How Did The Constitution Guard Against Tyranny?
Tyranny is a malicious enemy, it takes over and, will make you go against your will. The Articles Of Confederation was the first step the American Colonists took to get rid tyranny, but that dramatically failed. The Articles Of Confederation was missing many key parts such as a central government, there was no president, and the wasn’t even a court system. Also it didn’t justify a currency for the whole country.
When you went to other states, they all had different currencies, so it was almost impossible to buy things, because people didn’t know how much one currency was worth compared to the other. Another problem the Articles Of Confederation didn’t cover was that there was no way for the central government to force states to pay their taxes. This was a problem because if states didn’t pay their taxes, the states would be a tyrant over the federal government. American Colonists decided that they needed a new constitution if they didn’t want the country to fall apart.
The framers of the constitution protected us from the terrible evil of tyranny using four methods, which were, Federalism, dividing the government into three branches, a system of checks and balances, and preventing large states from creating a tyranny over the small states. Document A shows that the first step the framer took to protect us from tyranny was using a form of government called Federalism. Madison’s idea of division of power between central and state governments is known as federalism. (Doc A) From the chart in Document A, you can clearly see that this prevents any tyranny from happening.
Powers that are needed to run a country are given to the federal government such as Declaring war, coining money, and conducting foreign relations. (Doc A) Also powers that are needed for a state are given, such as holding elections, and regulating in-state business. (Doc A) Powers that are needed by both states, and the federal law are shared. This prevents any tyranny from happening because the states can’t take control of federal powers, and the federal government can’t take control of state powers. They can only take the power shared and the powers they own.
The second step the framers took to protect us from tyranny was divide the central government into three branches. The section taken from the constitution it’s self shows the three branches of government. James Madison said, “the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, wether of one, a few, or many, and wether hereditary, self-appointed, or elected, may be justly pronounced the very definition of tyranny. (Doc B) The constitution clearly doesn’t put the powers of legislative, executive, and judiciary in one, or many hands.
All the branches have split powers. The Legislative branch can only have the powers of congress. (Doc B) The Executive branch has powers vested within the president. (Doc B) Lastly, the Judicial branch has its powers vested in the highest court of the nation, the Supreme Court. As you can see the constitution prevents any branch to gain any more power from other branches. You may ask, “wasn’t Germany a democracy before Hitler took over? ” Yes it was, but the next paragraph explains how the constitution prevented any other branch from taking over powers of another branch.
The framers of the constitution created an ingenious way to prevent tyranny of one branch over other branches, with a system of checks and balances. James Madison said, “the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that they may be a check on the other”. (Doc C) The diagram shows the branches have checks on each other. If the president tries to take the power of another branch, than the legislative branch can impeach the president. (Doc C) This is one of the checks of the legislative branch on the Executive branch.
Each branch has a check of every other branch, so if one branch is doing something wrong, another branch can check the wronged branch, and fix the problem. This probably answers your question on how another branch can’t take control. One of the last things the framer of the constitution did to make sure no tyrant would arise, was to make sure the smaller states got a fair vote in congress. In the constitutional convention, two plans were proposed called the Virginia plan, and the New Jersey plan. The Virginia plan was favored large states, and was based of population.
The New jersey plan favored small states, and gave each state an equal amount of votes. Eventually they came up of something called the great compromise, and they proposed that congress would be composed of the senate, and The House Of Representatives. The House Of Representatives is based of population, which provides fairness to large states. (Doc D) On the other hand, the Senate has two representatives from each state, which provides fairness to smaller states. (Doc D) Undoubtedly, this provides fairness among both large, and small states, ultimately taking a closer step to rid of tyranny.
To sum it up, the framers of the constitution protected us from the terrible evil of tyranny using the four methods, Federalism, dividing the government into three branches, a system of checks and balances, and preventing large states from creating a tyranny over the small states in congress. James Madison said, “the accumulation of powers in the same hands, wether of one, a few, or many, is the very definition of tyranny” , and the constitution does a good job of preventing that. The framers succeeded in creating a well built constitution because all four methods have created security that no tyrant, or tyranny would arise.