in the years from 1860 to 1865 resulted to some extent in the answering…