The right to vote is fundamental to the democratic structure of the United States of America and is the people’s conventional method of influencing government. Democracy’s literal translation is “rule by the people” and when the founders of the Constitution met to revise the Articles of the Confederation, concern for popular sovereignty shaped the emerging government’s policies. Unfortunately, the right to vote was not extended to all people. Brave men and women sacrificed much to secure their inalienable right to influence government through voting. Thus voting, being essential to democracy, has always been the people’s conventional avenue for change and ensures the continuance of a democratic nation.
As the fledgling nation began to revise its government after the Revolutionary War, the protection of democracy was of the utmost importance and became the infrastructure the new nation was built upon. Although democratic government was not a new idea, the population and size of the Confederation posed a problem for the founding fathers (Greenberg & Page, p.1). Unlike ancient Rome, which modeled direct democracy, the founding fathers instead created a representative democracy in which the people would rule through elected officials. This allowed for a democratic nation based on popular sovereignty created through competitive elections and eliminated the threat of a tyrannical government. “The election of representatives… would keep potentially tyrannical kings and aristocratic factions from power while ensuring popular consent” (Greenberg & Page, p.31). To create a truly democratic society, it was essential to ensure a government that followed the will of the people and not one that forced the people to follow it. The Declaration of Independence states, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” (http://usconstitution.net/declar.html). This is achieved through the use of...
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