Top-Rated Free Essay

How Did the Constitution Guard Against Tyranny?

Good Essays
How Did the Constitution Guard Against Tyranny? What do you think tyranny means? When we think of tyranny, we consider its harsh absolute power in the hands of one individual, like King George III. In James Madison's argument for his support of the Constitution he wrote that "The accumulation of all power... in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many is the very definition of tyranny." In 1787, the framers came together in Philadelphia to write the Constitution to help guard against tyranny. The Constitution guarded against tyranny in several ways which were federalism, separation of power, checks and balances, and big states versus small states.
The first guard against tyranny was federalism which means the federal principle of government. In the Federalist Paper #51 James Madison wrote that “In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments, and the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departments." (Doc. A). Madison's idea was known as Federalism, the division of power between central and state governments. Federalism provides a double security to the people by the arise of the people’s rights. Central and state governments have shared and separate powers. For instant, both governments set up courts and pass laws. Powers given to the Central Government were regulate trade, declaring war, setting up post offices, and making immigration laws. Powers given to the states were holding elections, setting up local governments, passing marriages and divorce laws, and establishing schools. Federalism protects against tyranny because both governments were equal and gave people a say in the government.
A second guard against tyranny was separation of power which means the government divided into three branches. They separated the government into the executive branch, legislative branch, and judicial branch. In the Federalist Paper #47 James Madison said "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may be just pronounced the very definition of tyranny...” (Doc B). The idea Madison advocated with this quote was that through the separation of powers there tyranny shouldn't form. The job of each branch is to protect the rights of the people. The separation of powers protects against tyranny because one branch cannot do something without the consultancy of another branch. This provided equal powers between the three branches. The third guard against tyranny was checks and balances which means a balance in power. As indicated in the chart, document C, the legislative branch or congress has check over the executive and judicial branch it can override the vote of the executive branch and approve of presidential nominations. With the judicial branch it could impeach judges and remove them from office. They could also do the same with the President and remove him or her from office. The executive branch could appoint judges to the Supreme Court and can veto Congressional legislation. The judicial branch can declare laws unconstitutional and declare presidential acts as unconstitutional. James Madison said that “… (The three branches) should not be so far separated as to have no constitutional control over each other,” meaning that without check and balances it would be one step closer to a tyranny, because one of the branches could gain all the control of the power (Doc C).
In that the fight over how the states should be represented in congress began. The fourth and final step the delegates implied was the arguments between the small and big states and how they should be represented in congress. In the Constitutional Convention there was a big fuss over how the states should be represented, so that the big states votes or suggestions wouldn’t override the votes or suggestions of the smaller states. They came to the agreement known as the Great Compromise. In the compromise the agreed that under the House of Representatives the states would be represented by population (Doc. D). This made the larger states happier because they would have more representation over the smaller states. They also agreed to that the Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators per state, making the smaller states happier because of the equal representation. With the compromise the states would become united and this would help guard against tyranny.
In the Constitutional Convention the delegates and Madison used arguments of federalism through the division of powers, checks and balances and the arguments between the larger and smaller states to guard against tyranny. Although checks and balances and the arguments between are important reason to prevent tyranny, the most important reason for the prevent of tyranny is the separation of powers, through the separation of powers the delegates insecurity of our rights. Therefore preventing one group gaining control of all powers.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    “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…

    • 1148 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The Constitution had done anything they could to defend against tyranny, but how did they do it? In 1787 55 men representing The American States met in Philadelphia to fix their government. Everybody from the States could have a say in this, and all agree equally to guarding against tyranny. Tyranny is a government in which a single ruler is vested with absolute power. The Constitution had guarded against tyranny in four different ways which were Federalism, Separation of powers, Checks and balances…

    • 411 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    DBQ: How did the Constitution guard against tyranny? Americans desperately fight against the poison of tyranny with their best weapon, the Constitution. During the Colonial Period, King George III, demanded many things from the colonists. These demands were caused by the aftermath of the French and Indian War. England had increasing debts, so the king raised the taxes of both America and England. The increase of taxes caused anger to rise from the Americans, which allowed a roll of events to unfold…

    • 1096 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The United States has a very good government system. But how did they archive this goal without tyranny? The United States constitution, that’s how. Besides giving the people an abundance of rights and freedoms, it protected the people from another tyranny. They got these writes stated in the constitution which included the idea of federalism, separation of powers and a system of checks and balances. Federalism makes sure no one group of people has all the power. In Document A it says since there…

    • 448 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    the Constitution has just been written and put into effect, it’s only about a decade since the start of the American Revolution and the last thing the newly found country wants is to face tyranny. But just how did the Constitution protect us against giving a person or group of people too much power? The answer to this question is in four main categories; Federalism, Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, and Big States vs. Small States. As stated above one of the ways the Constitution protects…

    • 915 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Tyranny is a malicious enemy, it takes over and, will make you go against your will. The Articles Of Confederation was the first step the American Colonists took to get rid tyranny, but that dramatically failed. The Articles Of Confederation was missing many key parts such as a central government, there was no president, and the wasn’t even a court system. Also it didn’t justify a currency for the whole country. When you went to other states, they all had different currencies, so it was almost impossible…

    • 966 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Could you imagine what the United States would be like if our government didn't protect us from tyranny? Luckily, due to the constitution our founding fathers created, we don't have to worry about tyranny happening any time soon! Written in Philadelphia, 1787, the constitution was made to replace the articles of confederation which were too weak to hold the government together or to be effective. Their objectives for writing it was to ensure that the government was strong nationally and able to run…

    • 750 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    the states and people together, but also could guard against tyranny. At the time, the Articles of Confederation was in use, but it wasn’t working. So the framers were stuck with a big question. How could the new constitution guard against tyranny? Now, we know that the constitution guards against tyranny because it has federalism, checks and balances, separation of powers, and how representation is set up. First, Federalism helps guard against tyranny because it lets both governments control each…

    • 663 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    How Did The Constitution Guard Against Tyranny? Have you ever wondered what the US would be like if our government was a tyranny? Well, thanks to our founding fathers for creating a strong constitution, we don’t have to worry about that. The constitution was written in 1787 in Philadelphia. The problem was that the existing government that was under the Articles Of Confederation wasn’t very successful. Therefore, the fifty-five delegates representing twelve out of the thirteen states came together…

    • 808 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    reconciliation with the states that had seceded! because he didn't want to dissolve the union IN COMPLIANCE with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly and to take in your presence the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the President "before he enters on the execution of this office." I do not consider it necessary at present for me to -Timeliness discuss those matters of administration about which there is no special anxiety…

    • 5601 Words
    • 23 Pages
    Powerful Essays