Constitution is a government agreement whereby it obtains full authority from the governed. It defines the composition of the government, the purpose of the government, and the authorities of each government department. In addition, the relationship between the states, the public, how the government institutions are related to each other, and the government limits are also clearly defined. This essay paper will be discussing deeply the American constitution, how democratic and anti-democratic it has been, and how it should be improved to be more democratic. A democratic government is whereby the public has got the power to decide policy matters directly through a meeting or through votes (Greenberg, 380).
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The American constitution has been regarded as among the best constitution globally for its long duration use and remaining unchanged. Despite this view, this constitution has received several criticisms. The American constitution was considered to be undemocratic due to some of its features. For instance, senators were only elected by popular vote which was against the ruling of the legislature. Women and young adults aged between 18 and 20 years were not allowed to vote (Greenberg, 387).
The above aspects in the constitution have changed with time though there are some which are still signifying a lack of democracy.
The American government is using the constitution which was written in 1787 by men who were considered to be exceptionally wise, and then it was approved by conventions by all the states through conventions. The constitutional convention which was held in Philadelphia in 1787 was the one that came up with the constitution. The American constitution was written by men who died a long time ago and it’s the one ruling up to now. Americans have had no chances to air their views in their constitutional system. The researches are done to show that, most people do not agree on the contents of the ruling constitution (Stimson, 98). The constitution of America is on the other hand considered to be good as it has been applied for a very long time. However, the citizens claim that it does not meet the standards of the current democracy.
The American constitution has been turned down by many states as they consider it to be below the current democratic standards. Most of the advanced democratic states have adopted a very different constitutional system from that of the United States of America. This has acted as a clear sign that the constitutional system of America is not admirable as it lacks a lot of democratic standards. All sorts of the shortcomings which are involved with the constitutional they are solved through the fact that America is not a democracy but a republic (Stimson, 105).
The men who were actively involved in writing the American constitution in 1787 in Philadelphia were later found to be wrong in all aspects such as morally, politically, and constitutionally (Stimson, 107). The framers of the constitution did not show any interest in terminating slavery. It was through the effort of the later generation that slavery was abolished. On the other hand, the American constitution promised all the citizens who were living near the water to be paying lower prices and taxes on the imported goods.
The modern American constitution has a problem of allowing the rise of a complete supreme and huge federal power. Through this, the constitution is not in a position to protect properties or human rights as it is intended. In the American constitution, the legislative branch is much powerful, such that they never wish to vote to avoid giving out those powers. This makes the ruling adopt a one-way ratchet instead of it being a two-way system (Greenberg, 450). At this point, the constitution should change the legislative branch to be democratic to ensure fair ruling among the citizens. In the American constitution, the executive branch is also very powerful. The duties which fall under this branch are not well defined and the policies of non-delegation are not put into effect. As a result of this, a stable unelected lawmaking administration is realized, which executes some duties in a very undemocratic way.
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This part of the constitution should be changed to act in a more democratic manner (Greenberg, 462). According to the current American constitution, the use of elections is emphasized so much ignoring the use of lotteries. Depending on the wish of the public it can be fair for some officials to be chosen by lottery, as this would solve most of the challenges which the public is facing. However, the great powers given to the national government are an advantage, as they allowed the problems to be solved deeply and widely.
In addition, one of the greatest violations of democracy is the structure of the courts in relation to the constitution which interprets the laws. A wonderful democratic constitution does not allow government officials to be interpreters of their own powers. The flow of the authority has been distracted by the idea of allowing federal courts to interpret federal powers and the state authorities to be interpreted by the state courts. The judicial body of the American constitution is also a one-way system that contributes towards oppression (Greenberg, 480).
The judiciary acts independently from the legislature and executive as both executive and legislature have failed to execute some of their duties properly. For instance, it’s their role to select judges but this is ignored. The public considers it better and of much democracy if lower court judges are selected by a lottery of the lawyers who have scored the best in the state bar exam and have been in practice for their profession for not less than five years (Greenberg, 502). The high court judges should as well be elected by a lottery for the lower court judges who have been working for not less than five years. Through this, the legislative body will be able to select qualified judges and remove them in case of illegal actions.
Most Americans argue that the actions of courts were better off during the colonization era than the ones outlined by the constitution. Another outstanding feature of the undemocratic constitution is the composition of the senate. It was well known that each state despite its population density was to have two senators. However it was received with a lot of complaints when one half of the United States population was represented by 18 senators and the other half was represented by 82 senators (Stimson, 255). Around 55% of the population sent twenty senators to Washington to stand for them. Less than 3% of the population sent 20 senators to stand for them in Washington.
Moreover, Electoral College is another feature that makes the American constitution to be viewed as undemocratic. This institution has been known for upsetting the equal representation of the citizens. Its impact on American history has been negative. During the constitutional convention, it received a lot of opposition, but unfortunately, it qualified on a last-minute vote (Stimson, 260). It has never executed its duties and responsibilities as it is required but instead, it has been causing a lot of constitutional crisis. During the events of four presidential elections, citizens ended up with the president who had the least votes, as a result, citizens wanted the Electoral College to be abolished through seven hundred proposals, but unfortunately, the senate was against that action. However, the approval of the constitution was accepted by most of the people because the bill of rights was included.
The undemocratic constitution began during the writing down of the constitution. The framers were very experienced but they were divided in decision making. Some refused even to sign, and the decisions were in the hands of the elected delegates instead of using the popular votes. Another feature of an undemocratic constitution is the congressional power (Stimson, 265). The national government could not lead the economy as the powers of Congress were minimal compared to other democratic governments. Some aspects like social security were made impossible as the central government did not possess some powers to tax incomes.
Some crucial issues lacked clear constitutional authorization such as food and drugs, banking systems, and air safety. Without well-defined regulatory actions, these services were made unavailable to the citizens. Failure to guarantee the right of suffrage, and placing the qualifications of suffrage in the hands of the state was another feature of the undemocratic constitution (Greenberg, 530). As a result of this, some groups of people were excluded such as women, African-Americans, as well as local Americans. In addition, it took a lot of time before women and African Americans could be allowed to cast their votes. In the contents of the American constitution, some issues were not strictly outlined. For instance, it was a routine for the president to lie to Congress, and even the public, and all this was left to pass without any penalties.
In the United States, the judicial powers empower the judges to rule unconstitutional any authority or regulation. This does not matter if the law has been approved by the legislative branch and the president’s signature is put. Judges are appointed instead of being elected. They hold their positions for life making them independent. The main source of the undemocratic constitution is the federalist movement (Greenberg, 570). They acted completely anti-democratic during the time of making the constitutional draft and its approval. The federalists were not considered as an official party at the beginning but during the initial years of American independence, it became one of the main parties. The federalists believed that approval of a democratic constitution will lead to abuse of power and oppression. There were a lot of limits that were placed by the constitution, for instance, the idea of holding an indirect presidential election and unfair elections of the senators.
In conclusion, the united state’s constitution remains among the best constitutions in the world. During its approval, it was a sure revolutionary as far as giving equality and liberty among all Americans without any form of discrimination. Despite all the criticisms this constitution has received since the time it was written until now, some scholars have been opting for it (Greenberg, 602). The American constitution has got its strengths and weaknesses just like any other constitution from a different state. Weighing its pros and cons and then comparing it to the constitutions of other states, it proves to be among the most successful constitutions.
The fact that it has been in operation since the time it was approved and unchanged, its success has been clearly defined.
Greenberg, S.E. and Page, B. Americas Democratic Public, (3rd ed), ISBN9780205646814. Longman, 2008.
Stimson, F. J. The American Constitution, ISBN1110562802, 9781110562800. BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2009.