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

To what extent is the American Constitution an elitist document?Why then did the framers provide for public participation in the political process?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Gerard Cullen Student Number: 11425989 To what extent is the American Constitution an elitist document? Why then did the framers provide for public participation in the political process? The best way to approach this assignment is to split it into two and answer first to what extent do I feel the American Constitution an elitist document. When this has been answered then it will be possible to move on to try to understand why the framers of the constitution provided for public participation in the political process. I should begin by saying that I think the Constitution is a very elitist document, but before I elaborate on that opinion I feel that it is necessary to firstly define what an 'elite' is, and also to provide a bit of background information on the Constitution. An elite is defined by Webster's Dictionary as the best of a class; the socially superior part of society; or a group of persons who by virtue of position or education exercise power or influence. When we talk about elites though we have to bear in mind that they prize order and stability above all else, and if they can preserve the status quo they will, however this is diverting from the main question. It is perhaps the last part of the definition that is most relevant when we come to the American Constitution, and ask ourselves to what extent it is an elitist document. ...read more.

Middle

Again we can see just how elitist the Constitution is because it benefits big business even though the majority of the population were small freeholders and small merchants that benefited from a certain degree of protectionism. Economic elitism can also be seen in the parts of the constitution that give Congress powers over the regulation and value of money, bankruptcy laws, weights and measures, and so forth. These powers would enhance financial stability in the nation and this move could only benefit the more economically orientated members of the Constitutional Convention. There is also evidence of military elitism within the Constitution. Section 8 of Article 1 provides for the creation of an army and navy. Naturally a nation needs an army and navy, but this act has to be seen in the context of just what the American elites gained from it. The Constitution concentrated the military might of the USA under the Commander in Chief aka the President. The President also had the power, with the advice of the senate, to make treaties and to send and receive ambassadors. We have seen that the Founding Fathers wished to create a strong centralised government and this concentration of military and diplomatic might gave them the ability to do just that, with the added benefit of giving them the means to put down any revolution that might occur. ...read more.

Conclusion

And even this pales in comparison with the Electoral College. Essentially when the people vote in a presidential election they vote for delegates to the Electoral College who then choose the president from the candidates. What is wrong with this system is when you take into consideration that each state sends delegates to the Electoral College on a basis of population; and in each state the candidate with the most votes takes all the electoral votes (even if they win by only 1%); then those who did not vote for the candidate are effectively throwing their votes away. This system is further complicated by the fact that in the beginning the Electoral College was envisaged as a way for the elites to ensure that their preferred candidate got the job, and to enable them to 'correct' any misjudgements the public might have made on polling day. In conclusion therefore it can be seen that the American Constitution is a very elitist document, by virtue of the way in which it was conceived; the men who wrote it; the economic elitism imbedded in the document and of course the military elitism. Secondly the question as to why the framers of the Constitution provided for public participation is an easy one - they provided for public participation because they had diluted it so much, and built in so many checks and balances that they did not have to worry about threats to stability and order, which were after all the greatest concerns of elites. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Consider the view that the arguments for having an electoral college to elect the ...

    5 star(s)

    Hardly very democratic? The same can be said to ring true now as California and Texas' huge populations would easily undermine the tiny populations of Wyoming and Alaska, squashing their votes if a new system based directly on the popular vote was initiated.

  2. To what extent is it fair to say America is a land of 100 ...

    The USA should have more active and potent parties but partisan attitudes do not help and with both parties so intertwined in their policies, it is easier to switch from one to the other without being seen as "selling out".

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

    Anti-Federalists demanded that the Constitution be amended before they would consider it or that amendments be a condition of ratification; Federalists had retorted that it had to be accepted or rejected as it was. Ratification in Massachusetts and almost all the rest of the uncommitted states depended on the understanding

  2. "Merely a 'bargainer in chief'." Is this a fair assessment of the American president?

    of other areas, the veto; which is when the president can veto a congressional decision, and the EXOP; the executive office of the president.

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

    The changes to the constitution in the twenty first century is definitely determining a lesser role of Westminster and serving to challenge the unitary nature of the constitution always prescribed to previously. Regional Assemblies The move to devolved national bodies has magnified a cry for regions in England to have some kind of autonomy.

  2. Does public participation in the presidential nomination process advance or hinder democracy?

    cancer to run for presidency, was seen to have a lighter schedule than his rivals. Although many admired him as a person and like his policies, they saw in the primaries that he might not have the physical resilience to be president.

  1. Discuss the view that the Electoral College should be reformed.

    is due to its ?winner-takes-all? mechanism whereby the presidential candidate who wins the most popular votes in the State wins all the Electoral votes of that State. One effect of this mechanism is to make it extremely difficult for third party or independent candidates ever to make much of a showing in the Electoral College.

  2. How far do you agree the USA remains a global hegemony today?

    While current trends may suggest a shying away from polarization of American leadership and more towards equality within global markets, global trade is largely dependent on a strong U.S. policy setting role. Technological Leadership Is the United States a leading state in terms of technology?

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