We Are A “Government Of The People, By The People, [And]

1573 WordsMay 7, 20177 Pages
We are a “government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people,” or so we have been led to believe (Lincoln 1863). In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln uttered one of the most prolific and profound statements about the United State’s system of government as designed by the Constitution. His words have been used to define a movement of democratization and Constitution making in the 20th century. While Lincoln’s words might make a good speech, they may not be entirely true of Constitutions, even our own. Much available evidence suggests that Constitutions are not necessarily products by the people and for the people, but they really are products by elites and for elites. The question of whether Constitutions are written by…show more content…
The endurance of architecturally designed constitutional principles is not always a given, however. Sometimes, the elites that crafted the Constitution “may lose touch with that reservoir of support and determination in the hearts of the people without which law becomes an alien imposition likely to be abandoned when circumstances permit” (Frame 279). After a while, if the imposed principles are radically different than tradition, the locals are unwilling to change, and a third country and its elites do not continue to enforce said principles, the native countries may abandon ship and revert back to old traditions. This is where the second method of elite constitutional design processes comes in. The second popular design process in which elites craft constitutions is through what Frame calls excavators. These elites try and “discover the customary ways underlying a particular society, and to bring these to prominence and coherence” (Frame 279). This method incorporates local practices and institutions into consideration while elites craft the constitution so as to maximize the likelihood that the community will accept the new constitution. An example that Frame provides comes from the 1960’s and 1970’s when elite University professors from Canada helped
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