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Essay: Is the Constitution of the USA democratic?

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  • Subject area(s): Politics essays
  • Reading time: 2 minutes
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  • Published: 30 April 2018*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 507 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 3 (approx)

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Democracy is standardly defined as the “control of an organization or group by the majority of its members.” Therefore the constitution of the United States cannot be defined as democratic and, consequently, cannot be praised as a triumph of democracy because it did not create a government system lead by the majority of its members or even lead by representatives of these members. Instead, the constitution outlined a government lead by representatives of a minority of the population: white men who would have, generally, been landowners. While the exclusion of the vote was written into the document specifically regarding all people of color, women were rejected their suffrage by the governments of states. When the government of a country is so clearly defined, by their highest laws, as strongly undemocratic it is exceedingly difficult to name it as a triumph for the cause.

The constitution of the United States of America is undemocratic due to the fact that our Presidential elections are not, in fact, democratic. The authors of the constitution decided that the common people were not generally well-informed or educated enough to vote properly and created the electoral college as a way to avoid giving power to a group that the ‘founding fathers’ believed were too easily to coerced through emotional arguments rather than looking at a situation logically. The electoral college was created as “a body of presidential electors composed of men of exceptional wisdom and virtue who would choose the chief executive unswayed by the popular opinion.” These people were rich white men chosen by other rich white men who could choose to cast their state’s vote for any candidate regardless of the popular vote. Following the definition of a democracy as being lead by the majority of the people a system in which the actual electors may completely disregard the votes of the people cannot be described by that label.

A strong argument against the Constitution’s ‘triumph’ of democracy lies in the fact that slavery was that the primary author, James Madison, was a slave owner who, following the wishes of the other founding fathers of the United States, wrote slavery directly into the constitution by way of the ‘three-fifths’ clause. This clause stated that the federal government would include slaves in the population count of each state when deciding the number of representatives that would be sent to Congress per state. While slavery is not expressly mentioned, the constitution, instead, refers to “all those bound in service for a term of years” it is clear exactly what the founding fathers of the United States meant. They simply masked their undemocratic statement in more eloquent and charming language. A document cannot be a triumph of democracy when it clearly goes against the base definition of the term. A document defining a system in which a large group of people are not only held in slavery but denied the right to vote and then used to increase the power of the vote of their captors is not a triumph of democracy.

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