History during the Struggle for Independence Essay
One of the most salient features of American society is the equality of conditions that exist among the people. This equality pervades all aspects of society from public opinion to laws that govern the land, from the government to the governed. This is evident in the high level of democracy that exists among the American people. This democratic culture is incomparable to any other that exists in the world because of the level of freedom it gives to the American people. This dates back to history during the struggle for independence from Great Britain that led to the declaration of independence, and establishment of a government that would preserve, and enforce all the liberties that had been enshrined in the constitution. America adopted a federal constitution where the national government and the federal government shared power. The government was divided into three arms namely the executive, legislature, and the judiciary. There was an effective system of checks and balances, which ensured that no arm of the government abused its powers or was much stronger than the other was (Gitelson, Dudley, &Dubnick 65).
However, since the constitution empowered the people, it meant that the legislature had to be much more influential than the executive and the judiciary. Even though the majority has become more powerful, it has never meddled with the privileges of the central government. The central government that represents all the citizens can also not oblige all the citizens in the pursuit of its interests. An independent organ that is free from manipulation executes the government’s will. This is due to the existence of the judicial arm of the government that has maintained a balance in the affairs of either arm. It ensures that liberty is maintained in the execution of law even if the passed law is immoral (Sean 491).
Tocqueville’s view on Lawyers
The capacity of The American judiciary to exercise its powers is embedded in its three characteristics. It acts as an arbitrator because it helps to solve disputes that may arise between the central governments and the federal governments; its arbitration powers are limited to definite areas, and not general principles, and it can only arbitrate when called upon. The judiciary is divided to include both the federal courts and the state courts that help solve these disputes. A case is brought before either of these courts if it is within its jurisdiction, and if there is a sufficient stake in a matter that justifies suit (Barbara, Bardes, & Shelly 435).
Individuals who are impartial and dedicated to fairness are those delegated with the duty of handling cases by the citizens. This responsibility is given to lawyers who are said to form the aristocracy of American society. This is because lawyers have unique pursuits that combine all that elements of democracy to ensure that the constitution is protected and preserved. Their influence is felt from the bench (since they strive to guard the interests of parties who are accused) to the bar (because of their experience in guarding the interest of the society by the law.).( Barbara, Bardes, & Shelly 451)
Lawyers who are trained in this legal profession check the excesses of democracy. This limits people’s control over the government. This is because lawyers have distinctive habits that guarantee order, a strong taste for formalities, and concise regulation of ideas, which are against the spirits that may lead to revolutions and are beyond the people’s recognition. Members of this legal profession have played a crucial part in all areas of political society, and have been the instruments of individuals who were interested in political authority. This was common during the colonization of America when they had support from the queen. In other situations, they have changed political authorities into their instruments. American independence reversed their duties to that of limiting the powers of the royal queen due to the atrocities of the crown (Strickland & Read 92).
The lawyers are seen as a privileged body in society. The significant information that they derive from their studies puts them on a higher scale in terms of intelligence. This intelligence is evident in the practice of their profession and serves as arbiters between citizens by channeling their desires through litigation. This level of intelligence makes them resemble a body that is not formed by mutual consent or agreement, but their minds are purported to connect through the pursuance of common interest. The lawyers are governed by private interests and advantages of the moment and their instinctive love of order that shuns the actions of the multitude, and the same scorn is shared with the government of the people (Strickland & Read 98).
The lawyers in this field occupy the highest political class not occupied by any other individual or organization in the American hierarchy. The practitioners are highly regarded by individuals because they act as sources of fidelity to the American citizens on matters of privacy. The position that they occupy in this hierarchy is evident in the legislation that is enacted, and the nature of their studies. These legislation’s are traced back to the periods that preceded the American independence. This aristocratic class is not composed of individuals who are wealthy or influential because of their statuses in society.
The legal profession controls democracy through the courts of justice, which are the most visible organs that they use. Judges who occupy the courts are lawyers by profession and have inalienable rights to execute their duties without interference from any arm of the government (Carrington 74).
Tocqueville’s view on judges
The judges also occupy a natural privileged class because of their legal attainments and love of stability evident in their absolute rights. The judges have the power to influence the political affairs of the country. This is because they have the power to decide the constitutionality of a law that may interfere with the political activities of a state, and prevent the free flow of political affairs (Reeve 200).
The judges enjoy the security of tenure and are appointed to hold office for longer periods than the president. However, their security of tenure can be limited if there is consensus between the two houses of the legislature to remove them from their respective occupations. Their powers are also limited due to the existence of judicial powers to organs such as the legislature, which can limit the power of the courts through the amendment of the constitution. Judicial powers extend to political representatives such as the House of Representatives that has the right to prosecute. The Senate is tasked with the right to punish (Alison 240). These powers apply only to public officials who violate laws or misuse public funds. The political courts have the power to supplant individuals from office but not to punish them because democracy limits this power. This is because the judges establish their authority in civil causes (Reeve 202).
Tocqueville’s view on juries
However, when civil cases come to mind, it is the jury that is responsible for the determination of such cases. The aristocratic class consists of lawyers and magistrates who help check the excess powers of the people. However, this aristocracy has no visible power, and its source of authority is the institution of the civil jury or tribunals that can have the power to arrive at binding decisions. The advice of the jury becomes necessary in such criminal cases since judges are purported to be partial in the process of decision making, and are only left with civil cases where their decisions are led by their learning. The jury acts as a representation of society since it forms the judgment of the people, and strives to increase the natural intelligence of the people (Carrington 81).
The influence of the jury extends beyond the limits of the courts, influences the legislative assembly, and is regarded in high esteem by individuals in society who see them as highly intelligent (Wilentz 492).
The declaration of independence saw the emergence of a society, which regarded the interests of the people, and gave them the power to influence their daily endeavors. There was the creation of a government that preserved and protected the interests of the people. The division of the government into three organs led to equality because there were appropriate systems of checks and balances. The federal government retained less power after sharing power with the national government. (Valenzuela 17-18). The national government was represented by the state courts while the federal governments were represented by the federal courts. The highest court was the Supreme Court which was located in every state. However, the American judicial system has peculiar characteristics different from other democracies that promote a high level of democracy characterized by equality and freedom. The lawyers, judges, and juries in this judicial system occupy the highest class in the society. The individuals in this profession have a level of intelligence that guides their actions to arrive at impartial decisions aimed at promoting the interests of society. However, the creation of the federal government led to the division of judicial power that limited their influence because their powers were exercised by other organs such as House of Representatives and Senate (LaCroicx, 208).
Alison L. LaCroix Federalists, Federalism, and Federal Jurisdiction. Law and History Review, Vol. 30: pp 205-244. Web.
Barbara, Bardes, & Shelly Rennard, and Frank T. Read. The Lawyer Myth: A Defense of the American Legal Profession. Athens, OH: Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 2008. Print.
Bardes, Barbara A, Mack C. Shelley, and Steffen W. Schmidt. American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth, 2009. Print.
Carrington, D.Paul. The Civil Jury and American Democracy,Duke journal of Comparative and International Law, Vol. 13(79): pp 79-94, 2003.
Gitelson, Alan R, Robert L. Dudley, and Melvin J. Dubnick. American Government. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.
Reeve, Henry. Democracy in America (volume 1, unabridged), Kansas: Digireads.com Publishing, 2007. Print.
Valenzuela, Arturo. Latin American Presidencies Interrupted, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 15(4): pp 5-19, 2004.
Wilentz, Sean. The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln, Journal of American History. Vol. 93(2): pp 491-493. Web.
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