• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Do the strengths of the Constitution outweigh the weaknesses?

Extracts from this document...


Do the strengths of the Constitution outweigh the weaknesses? The American Constitution was originally created by the founding fathers to protect the values of personal liberty and equality of opportunity, but just how effective is it as a codified set of rules that serve to balance the interests and powers of government against those of the people? Do any of its weaknesses compromise its role as higher law? One of the most commonly argued weaknesses of the constitution criticises the hindrance it has on government and quick, decisive action. The nature of the document's entrenchment is both its greatest strength and weakness, as any action taken by the government cannot be in conflict with the laws of the constitution, even if it acts in the interests of wider society. The slow process of amendment, and the substantial majority required in order to propose and ratify it, means that it fundamentally weakens the position of government and authority. It is a measured contrast to the UK political system for example, where no such codified or entrenched law exists, and therefore the system can act both unhindered and without great swathes of bureaucracy. But is this truly a weakness? The founding fathers purposefully created this document to prevent the power of government surpassing the liberty of the people; expediency may simply be the small price to pay for that. ...read more.


The problem with the second amendment is that it is a relic of an era where the 'right to bear arms' was an arguable necessity to protect ones property and from tyranny. In modern America, even if a state is largely against gun ownership, it is still enforced upon them. It is arguably something that should be rescinded to state level, because the need for such an amendment has long passed. Unfortunately, this exposes another fundamental flaw in the constitution, that the long process allows a minority of states to override the want of a majority of states, who, unless 75% of them reach a consensus, will not be able to restrict the imposition of such an archaic amendment. Another, very frequently expressed argument against the current constitution, is that it doesn't promote 'true' liberty. America likes to think of itself as a meritocracy, where all individuals have equal rights and privileges. This however, has very specific contextual elements, traced back through history; we find for example that black slaves were only counted as 3/5ths of a citizen in congress, this continued into segregation, Japanese interment camps (which further highlights the 'flexibility' of the constitution for 'US citizens') etc. Clearly, there is an element of discrimination in the Constitution, an unwritten clause that allows it to apply only to certain individuals; 'these rules only apply to you if you fall into category X, Y and, Z'. ...read more.


congress the ability to go to war, but decided because it met too infrequently, that the president should have the power to declare war instead. This, in part, has lead to congress acting as a supervisory entity to the president; the opposite of what was intended. This is an example of how the constitution has not prevented the concentration of power. The role that the electoral colleges play is also regarded as a somewhat dangerous (As evidenced by the election of George Bush) gap in the constitution's aims to protect democracy and 'the free and natural path to lead'. But, many argue; checks and balances still exist, and the other two branches of government; Congress and the Supreme court, have the ability to remove a president, regardless of how much power he has accumulated, via the process of impeachment granted in the constitution. This, they argue, is a positive thing, a president with a great deal of power that is still held in check, is more effective than a powerful but slow congress, as the president can act quickly, and then be 'yanked back on the leash' if things go overboard. In conclusion, it really comes down to how one views government, as a pragmatist or as an idealist. If one is pragmatic about the relationship government has with its people, then the difficulty involved in changing the constitution and the safeguards it has for its citizens are more desirable. Matthew Robins -1- ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United States section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United States essays

  1. Do the strengths of the US constitution outweigh its weaknesses?

    10 of these 27 amendments were made within the first two years of the constitution in the form of the Bill of Rights. Another difficulty to obtaining the super majority is that since 1969 there has only been 10 years where one party has had a majority in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate.

  2. Why did it take so long to ratify the American Constitution?

    Ratification Conventions were held, and the speeches from these used rhetoric and similar devices and arguments to those used in the essays. The Federalist papers provided mainly responses to the Anti-Federalist papers and explained how the constitution would work and how it would improve life.

  1. Does the UK have a 'constitution'

    > Codification:The constitution is written down in a single document, and so is organised into a clear set of principles and rules. We should learn from the US Constitution of 1787. There are many advantages of adopting a written constitution in Britain, as there are many pressure groups, political figures and ordinary people who believe that Britain should have one.

  2. The British Constitution

    A written constitution is a rigid document. Any changes in law need a two-thirds majority in each house, making urgent changes harder to put into place. If a change to the constitution itself is required, three-quarters of the states support is necessary.

  1. Comparison of US and UK Constitution

    There is an emphasis on the separation of powers within the US constitution. The UK constitution does not create this separation of powers. Although in the UK the judiciary is largely independent, members of the executive are members of parliament making them indirectly part of the legislative branch.

  2. Assess the view that the US Constitution often ensures limited government

    Luckily then, that one check the legislature has over the executive, is that the Senate must confirm appointments to the Courts made by the President. In 1987, Reagan appointed Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, however the Senate rejected his nomination.

  1. The Separation of Church and State in America.

    Any government funded entity should not have the ability to discriminate against anyone because of their own religion or others. According to the supreme court, a religious institution that receives government funding cannot decide not to hire someone based on their religion ( Ellement, http://www.boston.com).

  2. American Government Term Paper #1. Discuss the theory of Checks and Balances as outlined ...

    An important aspect of the separation of powers was to give each of the branches a noticeably diverse constituency, or community. Federalism was a ?step toward greater centralization of power? (We the People). It created two rulers, the nation and the states, hoping the rivalry would limit power for both groups.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work