Constitutional Democracy

Topics: United States Constitution, Human rights, Democracy Pages: 6 (1900 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Constitutional Democracy

The basic premise of a constitutional democracy is that government has rules and all of the people have voices. Through free and fair elections we elect candidates to represent us. The Constitution of the United States guarantees us the right to do this, and to live democratically. The framers attacked tyrannical government and advanced the following ideas: that government comes from below, not from above, and that it derives its powers from the consent of the governed; that men have certain natural, inalienable rights; that it is wise and feasible to distribute and balance powers within government, giving local powers to local governments, and general powers to the national government; that men are born equal and should be treated as equal before the law. The framers of the U. S. Constitution sought to make these ideas the governing principles of a nation. Constitutional democracy has three basic elements. Those being interacting values, interrelated political processes and interdependent political structures.

The first idea of interacting values is popular consent. Popular consent means that government must obtain consent for its actions from the people it governs. It is similar to majority rule, a political process, in that the most popular acts or ideas of the people will be adopted by our government. There must be an allowance or willingness on behalf of the unpopular group to lose.

Popular consent may provide a means for judging parental consent laws for minors seeking abortion. Since minors are not legally allowed to be competent to engage in sex, to enter into contracts, or to form sufficient "informed consent" to agree to their own medical treatment, it is incredible that they would be regarded as competent to make a life and death decision about something that later in life they might themselves regard as a real person, with individual rights

Drawing on several major contributions of the enlightenment, including the political theory of John Locke and the economic ideas of Adam Smith, individualism posts the individual human being as the basic unit out of which all larger social groups are constructed and grants priority to his or her rights and interests over those of the state or social group.

Individualism in its original form means looking at people as discrete but whole units, without all the impressions of his social standing, the make of his car or his postal code. It is a way of deliberation, to tune out the clink of money in the background when you talk to somebody, so that you can concentrate on that person's message and judge it on its own merits.

It means looking at someone and not saying to yourself, "That's my aunt" or "That's my boss," but rather, that is someone with his or her own inclinations and desires, in other words, a true Individual who incidentally happens to have this relation to me, as a relative or a superior.

On a grander scale, individualism is putting the individual above the state and country. In those countries that have always been proud of their traditional values of emphasis on the family or the country above self they see Individualism as a direct attack on these values. However, we live in a democratic country and we believe in individualism and equal opportunity for all persons.

Equal opportunity for everyone is idealistic. Roosevelt outlined a second bill of rights which the book states answers the question, "what kind of equality?" This second bill of rights was four freedoms. They were freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of speech & expression and freedom of worship. There are laws and acts to guarantee equal opportunity. For example, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 which requires equal pay for equal work and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination in programs receiving Federal funds.

But on a more personal level, we don't all start at the same line. What about children beared with AIDS,...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Democracy in the Netherlands Essay
  • Is Democracy Working? Essay
  • American Democracy: the Ideal Style of Government Essay
  • Democracy Essay
  • Elections in a Democracy Essay
  • Democracy in Nigeria Research Paper
  • Essay about Democracy or Dictatorship
  • French Democracy Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free