US Government and Founding Fathers
Table of Contents
The government of the United States gained its constitutional powers in the 17th century when the idea of democracy was framed during the Constitutional Convention. This essay fundamentally takes an insight at the founding documents and the forms of politics at the time of founding the American government, and the differences or similarities arising from the current practices of the nation’s politics. The evolution of these policies has resulted into amendments and changes into the philosophies behind democracy. The principles by the Founding fathers are still relevant in the current governance, regardless of them being overcome by time. The most significant aspect that the contemporary leadership should borrow is the willingness and desire to form a democracy that was envisioned 200 years ago.
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The United States constitution was crafted on the principles of Natural law under the republican constitution, religion, freedom for its people who would be treated as equal with their rights protected by the government. Under the founding principles,”…role of government is to protect equal rights…” was one of the foundation to protection of human rights for all the citizens of the country. The founding fathers such as Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Washington therefore envisioned a patriotic nation that had potential for being the greatest democracy across the globe. However, the contemporary system of government has evolved differently, carrying with it few similarities to the founding principles of the nation. This paper will compare and contrast the two different systems of government; the one envisioned by the founding fathers, and the contemporary government practices. This will be analyzed through the aspects of military powers, the use of the U.S constitution, integrity, morality and ethics, crime and violence, and lastly the integrity of democracy.
The power of Military Force
As a young nation in the 17th century, the founding fathers anticipated dangers with regards to the use of military to wage endless wars (Bradford, 1982). They were against imperialism and warned against its dangers, as seen below,
“I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind. “Washington.
“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. “Madison. This clearly indicates the will and desire for such leaders to direct their nations against warfare. On the contrary, the contemporary governments and leadership have had different perspectives on the use of militia to advance into endless wars. The contemporary leadership has maintained a military stature that is scary, massive and its empire has been implementing agendas that have seen transitions of endless war eras. The main interest of the governments has changed from protecting US citizens to that of preserving their own “vital interests” across the entire globe, especially on crucial resources such as oil and other valuable minerals. If the founding fathers staged a travel to the contemporary America, they would be destressed with current policies initiated by current presidents (“Why the Founders Would Decry What America has Become – NationofChange”, 2018). For instance, the Bush Doctrine on launching attacks that are pre-empty on suspected nations or factions that seem as America’s threat are still being implemented.
The U.S Constitution
The founding fathers framed the basis of the Constitution during the 1787 constitutional convention that led to the establishment of the government of the United States. The system they established protected, promoted and preserved the sovereign states, its union and mandate under the federal government which would ensure the rights of the American people, as well as those of individual states are maintained. According to the Article VI, Clause II, the law of the land is the constitution and it is from this law that government institutions are framed and given authority. The basic principles of individual freedom, and liberty were protected by the constitution. Violations of these founding principles of the constitution were revealed in 2010 when the contemporary Supreme Court granted free speech rights to corporations, similar to that of the citizens, violating the 1st Amendment, and corrupting the election process. Contributions to election campaigns no longer have limitations (“Chapter 2 – Foundations of American Government, Intro American Politics (Davis)”, 2018).
Consequently, the 6th Amendment has been violated through the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), authorized in 2013 by President Obama, denying citizens the right to jury trials and defence, and giving rights to the chief executive to initiate indefinite detention. Clearly, the US constitution is under attack by the same institutions that are supposed to protect its integrity (Amar & Amar, 2018).
Furthermore, the Founders crafted the 4th Amendment in a manner that guaranteed security to the American citizens, their property, and houses and eliminated any unreasonable abuse and seizures. The contemporary government lacks ethics and morals to support the principles of the Founders in protecting the innocent American citizens (Zinn, H. (2015). For example, the Wall Street is deceitful, and manipulative enough to fleece and maximize profits on the American consumers yet the contemporary administrations have no measures for prosecutions or investigations into such criminal perpetrations. These individuals have been licensed and are untouchable. The lack of ethics and morals in the government institutions and the its promotion in the corporate society invades the responsibility of leaders and accountability pilling up secrets, corruption and ignorance, a low point that the Founding fathers were against. The CIA has been on the spotlight for apparent cover-ups, torture practices and lies involving top government officials. This is reprehensive with regards to the principles of the constitution, framed by the Founding fathers.
Violence and Crime
Furthermore, the contemporary American society is bleeding with various accounts of crime and violence of American citizens against their own. Such violence can be attributed to the legislation which has enabled over 250 million weapons and firearms to be owned by citizens. The “stand your ground” laws enables more confrontations which result into more casualties, and more American citizens feel grieved enough to take law into their hands. This has led to massive protests against the government and the police institutions. However, the result of such protests has been the use of the excessive force by the police, including civilians being shot by police The Founding fathers were patriots who if they lived in the contemporary system would go against the NRA, regardless of its massive influence and influence polices through Congress to protect the lives of the American citizens from the ever continuing manslaughter.
Democracy on Trial
The Founding fathers created a democratic United States of America that is,”…of, by and for the people…”.This definition has not changed ever since. However, the mentality and perception of its meaning is gradually changing. The contemporary governments do not value the American citizens, but rather want a money-controlled state, so powerful that it can generate profits and withhold the country’s interests and the needs of its people. The constitutional guidelines are still the same, but the practicality and implementation is different. For instance, the constitutional convention of 1787 set the pace for democratic governance. On the contrary, the current Congress is unable to pass legislations that impact positively on the needs of the American citizens (Amar & Amar, 2018). They rather spent full and special sessions debating international matters on how to acquire more power over other states through the Military-Industrial Complex. The democratic right to vote is indirectly being violated due to such selfish interests. A larger percentage of Americans (close to 37% in 2014) were eligible to vote but never wanted to be associated with the process (“Why the Founders Would Decry What America has Become – NationofChange”, 2018).
The Founding policies of the United States government were built on principles that were against monarchy, and warfare, and built on accountability, equality, and rights for the American citizens. Most of these principles are still existent on the constitution, with critical amendments to a few clauses. The similarities between the Founding policies and the contemporary practices are only on paper, in the constitution. However, the implementation and practicality of these principles are being violated, the federal government turning on other nations, waging war, neglecting the American citizens and violating their rights by permitting reprehensible legislation.
- Amar, V., & Amar, V. (2018). How shocked, or pleased, would the Founding Fathers be with America today?.
- Bradford, M. E. (1982). Founding Fathers: brief lives of the framers of the United States Constitution. Univ Pr of Kansas.
- Chapter 2 – Foundations of American Government: (2018).
- Why the Founders Would Decry What America has Become – NationofChange. (2018).
- Zinn, H. (2015). A people’s history of the United States: 1492-present. Routledge.