How Did the Constitution Satisfy Complaints Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

United States Constitution concentrates on. It will address how it treated the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and the complaints in the Declaration of Independence.

How the Constitution Deals with Weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation

One key factor that has helped keep the constitution of the United States alive is the processes involved in its amendment. These processes require 2/3 majority votes from the two houses of Congress or by every state legislature. The Articles of Confederation could not be changed easily because a unanimous vote required from each of the states. As the number of the sates in the United States increased from 13 to 50, it would have been almost impossible to change the articles. No judicial system was provided for the United States by the Articles of Confederation.

In the same way, Congress lacked the legal power to enforce any laws (Morelock, n.d). Each of the created states had its own interpretation of its own laws and enforced them as it wished. This brought about significant discrepancies and conflicts between the U.S. states with varying policies. As no federal judiciary was in place, no entity had the powers to settle these conflicts that arose between different states. A collection of essays that encouraged the endorsement of the Constitution is known as the Federalist papers. In these papers, Alexander Hamilton appealed in No. 78-81 for a judicial arm where there is always a revered judiciary that has the final say to correct all the failings of the Articles of Confederation. A unicameral legislative system exists in the United States under the Articles of Confederation. This means that only one chamber or House of Congress existed. The unicameral legislative system offered no checks and balances with regards to Congress at the time states were unwilling to surrender power to a federal system of government for fear of abuse.

The checks and balances system was created in the Constitution to address these weaknesses.

How the Constitution Addressed the Complaints in the Declaration of Independence

As the debates on whether the Constitution should be adopted or not were on, those who opposed the Constitution argued that adopting it would encourage tyranny by the federal government. The British violation of the Civil Rights, which occurred before the Revolution and at the time of Revolution, was fresh on their minds.

They made a demand for a bill of rights that will state the immunities individual citizens would be entitled to. A number of state conferences in their official endorsement of the Constitution requested for such amendments; others approved the Constitution with the belief that proper amendments would be made.

In 1789, September 25 to be precise, the United States First Congress sent a proposal to all state legislatures for 12 amendments to the Constitution that met the opinions that advanced against the Bill of Rights most frequently.

The first two amendments proposed, which addressed the number of constituents for each of the Representatives as well the compensation of Congress, could not be ratified. However, articles 3-12, which were ratified by 3/4 of the legislatures make up the first 10 Constitutional amendments, called the Bill of Rights. This Bill of Rights looked into the complaints outlined in the Declaration of Independence (Bill of Rights, n.d).

Slavery and Representation

From when the American colonies started forming a Union, a number of questions came up concerning the relationship between the United States Constitution and the slavery institution. Looking closely at the deed documented in Philadelphia in 1787, the use of the words slave and slavery were exposed as ambiguity since they were never used in the United States Constitution (Boyd, 1995). There were debates by the farmers as to the extent slavery would be included, allowed, or forbidden in the Constitution. Eventually, they created a deed of compromise to represent the interest of the U.S. to the best of their knowledge and made a prediction about it being in the future. Explaining to the Framers an understanding of slavery, according to the Constitution, calls for a careful consideration of the three different clauses that deal with the subject. The very first indication of slavery as contained in the Constitution can be found in Article 1, section 2. This three-fifths clause explains the apportionment of taxation and representation. It reads thus:

"Direct taxes and representatives shall be apportioned among all the States, which may be made part of this Union, following their respective Numbers. This shall be ascertained by adding to the total number of free individuals, including all those bound to serve a single term of a number of years, and excluding the Indians that were not taxed, three-fifths of all the individuals."

The Great Compromise and how Representation of States in Congress is Determined Conceivably, the greatest argument put forward by the 1787 Constitutional Convention delegates majored on the number of representatives every state would have in the U.S. Congress when the new federal government became effective. As a usual practice in all cases of government and politics, resolving great issues often required some great compromise. In this regard, the great Compromise of 1787. Delegates envisioned early during the Constitutional Convention that the U.S. Congress should be one chamber with a specific number of representatives from every state.

A representative from the State of Connecticut, Roger Sherman, put forward a substitute to the bicameral or a Congress with dual chambers that would comprise a House of Representatives and Senate. According Sherman, each state would have the same number of senators and one member of the House of Representative for every 30, 000 residents in the state (Longley, n.d).

This idea by Sherman was well received by other delegates, both large and small, and came to be known as the Great Compromise or Connecticut Compromise of 1787. The powers and structures of the newly constituted U.S. Congress, as the delegates proposed at the Constitutional Convention and explained to the people, by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison are found in the Federalist Papers 52-66. Each state is today represented in the Congress by two Senators and different number of members of the House of Representative, depending on the population of the state, according to a recent decennial census (Longley, n.d). The process of fair determination of the number of representatives that would represent each state in the House of Representatives is known as apportionment.

In 1790, there were 4 million Americans in the first census. Based on that census, the overall number of elected members in the House of Representatives increased from the initial 65-106. In 1911, the House Membership was set at 435.

The Electoral College structure can be traced back to the Centurial Assembly system of the Roman Republic. The adult male Roman citizens were divided into 100 groups according to their wealth. Each group of 100, known as a century, had only one slot when it came to casting votes either in favor of or against proposals the Roman Senate submitted. The states serve as the Centurial groups in the Electoral College system, but based on wealth, they are not. The size of the congressional delegation of each state determined the number of votes they were allowed to cast. Yet, the two systems had so many similarities in designs and share several of the merits and demerits (Kimberling, n.d). To make sure there were no pie votes in the Electoral College, which the proliferation of political parties made probable, and somehow inevitable, according to the 12th amendment, each candidate was mandated to vote for the president and the vice-president separately, rather than casting one vote for both of them.

Schiller and Stewart carries out an investigation on the dynamics involved in the state elections under the indirect system using the original data set of all votes casted for United States senators, taken in all state legislatures between 1871-1913. Their argument was that the 17th amendment was not able to deliver and created a senate that was far less receptive to voters than those elected during the indirect election system (West and Stone, 2013). Under the indirect election system, there was a deep pool of candidates with seasoned politicians that wished to persist in office like we have today. Inefficiency and corruption under indirect elections (by senate legislature) of the senators were the main driving forces for the amendment, one aspect of the progressive movement for a more open, accessible and a more responsive government.

Every state has three arms of government, the same way the federal government is; they are the judiciary, the legislative arm and the executive. These three arms of government are almost the same at both state and federal levels. Every state, despite its population, elects only two senators to represent its population in the senate for 6 years. 1/3 of the senate is elected every two years, which means some states do not have Senatorial elections during some general elections. The general election year is the year most states elect their senators.

General elections fall in…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Boyd, S. (1995). Ashbrook -- Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government. A Look Into the Constitutional Understanding of Slavery -- Ashbrook. Retrieved October 31, 2015, from http://ashbrook.org/publications/respub-v6n1-boyd /

DeLaney, A. (n.d.). How-To Help and Videos - For Dummies . Understanding Elected Offices - For Dummies . Retrieved October 29, 2015, from http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/understanding-elected-offices.html

Kimberling, W. (n.d.). Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. The Electoral College - Origin and History. Retrieved October 31, 2015, from http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_history.php

(n.d.). Legal Dictionary. Commerce Clause legal definition of Commerce Clause. Retrieved October 31, 2015, from http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Commerce+Clause

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