As George III. However, this caused the
As the Revolutionary War relented, America’s founding fathers rushingly formed a government under the Articles of Confederation to stray away from tyrannical rule under King George III.
However, this caused the government to have little to no control over taxes and state power. The lack of power to the central states caused a rebellion over an unfair amount of taxes put on farmers called Shay’s Rebellion in 1786. A year later, the Philadelphia Convention was called for delegates to meet and fabricate a new constitution. James Madison and others feared that this new Constitution will provide an extraneous amount of power to a certain group or person.
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Their problem was to protect the country from any tyranny from few or many. Tyranny is the abuse of power in a government that also lowers the power of others. The new Constitution was able to protect and equalize the power among everyone through balance and equality among the United States. The Constitution is able to guard America from tyranny through separation of powers and checks and balances among the branches of government due to the fact that both are able to provide a equilibrium of power among everyone to execute actions. Federalism prevents tyranny by giving powers given from the people that are separate from both the central government and state and Congress provides equal representation for every state no matter the population or size. Federalism is a principle where the central government equally shares and separates powers with the states.
This protects the United States from tyranny due to its equal shared and separate powers among the government and the people. James Madison describes it as, “…
the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments state and federal, and the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departments.” (Document A). James Madison described Federalism as an equal and controlled amount of power to both parties in powers that will benefit themselves.
Federalism can share powers such as taxation and creating laws for both as well as separating national and local powers to each of the bodies. This prevents either states or the central government from obtaining too many privileges and control over the whole government. He also wanted to provide a “double security” for people by keeping the powers that they have given to the central government and states safe and guarded. Federalism is a way to keep a separation of powers among the people and government. Separation of powers can also be seen as another way that the Constitution is able to protect and prevent a branch of the government. In Federalist Paper #47, James Madison described that the three branches of the U.S. Government are completely separate from each other and should not have delegates or representatives that associate themselves with multiple branches.
“…(L)iberty requires that the three great departments of power should be separate and distinct” (Document B). This means that each branch, legislative, executive, and judiciary, should have distinct powers that cannot be shared between each section. For example, members of Congress are not allowed to serve in the executive branch as president or vice president or become a Supreme Court justice.
Madison believes that the Constitution prevents one stance on a multitude of topics from being biased and unjustly among the rest of the branches. Tyranny would be present if there was insufficiency of diverse opinion among the government. However, the separation of powers cannot be held as the only way the branches can function. Powers are given to each branch to handle tasks and contribute to actions that run our country. But when people desire to create a tyrannical rule, the government needs a process that seizes the ability to administer more power. The branches are given a set of checks and balances to inhibit an overthrow of one branch. The Constitution allows all three branches to oversee and counteract the powers of the other two branches.
Confirmation or approval is necessary for any branch to carry out a task. On the other hand, tyranny is able to have a single ruling figure or body to execute anything that they believe is right for themselves or their association. “.
..the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that they be a check on the other…” (Document C). Madison explained that the legislative, executive, and judicial branches is able to find and override actions they find unconstitutional. For instance, aws can be vetoed by the president, however, the Supreme Court is able to annul these actions if it is found to defy the rules set by the Constitution. Tyranny cannot be carried out if another branch is able to control said action in order to maintain equal power. The final reason tyranny is prevented through the Constitution is the fact that every state is able to have equal representation in Congress. Congress is a bicameral house where the House of Representative and Senate are present.
The difference of both houses is that the Senate has a constant two delegates among every state and that the House of Representative has delegates based on the population of the state. Tyranny would only be present if the state was able to uphold more representatives in Senate and House of Representative, which is impossible based on the rules stated previously on the measure of delegates. “The number of representatives shall not exceed for exceed for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one representative…” (Document D).
The House of Representative are population based house where states as small as Rhode Island could only obtain only one delegate. On the other hand, Virginia had ten delegates due to the state being the most populated at the time. Smaller states saw this as unfair that they had no chance in equal representation with a state with double or even triple their size. To defeat this and prevent any suspicion of tyranny, the Congress was formed to also have the Senate, where every state had two delegates. “.
.shall be composed of two senators from each state…
and each senator have one vote.” (Document D). This allowed every state, no matter the population, to have a constant amount of representation. Tyranny cannot be found through Congress through how the bicameral house can benefit both large and small states.
Large populates states have beneficial representation in the House of Representative’s population based delegation and small states have equal say in the Senate’s two delegates per state rule. Tyranny has been prevented through the Constitution’s ability to balance and check the power and representation of everyone in America.