The Development of America’s Democracy Essay
Today the public often discusses the questions of personal freedom, equality of opportunities, and possible limitations and securities provided by the government according to these issues. However, the currency and significance of these questions is not surprising because they reflect the main principles on which the American society and state are based. Thus, these principles are known as the founding principles of America which originate from the Declaration of Independence.
The principles of personal and political liberty, legal equality and separation of powers determine all the aspects of social and political life of the American nation, and they are absolutely significant for the country’s further growth. Moreover, their importance is proved by the history of the country’s development.
To understand the meaning of the founding principles for the Americans as citizens and for the whole society, it is necessary to provide the proper analysis of them from the historical perspective and with references to the present days. When Americans speak about the main aspects of the development of their society as the democratic one, they accentuate the basic principle of personal and political freedom.
The notion of freedom or liberty can be considered as the foundation for the American society because it was stated in the Declaration of Independence along with the other rights provided by God and that is why they can be discussed as absolute ones, “all men are created equal, … they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Jefferson, 2008).
Nevertheless, there is the controversy in the understanding of the question of personal liberty by the public. If the liberty is given by God, who can control and limit it? Thus, in modern society the question of liberty should be closely connected with the moral issues. The Law is strict according to the breaks of the other people’s liberty. That is why it is possible to say that the person’s liberty is limited by the moral and legal norms when it prevents other people from realizing their own liberties (Rauchut, 2008).
In their work on the peculiarities of the founding principles in America, West and Jeffrey are rather strict in the interpretation of the idea presented in the Declaration, but their consideration offers the fairest vision of the principle, “no one human or class of humans is superior to another human or class of humans in the way that all humans, since they are rational creatures, are superior to dumb beasts” (West & Jeffrey, 2008).
From this point, the principle of liberty is associated with the principle of legal equality. Thus, all the people are equal in front of the Law, and they should follow equal and legal norms and rules. However, what is about their equality of opportunities?
There were many debates on the aspects of this principle which originates from the statement in the Declaration about the equality of all the people and which is supported by the human rights and laws. Do the Americans really have equal opportunities to realize their personal goals and liberties? What about the problem of racial or ethnic division in the society?
D’Souza agrees with the fact that many critics emphasize the idea that equal opportunities in the American society are not more than a myth. However, he also states that “there is more opportunity in this country than anywhere else in the world” and moreover, America “do not extend rights to ethnic groups, only to individuals” (D’Souza, 2008). It is possible to say that the author’s strictness is supported with his firm belief in the principles of the American democratic society, the power of the government, and the rule of the Law on which they are based.
However, all the liberties and rights should be supported by the governmental institutions in order to acquire the legal power. Moreover, the Founders also understood the problem which can come out when all the powers are concentrated in one and the same governmental structure.
Madison stated that the gathering of all powers of the state in the same hands “whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny” (Madison, 2008b). Thus, it is impossible to realize the principles of the democratic society and follow the republican form of government when there is the threat of the development of tyranny at the governmental level. The most effective solution to this problem is the separation of the powers.
The division between legislative, executive, and judiciary powers is the first step to the development of the republican government. However, it was also stated that in spite of the required equal role of all the branches, “the legislative authority necessarily predominates” (Madison, 2008c).
To prevent the progress of this tendency, the solution known as “legislative balances and checks” was worked out (Hamilton, 2008). Thus, the authority was also divided between the national and state governments, and the separation of powers was based on checks and balances in order to preserve stability of the government.
What is meant when politicians speak about stability and responsibility of the government? The “firm Union” should preserve the rights and freedoms of the citizens, and the peace in the state, it should be a “barrier against domestic faction and insurrection” (Hamilton, 2008). That is why the power of the government should be also organized properly. The Founders paid much attention to implementing the principle of the separation of powers as the guarantee of the rule of Law into practice (Rauchut, 2008; Spalding, 2008).
Thus, according to Madison, it is possible to accentuate two factors for determining the governmental work. They are the “dependence on the people” and on the Law (Madison, 2008c; Madison, 2008a). Basing on the founding principles, the Americans can also be sure that their society will not suffer from the tyranny of the government which can reject the principles of the liberty, equality, and separation of powers because the republic is responsible for guarding the society “against the oppression of its rulers” and furthermore, “against the injustice of the other part” (Madison, 2008c). Therefore, it is almost impossible to discuss the founding principles of America’s separately because their basics are closely connected with each other.
The founding principles of the development of America’s democracy have an extremely important meaning for the American society because they determine all the main aspects of personal and political activities of the nation. Liberty, personal and legal equality, and separation of powers are those principles which were stated by the Founders in Declaration of Independence and accentuated the way according to which the state should develop in the future.
D’Souza, D. (2008). What’s great about America. In K. C. Mason & E. A. Rauchut (Eds.), Kirkpatrick signature series reader (pp. 96-100). USA: Belleview University Press.
Hamilton, A. (2008). Federalist No. 9. In K. C. Mason & E. A. Rauchut (Eds.), Kirkpatrick signature series reader (pp. 20-23). USA: Belleview University Press.
Jefferson, T. (2008). Declaration of Independence. In K. C. Mason & E. A. Rauchut (Eds.), Kirkpatrick signature series reader (pp. 11-14). USA: Belleview University Press.
Madison, J. (2008a). Federalist No.42. In K. C. Mason & E. A. Rauchut (Eds.), Kirkpatrick signature series reader (pp. 23-27). USA: Belleview University Press.
Madison, J. (2008b). Federalist No. 47. In K. C. Mason & E. A. Rauchut (Eds.), Kirkpatrick signature series reader (pp. 34-37). USA: Belleview University Press.
Madison, J. (2008c). Federalist No. 51. In K. C. Mason & E. A. Rauchut (Eds.), Kirkpatrick signature series reader (pp. 37-41). USA: Belleview University Press.
Rauchut, E. A. (2008). American vision and values. USA: Belleview University Press.
Spalding, M. (2008). Independence forever: Why America celebrates the fourth of July. In K. C. Mason & E. A. Rauchut (Eds.), Kirkpatrick signature series reader (pp. 14-20). USA: Belleview University Press.
West, T. G., & Jeffrey, D. A. (2008). The rise and fall of constitutional government in America. In K. C. Mason & E. A. Rauchut (Eds.), Kirkpatrick signature series reader (pp. 71-75). USA: Belleview University Press.
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