• 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 US constitution outweigh its weaknesses?

Extracts from this document...


Do the strengths of the US constitution outweigh its weaknesses? (45) The US constitution is a document dating back to 17th December 1787, which effectively sets out the rules by which America must be governed and the citizens must abide by. However is this old document that has only had 15 amendments in the last 200 years able to stand up to the challenges that the 20th Century had to offer and the 21st Century is offering, or alternatively do these challenges show weaknesses within the constitution that outweigh its strengths? The US constitution is codified meaning that the 'rules' by which Americans must adhere to are collated in a single document that it is written. This is the opposite to Britain for example who operate an uncodified constitution meaning that certain laws will be scattered around in several documents or may not even be written down. However is the codified constitution a strength or weakness to America? A strength of a codified is that citizens are able to see their rights via the bill of rights; this means that the Government can't simply alter citizen's rights unless they have a super majority which is exceptionally unlikely. However due to the Constitution being codified and entrenched, it is with great difficulty that changes can be made, explaining that only 15 have been made in the last 200years. ...read more.


Another issue would be whether the Supreme Court is right to question legislation but forward by the elected government? A more democratic view would state that this enables the minorities to have a say against legislation that could potentially prosecute them. This type of action is done through the Checks and Balances system. The checks and balances is a feature much like the Supreme Court that allows the three sections of the American system to be held to accountability. The three parts would include the executive, legislature and judiciary. This is a system of government in which each branch exercises control over the actions of other branches of government. The main checks are done by the legislature on the executive and include amend/delay/rejecting legislature, power of the purse, confirmation of appointments within the senate, impeachment, trial, conviction and removal from office, etc. This is undoubtedly a strength of the US constitution as it allows each branch of government's power to be restricted whilst allowing them to still carry out their job effectively. A weakness of the system is that it potentially doesn't carry out its job as effectively when the houses are controlled by the president's party and hence the level of scrutiny weakens. In addition to this, when the house(s) ...read more.


or just having a desire to succeed, they argue that the best ideas have come when there has been little interference such as when Microsoft was created. Overall they believe in states' rights. The conservatives are severely unhappy with the constitution as they believe that it is interfering too much in the lives of citizens by placing too many restrictions, an example of discontent would be when the NCLB Act 2001 was introduced that got involved at a central level in education, which they strongly felt was a state issue. The centralists believe that the constitution is well balanced as citizens are given enough freedom without restricting government's effectiveness and that history has shown that the constitution stands up. In conclusion it is obvious to see that the US has both weakness - in the form of elections, power to declare war and the conservative view - and positives - as shown by the test of time, its rigidity yet ability to evolve and its check and balances system. I would argue that the positives do outweigh the weaknesses as the constitution has proved over the last 200 years that while it is rigid enough to stop government intervention where not deemed appropriate it has also been able to evolve, as well as allowing citizens to understand their rights. ?? ?? ?? ?? Samuel Lane Year 13 Politics. ...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. Is The US Constitution Too Rigid To Be Effective?

    On the other hand it can be argued that the Constitution is not rendered ineffective by its rigidity. The US is an incredibly rich and powerful country, if there had been problems at the very base of its framework then it would never have become such a huge powerful superpower.

  2. US pressures groups are undemocratic, discuss

    Again, this interlinks with the effects of pressure groups building iron triangles. Groups such as those that represent various ethnic Americans are good examples. These can include the American Jewish Congress or the Organisation of Chinese Americans. Critics view such groups as splitting society by accentuating 'me' rather than 'we'.

  1. Discuss the arguments for and against a codified constitution

    uncodified constitution there is no body that can authorise and legitimise the introduction of a written constitution. Parliament would first have to pass many Bills to declare that statute laws and Acts are no longer valid, which would be immensely time consuming, and that is after a referendum has taken

  2. Do the strengths of the Constitution outweigh the weaknesses?

    Another argued weakness of the constitution is the vague nature of its articles and amendments, and subsequently the power placed into the hands of the Supreme Court, who can interpret the dubious nature therein. Indeed, the constitution has the power of Judicial Review, which it can use to override anything short of a ratified amendment itself in government.

  1. How is Britain's constitution changing in the 21st century?

    The second chamber's primary role is to examine the accountability of the government, and fulfills an important regulation of the constitution. The first stages of constitutional reform has diluted the power of House of Lords, and the Labour administration has yet to find a way in composing the second chamber.

  2. How well does the US Constitution Work

    What history told these men was that unchecked power in the hands of a few inevitably leads to a corrupt and oppressive form of government. The modern era in which we all live clearly cannot be compared to two centuries ago.

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

    Before a bill becomes law, the President must sign it, or veto it. When vetoed, the President must send it back to Congress with his objections. Congress can override it by a 2/3 majority in each house, and then it automatically becomes law, however this can be very hard to achieve.

  2. Critically analyse the appointment and confirmation process for nominees in the US Supreme Court

    is guided by the constitution: Article II section two of the constitution stipulates that the president ?shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint? members of the federal judiciary. [11] The senate who have the power of confirm appointments have been accused of politicising the confirmation process too.

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