Voting at the Constitution level
Did everyone at the Constitutional Convention vote in favor of the Constitution? If not, who voted against it (or abstained from voting) and what were the reasons given for their opposition? Did their refusal to vote for the Constitution result in some way in any subsequent changes in the Constitution?
|Subject||Law and governance||Pages||4||Style||APA|
Not every delegate at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention voted in favor of the Constitution. Those who voted against it were the Anti-federalists led by Patrick Henry and George Mason and states such as Rhode Island. One of the key reasons given by those opposed to the Constitution was that the new system of government proposed in the Constitutional propositions did not have adequate protection for individuals’ rights and liberties. For instance, one of the major rallying calls for a vote against the Constitution during the Philadelphia Convention was that the document did not contain a Bill of Rights. Additionally, the Anti-federalists argued that the Constitution proposed accorded the central government too much power, which would have led to oppression of the minority, especially in the absence of the Bill of Rights. Additionally, the view of the opposition was that the strong government proposed in the Constitution was a threat to the sovereignty of the states. Other opposition groups asserted that the new centralized government proposed would have the despotic features of the colonizers, who the people had fought so hard to remove. In the absence of a Bill of Rights that protected personal liberties, the opposers argued that the Constitution should not be adopted. The refusal to vote for the Constitution by some delegates did not prevent the Constitution from being passed; however, their opposition led to subsequent changes to the Constitution. For example, after the enactment of the Constitution, Congress sent twelve amendments to the states of which ten of those were related to the Bill of Rights and were ratified immediately. As such, the opposition was vital in ensuring subsequent amendments were made to the Constitution.
From the week materials, one of the ideas that never made it into our Constitution but which I find interesting is Madison’s proposed pre-preamble to the US Constitution. Notably, Madison argued that the Constitution needed to have a declaration prefixed to it, which asserted that all power is not only vested to but also derived from the people. Additionally, he proposed that the government should be constituted and exercised for the benefit of the people, and the people should be granted the unalienable, indefeasible, and indubitable right to either reform or change the government if they find it to be inadequate in the performance of its duties. Such a preamble was never included in the original Constitution but was replaced by Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. I find this idea interesting because if it could have been included in the Constitution, then people would have the power to change an inefficient government at will. The proposed idea would have changed America because it would have given people a constitutional power to come together and call for reforms to be made to the government without having to follow any formal procedures. The change would have ensured that any government that was deemed by the people to have acted in ways that catered for personal interests and not for the benefit of the people is disbanded. America would have a more efficient government because those in power would work under threat of removal if they do not cater to the needs of the people who elected them. Moreover, people would have a larger say in how the government is run because they would effectively monitor government activities to establish whether they are for the benefit of the people.
Demise of The Confederation
The structural defects that caused the Articles of Confederation to fail include the lack of an executive branch to enforce any of the laws passed by Congress and the failure to have a court system/judicial branch that would interpret the laws. Notably, the national government did not have the power to enforce any of the acts that Congress passed. The lack of an executive branch, which would handle such a mandate was a fatal flaw because it meant that laws were only to be passed without actually having a body that could implement them. Without a national executive arm that would ensure that the laws are effectively implemented, the passage of the Constitution would have been in vain. Additionally, a fatal flaw occurred where the proposals made did not have a provision for a judicial branch that would be used in interpreting laws and ensuring that any disputes relating to federal laws were amicably resolved. Such a flaw implies that the laws would be interpreted to suit the interests of different states. The absence of a judicial arm of government that would ensure proper legal interpretation was fatally hindering the Confederation. However, despite these flaws, the Articles of Confederation were a necessary precursor to the Constitution because they provided a skeleton that was used in the formation of the Constitution. For instance, the Articles of Confederation enabled the American people to learn more about the requirements of an effective national government and the key aspects that should be included in a Constitution. Moreover, the Articles provided the US government with instructive experience and paved the way for the creation and ratification of the US Constitution.
Biblical Grounds for Revolution?
The American Revolution was justified from a Biblical viewpoint because it was aimed at the removal of wicked persons from power. Notably, although Romans 13:1 requires every person to be subject to the government of the day, rebellion by the colonists against England was justified because it was not against the government but the people who run the government. The colonists were not anti-government but anti-tyranny that was being perpetrated by government leaders. Romans 13 was about honoring the institution of the government and not necessarily the individuals who ruled the government. Although the colonists supported God’s institution of government, their actions were to remove the specific oppressive regime out of power and per the scripture. It was the King of England who personally violated the scripture by behaving in a wicked manner such that he could no longer be considered a servant of God. Rebellion to the tyrants, which is what the colonists did was obedience to God and not against the teachings of the bible. Moreover, the American Revolution was not an offensive exercise but rather a defensive war, which aimed at ensuring the protection of the rights of minority groups who were being discriminated against by the British actors. The colonists only sought to defend themselves against the conflict that the British had occasioned in the first place. Moreover, in 1Peter 2:13, the scripture states that people should submit themselves to the authority for God’s sake. As such, the condition for obeying authority is for the sake of the Lord. As a result, because the authority in place was both unrighteous and cruel, people were not obligated to obey such a government. As a result, the American Revolution was no against the scripture but rather justified on Biblical grounds.