In What Way Is the Us Constitution Both Democratic and Undemocratic?

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A constitutional democracy is a government based on written law. A constitutional system keeps the power of the government in check through fragmentation, decentralization of power, and appropriate checks and balances. The United States moved to a constitutional democracy after the Declaration of Independence in 1776 which separated the American colonies from control by England. The Articles of Confederation, which became effective in 1781, formed the first constitution for the newly formed United States. During the time the Declaration of Independence was being drafted in 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution in the Second Continental Congress calling for the formation of a government for the United States. Congress began work on the formation of a formal government structure in 1776. Concerns about defending the fledgling United States against the superior military power of England caused this work to be placed on the ìback burnerî in favor of raising and supporting the Army and Navy to fight the war. The states were also busy developing and ratifying their own constitutions. Several times during this period, the Congress had to evacuate Philadelphia to escape from the British Army. In 1778, Congress sent the Articles of Confederation to the states with a three-year limit for ratification. In 1781, the Articles were ratified and the first constitution went into effect. The power in the first constitution was clearly placed in the states. The states retained their sovereignty (no higher authority could intervene). The national government consisted of a Congress and a weak executive. The national Congress was beholden to the states for revenue because the national government could not impose taxes. The end of the war with England in 1783 brought new attention to the inadequacies of the national government. While consensus could be reached among the states on fighting the war, gaining consensus on other issues was very difficult. By the...
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