How Much Power and Liberty Did the Constitution Give to "The People?"

2194 Words Apr 9th, 2001 9 Pages
How much power and liberty did the constitution give to "the people?"

The constitution is the document that has framed and shaped the United States from inception. It is the document that is defended by all new presidents and also the document which affords the citizens of the United States freedoms and rights that cannot be removed. In its drafting it shaped the formation of a new country and a new style of governance. It is a ‘bottom up' as opposed to established ways of government which are ‘top down'. However for all its virtues the Constitution is somewhat ambiguous and there is some debate of the intent of the drafters, did they intend to give as much power or did they intend to give less power to the people?

The Constitution
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The Electoral College is devised as to proportion the votes to the population of the states. So the number of electors for each state is the number of house representatives and senators combined. Therefore New York currently has 31 House representatives and 2 senators, so it has 33 electors for the Electoral College. When Americans are voting for a President they are actually voting for a board of electors who then vote for the president. But these electors don't have to follow what the majority of people in that state voted for; they can if they so wish vote for another candidate. This has happened on some occasions in the 1948 presidential election one of Tennessee's electors voted for J. Strom Thurmond instead of voting for Harry Truman. This shows a blatant disregard for democratic principles, as the drafters of the constitution did not want a direct link between voters and the presidency. They did not believe that ordinary people could make sophisticated and intelligent decisions. It shows that they had a healthy interest in their own self-interest, perhaps following the maxim of Thomas Gordon "Whatever is good for the people is bad for their governors" . In theory this could still happen in modern America, as the board of electors do not have to follow what the voters say in the election. This shows to me an evident democratic deficit.

There is not just a deficit in Congress or in the Presidency, but also in the State legislatures that is set