The U.S. Constitution: Article’s 1 and 2

Article I Section 1. of The Constitution of the United States of America outlines the design of the legislative branch of the U.S. Government, which is known as the Congress.

Ideas that need to be considered through this section of the Constitution is how there is the separation of power made between the various levels of government. This separation helps to balance the election of representatives and senators. The process of electing these two is important towards the laws that are initiated within the United States of America along with the power the Congress attains through this. It is interesting how the Constitution helps to separate the powers because if there was no separation there would most likely be a lot of arguments towards who is right or wrong when something goes wrong. People tend to want a leader or at least a group of people who have more power above them. The only reason for this is so that if a mistake is made by someone of lower power then there at least an option to blame someone else such as a boss…

Article Two helps to establish the idea of there being an executive branch for the federal government. Which is there to support the federal government by making responsible choices towards carrying out the federal laws the country needs.

Section 2. of Article Two explains the basis of the powers of the presidency. Further explaining the fact that the president is also there to listen to the commander-in-chief within the military along with other roles the president needs to commit to. The thing is an executive branch is needed so that the government does not need to waste their time on smaller matters or laws that the country needs to address. The president is not the leader of the military but when the Constitution says that the president is commander-in-chief. The thing is the president needs to have a say in what happens within battles, he needs to be able to support decisions for the benefit of the country and himself. Do they not give the president full control over the military because there is a chance that the president could make an unjust decision? For one person to control the military and have control over almost everything else that occurs within the United States of America would be too much power for one person.

I feel that separation of power within a country is important when it comes to making respectively agreeable decisions. I feel that the powers given to the presidency had been carefully thought on by the delegates who wrote the Constitution. In my opinion, giving one person the power to control how a country runs is okay but only when the person chosen has the education required to run, lead and speak for the country in a non-discriminatory way.

The US Constitution Articles I & II: An Constitutional Analysis on Achieving a Balanced Nation

Within this blog post, my aim is to assess how well the United States (US) Constitution has succeeded with meeting certain needs and desires of the people of the United States. Among these needs and desires, there is to, “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” (Preamble US Constitution, 1789). As the US Constitution was created to answer the needs of its people, I believe this would be a potent analysis of it.

All throughout the Constitution, there are statements made about there being different branches of the US government, and what duties these branches fulfill. They all hold different roles concerning the nation’s government, where each branch is optimally designed to meet their appointed responsabilities towards the people, and have the power to restrain each other, where no branch can overpower another or act unconstitutionally. For example, “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People” (Article 1, Section 2). In class, we learned additionally that the Senators are not elected directly by the people, to safeguard against public whim and potential election of demagogues. As the senate has, overall, higher powers than the House of Commons in the Constitution–for example they have the final say in Impeachments, the final say in passing any bill or bill to generate revenue, and require a higher age limit to hold office–this disallowance of the people directly electing senators safeguards the nation from leaning into popular extremism and prevents the government from having instability. In that sense, the government ensures domestic tranquility for the people.

My second assertion about the Constitution is on how well balanced the system the actions of the government reach the people. Primarily, is how the power of the US is divided between State and Federal legislatures. Certain abilities such as, “The times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,” (Article 1, Section 4) or appointing, “a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress,” (Article 2, Section 1), are granted to the individual states. Whereas, the federal legislature holds the ability, “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof,” (Article 1, Section 8). Through these last three quotes, I am demonstrating how the Constitution divides the power of the government in a way which promotes the justice and liberty of the people to a reasonable maximum. As the election of Senators, Representatives, or Electors is held in the individual states, it reflects more accurately what ideas people have in the varying states (however many people would advocate for a popular vote/democratic election in place of this system), whereas tasks or issues that are unanimous across the entire US is, rationally, best dealt by the federal goverment. This way, the varying goals of the Constitution, such as justice/liberty, safety and prosperity, are best met as a balance is struck between them in their execution.

In essence, the United States Constitution revolutionized how governments worked in the past, and created a very unique governmental system. This system held many different elements all designed and arranged in a way that was thought best for carrying out its own responsabilities. Then, a balance was struck in the government to not lean too far into one constitutional goal over another, where e.g. an age limit was imposed on senators to improve national security, and any random person could be elected into the House of Representatives if the public willed it, improving liberty. It is left to wonder then, to what extent has the Constitution benefitted the people of the US, and what problems does it have?

US Constitution: Articles I & II

The first two articles of the US Constitution place control in the hands of two classified groups: the legislature and the president. The people chosen to fulfill those roles are elected by a third,  greater power: the people. Although they all carry influence and power, there is a gradation of importance between these groups, especially the ones within the government. Yet I must wonder, how prominent  is this gradation?

We are first introduced to the importance of each group in similar passages in Articles I and II. Regarding representatives, the Constitution states, “No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States,” (Article I, Section 2) whereas for the president, “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States . . .  shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.” (Article II, Section 1) The annotation of that first quotation states that unlike representatives, senators must be 30 years old, and 9 years a citizen. (p. 2)  From this information, we can conclude that from least to most important, we can rank the jobs: representatives, senators, president. Although this is not surprising, it is important to establish the hierarchical aspects within the constitution when discussing the division of power.

On the other hand, reading the Constitution has debunked some of those same ideas that the president is the leaderthe one who is completely in charge— and that everyone else has a minor role below him. Realistically, the president’s principal jobs are approving bills (Article I, Section 7), commanding the Militia (Article II, Section 2), making treaties (Article II, Section 2), appointing other government officials, and (not to be an elastic clause) other roles not specifically stated. The legislature’s duties are much more extensive, hence the fact that Article I is much longer than Article II. This had led me to realize that having the “executive Power”  is not what it seems.  Now, I am not minimizing the role, because I fully comprehend that being the president involves a great deal of work that is not mentioned in the Constitution. What I am saying, however, is that in terms of laws and regulation of the US, the nation is not as reliant on this figurehead than I previously thought.

The House has a (more) democratic system involving direct representation: when there are more people within a state, there are more representatives (Article I, Section 2). The senate resembles a republic, in the sense that each state has two elected senators, regardless of the size of the state (Article I, Section 3), meaning that it does not represent the people to scale. We like to call the United States a democracy, and yet the Constitution is a, if not the primary historical document used. The combination of these republican systems along with the non-existent mention of democracy in the Constitution shows that perhaps we have been using the word to express what we want for the nation, not what we have.

When entering Office, the president must take the oath, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (Article II, Section 1) So, in essence, they are seeking to defend the constitution, not the people. Consider what this oath protected before the amendments. To oversimplify, it would be white males. Even presently, the president is referred to as, “he” throughout the Constitution, reaffirming the belief that white men were the only beings considered “people”. If the president’s role us to uphold the Constitution, will change ever occur? Amendments change the Constitution, but to what extent?

The first two Articles of the Constitution explain the current division of power in the United States, according to a group of white men in 1787. Since then, 27 amendments have been made to this document that the US has deemed a necessary part of their government. And who knows, maybe it is essential. Maybe it will continue being the primary historical document they use in the leadership of their nation. However, I must ask, will there ever be a point where we have make so many amendments that we realize the Constitution is outdated? Is it still the best system for an evolving nation such at this one?

Constitution: Articles I and II

The first two articles of the American constitution, very broadly, divide official power into two main sections: law creators and law enforcers. The legislature, made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate, has the power to “propose or concur with amendments [to] Bills” (p. 7), as well as propose new bills relating to  taxation, national and international trade, immigration, finance, public services, courts of law, etc. (pp. 7-10). The presidency, on the other hand, has the duty of enforcing those laws passed by the legislature. The president’s true role is as “Commander in Chief of Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States” (p. 19).

This divide surprised me greatly. The president seems like, from an onlooker, the one with all the power– it’s they who appear in the media as the almighty leader of the nation. I could name at least ten U. S. presidents, whereas not a single congressman or senator. However, when reading the constitution, I get the distinct impression that the president isn’t really supposed to have that much power at all. In the annotations on the document,  it is written that “Presidents have also cited [the] power [to command the American Army] as extending to their control of national and foreign policy in war and peacetime” (p. 19), but even so, any treaty proposed by the president requires that “two thirds of the Senators present concur” with the treaty for it to be passed (p. 20). His only large role, outside of militia commandment, is appointing other government officials (which is, admittedly, quite a big power). In essence though, it seems like the president barely does anything after all his officials are chosen (a choice that I rather suspect is made by other members of the president’s party, though I don’t know nearly enough about it to say for certain).

Basically, reading these articles has made me come to think of the president as little more than a public figure; a face to rally behind. Which makes sense– the Americans were specifically trying to escape the governance of a single, all-powerful person. I realize now how skewed my perception had been. The U. S. voting system is still very confusing to me (what voting system isn’t), but I think that people vote separately for congressmen and presidents. I would be curious to know what the difference in voting turnout is for those two things. My suspicious, based solely on the way I previously perceived the importance of the president, is that more people vote in the federal elections than in state ones. I would also bet that very few Americans actually know how their government functions, and that even fewer have read the Constitution. It’s interesting how much politics has transformed into entertainment, and honestly both shocking and worrying how many people’s political views can be boiled down to “democrats bad republicans good” or vice versa.

To conclude, I feel the most important thing I’ve come more and more to realize throughout reading the first two articles of the American constitution is that understanding how your government works is really important. Also, though, on a very tangential but very critical note, not all of your opinions have to conform to one group. Research, analyze, consider– form your own opinions, and if you end up agreeing with some conservative policies and some democratic ones, that’s fantastic. I’d caution everyone to think a little harder if they end up one hundred percent agreeing with any one ideology, and one hundred percent disagreeing with another. To bring things back around, my message is: don’t vote for a guy, vote for policies, and look into who actually has the power. The constitution makes it pretty clear that it isn’t really the president.

US Constitution Article I & Article II

One of the main objectives of the US constitution is to divide the powers of the federal government so no branch dominates the other. Hence the name of the United States; is united only because of the division. The country is divided into many states, the federal government is divided into three branches, and even in the legislature there exists the division of the House and the Senate.

Article I states that the legislature represents the people. Only the House of Representatives represents the people directly because it is” composed of Members chosen every Year by the People of several states…” (Article I, Section 2). But due to the ratio of population per representative, the House often serves the popular, therefore majority opinion.

To adjust this, Article I immediately follows up with the Senate, which prevents the override of popular opinion. “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.” (Article I, Section 3) By having two votes regardless of the number of population ensures the power of minorities in Congress.

The combination of the more “democratic” House and the more “conservative” Senate together represent the people. The President, however, is guaranteed his individuality from Congress. As a result, he has limited influence over congress.

For example, the Constitution states that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by the Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.” (Article I, section 8) The legislature controls the federal money, and the President can’t borrow from it unless Congress approves it. However, he is free to suggest what to use it for and when to use it. 

Furthermore, the President doesn’t need to rely on Congress since Congress needs to pay him the same salary regardless. “The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected…” (Article II, Section 1) 

The constant push and pull between the legislature and the executive branch show how democracy is being contained and utilized. In some aspects, it may appear undemocratic, for example, the number of representatives per population greatly affects a party’s power in the House. But it is a smartly designed system that has flaws here and there but overall, successfully abolishes the aristocratic system of Britain.

History October 05 2020 Blog Post

When reading the Declaration of Independence, I noticed how the writers put God first, the people second, and the government third. I observed how the Declaration is seeking justice for all. However, this Declaration has been (and continues to be) ignored by the government. How did we transfer from the topic of everyone being equal, to believing some races are superior?  Why is the current government in the United States, not shut down and abolished by the people as their Declaration says they are allowed to if the government is going against the principles of democracy?  This Declaration was supposed to unify the colonies physically and patriotically. Is this what America was intended to be?

Limit the scope!

1st premise:

  • It is impossible to analyze the entire [fill in the blank] in 80 minutes.

2nd premise:

  • Spending more than 80 minutes on a single night’s homework assignment is a kind of masochistic self-abuse, and is unsustainable.

Conclusion:

  • Therefore, you must limit the scope of your analysis!

Reflection on: The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence was created based on America’s morals for there to be independence between them and Great Britain. Did America want to stop the Revolutionary War? Some people believe that their true morals were to protect themselves. By initiating independence between them and Great Britain so that they could maybe receive support from other countries across the world. However, others disagree with this idea for America only desiring support during the Revolutionary War. Some believe that America created the Declaration of Independence to help towards their development in becoming a great empire. 

In The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bernard Bailyn, he said: “The Declaration of Independence represents the colonists’ deepest fears and beliefs” (1967). Bailyn describes the document as being a creation of the colonists’ “deepest fears.” What were the colonists afraid of? Was it the idea that Great Britain may eventually defeat America and the only opportunity was for America to attempt to initiate peace across the world so that they could defend themselves within the war? In A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, he said: “The solution was to find language inspiring to all classes, specific enough in its listing of grievances to fill people with anger against the British, vague enough to avoid class conflict, and stirring enough to build patriotic feelings.” This excerpt in some ways supports Bernard Bailyn’s explanation for why America truly created the Declaration of Independence. However, Zinn’s idea is slightly different… It tackles the American’s solution to survive the War. To try and make other people angry with the British in a way which is imprecise enough to keep away from any conflict between the classes and “stirring enough” to develop patriotic feelings between America and the rest of the world. Their solution for survival succeeded and America was aided within the Revolutionary War. 

It was legally formed on July 4, 1776, by the continental congress. The 13 colonies of America had broken their political connections to Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was a chance for the colonists to initiate independence which is what they wanted to achieve for quite some time but they never had an opportunity until the idea of the declaration had come up. 

The Declaration of Independence had been a turning point for change within the world. It had given an opportunity to change the Revolutionary War from originally being a civil war located within Britain to a war held between two separate countries. This change in the Revolutionary War had given other world powers a chance to be able to help support the Americain cause… This had ended up changing the civil war within Britain to a global war that involved Spain, Britain, France, America, and the Dutch Republic. Although this change in War may sound like a negative effect because of the Declaration of Independence we have to consider the after-effects of the war to understand the true benefits… 

Even to this day, the effects of the Declaration of independence can still be seen quite clearly seen. Once America had chosen to become independent on July 4th many other countries across the world had followed America’s steps and morals for independence and became independent countries themselves. This declaration was the first document that had a beneficial effect throughout the world and not just within one or two countries. It brought the world’s countries together and initiated an opportunity for peace instead of War.

The Declaration of Independence

The Fourth of July. A holiday consistently celebrated by Americans, recognized internationally, and questioned far too little. Based on a nearly 250 year-old piece of paper signed by an assembly of privileged white men. A day which declares: almost 250 years ago, the US became independent from the rule of Britain, resulting in freedom for white malesand no one else.

Independence Day is based off of the Declaration of Independence, written in 1776 by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and other Founding Fathers. Created in a time where minority voices were suppressed significantly more than they are now. Slavery was prominent, women were without rights, and people who weren’t fortunate enough to fit into that small classification of white males were treated as nothing. And yet, we use this document as a representation of freedomdemocracy.

The Declaration claims that “certain unalienable Rights” of every man are, “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (p. 1) The very fact that there were slaves who had none of these fundamental rights, proves the invalidity of the statement. Further, the men writing this declarationthese aforementioned words, were contributing to the absurdity of this document by owning slaves. They claim that, “all men are created equal,” (p. 1) and yet their actions negate that. When reading the Declaration, I wondered, how could they write this without realizing their hypocrisy and contradictions? I later realized that in their perspectives, people of colour,  women, and essentially anyone other than white men, were not included within these statements; they were not considered people. 

Following this precedent, all American, white males have these inalienable rights and are created equally. If you don’t fit into this category, sorry for your loss, you are clearly inferior, better luck in your future endeavours. Although the ideas of equality presented in this document are admirable, the circumstances in which it was created devalue its sincerity.

They claim that, “In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.” (p. 5) What about the oppressions they were causing—oppression that extends far past taxation?

In my opinion, this annual ritual celebrating the “independence” and “democracy” that was not actually obtained through the declaration must be put to rest. It is insulting the minorities who struggled, and still struggle with their fundamental human rights, it is celebrating the slave owners who wrote it, and it is exemplifying the problem of over-relying on old documents to justify our current situations . The nation and world has greatly evolved since then, and we cannot keep honouring the same, outdated documents and ideas. They will prevent us from developing new ones, and growing to our fullest extent.

The Declaration: A (Paradigm?) Shift of Everything

There are few areas of knowledge I would determine define ‘everything’. Among those, I include Chemistry, astronomy/cosmology, physics, and–Philosophy. By saying ‘define everything’, I mean these topics cover all knowledge the public possesses to the point where we have no more knowledge. Cosmology determines the universe has a defined limit, but what it beyond that limit? Philosophy, on the other hand, explores what is our purpose, what should our purpose be, how can we know anything, or, in the case of history, how different philosophies contrast and collide with each other. And none of these things have a defined limit; where there is no deeper to investigate. There can be no proof of these subjects yet, so why any philosophy is subject to debate. And such is the irony of The Declaration of Independance: what should our rights be, and how can there be a Greater Law?

The US Declaration of Independance states, ” all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” There is enough irony within this quote to make an ingot with. Primarily, it assumes this is an indisputable truth (I no doubt thought the writers of the Declaration considered their beliefs the right ones), and that really everyone has innate freedom which were designated by some divine being. How it can be possible to invent truths as strong as this, I know not. This is not theoretical, however entirely moral whim. I belive the authors of the Declaration were listening to what they felt was just, why they knew it “…necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…”

I find the topic of morals (including justice, freedom, and deserved rights) very complex. It touches upon so many different topics which have undefined limits yet features in the rational and fundamental areas of social construct, government development, and sustainability (killing people for fun is morally unjust). It is so loose, and has so many different factors, I believe it cannot be defined. So many factors affect morals, which has a central and essential role in government construction. Forever, there will be a tug of war between ethics, economics, quality of life, style, culture… Everyone has there own opinions, and priorities which influence the government based upon their social stature. So rich provincial senators from Hispania will trump Sicilian farmer peasants. What the government is depends upon who is featured prevalently. What environmental, economic, and societal situations have permitted someone/someones to become the most influential idea? Should it be morals, or should it be a sacrifice of morals to reintroduce slavery for economic benefits? Or is it moral to have slaves? So I believe, it is arbitrary what morals are, dispite they are influenced by what is best for the world from the prevalent groups’ point of view.

The government of the US was experiencing a resurgence in rights and the ability to pursue one’s lifestyle unharassed. This complied with a resurgence in the size of the middle class and overthrew any rule which did not favor their beliefs. I am fascinated such a government transition has occured, after over a thousand years of mostly monarchic governments in the world. What is possible in terms of governmental progress, and what can be achieved in the future?

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is one of the most important and impactful document that forever changed the government in America.

Even with its importance in history, it is extremely boring and predictable, and often contradictory to itself in many ways. Sure, it was step towards more freedom and justice in the government, but the creators of the document were the ones contributing to the problems that we are still trying to resolve in todays society.

“…all men are created equal…”(pg.1) This quote is not longer applicable in todays modern world, for we don’t know this definition of being ‘equal’ or who this quote even applies too. We can assume that when writing this they were not thinking of women, people of colour or any other minorities.  That this quote was only to help the already privileged people of the time, aka white rich men, and the occasional poor white man.

The Declaration of Independence was revolutionary during its time, and should always be remembered as the step we had to take towards a better future. Even so, I think that we can do better now and adjust to our new circumstances.

Declaration of Independence

When reading the Declaration of Independence, it is important to recognize why it was written. As Prof. Randy Barnett said in his “The Declaration of Independence Annotated,” the Declaration  “constituted high treason against the Crown,” (p. 1) and anyone who signed it would be executed as a traitor. As such, the content of the Declaration was meant to justify the Americans’ supposed “treason,” and explain why it was not, in fact, treason at all.

A complete throwing-off of the British government, however, could not simply be justified with “the Crown has made some mistakes, done some bad things.” The Americans themselves stated this in the beginning of the Declaration, saying that “mankind are more disposed to suffer… than to right themselves,” and only when subjected to a “long train of abuses and usurpations” does it become necessary to take action against the government. In summary, extreme grievances were required to justify the Americans’ extreme actions.

It is hard to believe that the writers of the Declaration of Independence genuinely believed the Crown’s sole intent in all their actions was to systemically violate the rights of the Americans. However, this was what they had to claim in order to justify themselves. With this context, the very one-sided and almost whiny nature of the Declaration can be better understood. It is meant to be persuasive above all else.

The grievances themselves aren’t very interesting. However, the ideas about government’s role brought up are. The fundamental claims the Declaration makes are that, one, everyone has certain unalienable rights, and that, two, the job of the government is to secure those rights for the people.  This is somewhat different from the idea that the job of government is to act in the best interests of the country, which, from what I can tell, was the more widely-held view at the time. In the ladder view, the people can often fall by the wayside in favour of expansionism or other such ideals. One of the flaws with our current world, in my opinion, is the stark divisions between countries. The mindset of “this is my country, and it’s better than yours” has been very, very common for a long time now.  We seem to forget that all a “country” is is land. The truly important thing is the people. Governments weren’t created to protect countries, they were created to protect the rights of individuals. Now, however, living in times where a single person can be in charge of an entire third of a continent, of course we’ve lost sight of the individual.

Reflection on the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is one of the most important milestones in History. Politically, it is an example of effective public literature. However, the language was very ambiguous. Take the most famous line for an example,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. “

Who are the “we?” It is rather obvious that the notion of democracy is very different from the American democracy of today. The range does not apply to everyone in this circumstance. The people who wrote the Declaration were religious white men. Perhaps It was clear to Thomas Jefferson that the upper class needs to initiate the democracy and make it appear beneficial to the lower class people, otherwise it will just be a revolution. But there are still countless of people excluded from the Declaration, and not even taken into consideration.

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honour.” This line rings no bells to me, because it does not apply to me. It applies to the religious white men in America, regardless of economic status. But that was it. They would perhaps word their sentences with more discretion if they knew that their own words will be used by the oppressed to declare for their own rights.

To think that the intentions of writing the Declaration is purely genuine is very positive. It is possible that they just desperately needed their independence. But looking at it from another perspective, the American democracy was likely a  happy accident. It was bound to happen, but it really is just a one-time situation that no other power in the world can imitate.

The Declaration of Independence was a good foundation for a democratic government, but it did not have so much democratic intentions in itself. The purpose was to have any other government than the British colonial government, but generations have passed, and the way people interpret it has changed. Many of these lines do not apply to people anymore (and for some, it is doubtful if they ever did) But the values of democracy seems to root deep down in the heart.

I think it is outdated. This is why there are so many controversies about topics like these today. In a politically critical situation, such ambiguous phrases in the Declaration will only work temporarily. It is impossible to make everyone happy forever.