• 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. How well does the US Constitution Work

    the Constitution, ensuring the powers of the branches of government do not drift from one to another. Furthermore each branch would be responsible for ensuring the balance of power between each other and that the powers are used responsibly. To ensure that the separation of powers and checks and balances

  2. 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

  1. Is The US Constitution Too Rigid To Be Effective?

    In doing so they created a system with a strong Government, which is checked, by various systems to ensure citizens are protected. The 'right to bear arms' protects citizens against a violent oppressive government as they are able to fight back and are also able to form themselves into an impressive militia for whatever purpose.

  2. US pressures groups are undemocratic, discuss

    Christian rights or fundamentalist forms in Iraq /Iran. During the 1990s violence erupted in America where shootings, murders and bombings broke out around abortion clinics by pro-life groups. The activities went to such an extent that these radical movements also assassinated doctors who carried out abortions.

  1. Outline the differences between the electoral systems for the US Presidency, the US Senate ...

    with the question of liberty, this was the revolutionary, at the time, concept of republicanism. The members of the lower house were not intended to represent state interests but to represent the local issues of their constituencies.

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

    Clarence Thomas? appearance before the Committee could have been prevented through a private investigation. Senate committee hearings for confirmations can be hijacked and can be characterised as what Calvin Mackenzie describes as ?invasive scrutiny and cruel and punishing publicity?[18]. It appears that senate committees can be subverted to political battlegrounds and forums of slander and scandal.

  1. 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.

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

    The Fourteenth Amendment was adopted in 1868, bringing civil rights to be a part of the Constitution. ?The Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed equal protection and due process? (We the People). The Fourteenth Amendment has a clause, which is the equal protection clause, ?No State shall make or enforce any law which

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