How Did the Constitution Guard Against Tyranny?

Topics: Separation of powers, United States, United States Constitution Pages: 4 (1148 words) Published: April 29, 2013
“How Did the Constitution Guard Against Tyranny?”

When fifty-five delegates from eleven of the thirteen states met in Philadelphia in May of 1787 (four years after the Revolutionary War) for a Constitutional Convention, one of their biggest concerns was to establish a government that did not create any kind of tyranny. Tyranny is the abuse of power by one supreme ruler, like a dictator or king. Tyranny can also happen if a few people (such as several generals or religious leaders) seize control of something or if the majority denies a minority’s rights. The abuse of power can lead to the destruction of a whole country. For this reason, the Framers of the Constitution decided to create a new constitution to replace the existing Articles of Confederation. Under the Articles, there was no court system, no chief executive, and not even a way for the government to force a state to pay taxes, which made the government weak. The new constitution needed to be strong so that it could hold our nation together, and yet limit the authority of individual groups to prevent tyranny from happening. The framers decided to use the Constitution to guard against tyranny with four methods. These methods were giving states a more equal representation in Congress, Federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances.

One of the framers’ first challenges was to protect us from tyranny by making sure neither large nor small states had more power in Congress. This was difficult because both large states and small states wanted more representation, and the framers aimed to make sure everyone was pleased with the new constitution. The larger states, such as Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, wanted to determine the number of representatives each state has using the Virginia Plan. The Virginia Plan was to appoint representatives according to population. The smaller states, such as Rhode Island, Delaware, and New Jersey did not like the Virginia Plan because they...
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