Table of Contents
This essay has five topics of discussion whose scope will include the bill of rights; rights, privileges and obligations; effects of judicial activism and judicial restraint; case studies about the scope of presidential powers and decision making; a comparison of the federal, confederal, and unitary systems. Each topic will have an introduction (with the last sentence having the thesis statement), the body, and a conclusion.
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Discussing the Meaning and Importance of Three Amendments that are Guaranteed Under the Bill of Rights and How each applies to Daily Life in the United States
During the formation of a central (federal) government, some states opposed the idea. States such New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, among others expressed their fear of violation of citizen’s rights in the constitution. They supported the U.S. Constitution on condition that the proponents make amendments to prevent the federal government from abusing an individual’s rights. After the elections, James Madison, a Virginian congress member compared the constitutions and proposals from the states and drafted over ten amendments. All states had a chance to ratify them. They approved ten amendments simultaneously which is now known as the bill of rights. Over twenty amendments to the constitution are already in effect since 1789. This discussion focusses on the first three amendments. They were necessary to win everybody’s confidence in the federal government and build the belief of humane treatment.
Meaning, Importance, and Application to Daily Life of the Amendments. The drafters of the constitution were not supposed to assume that everyone knew an individual’s rights and when they fall under violation. People wanted an assurance that no one will ever take advantage of the absence of such rights in writing. The inclusion of the bill of rights brought the antifederalist States on board. It gave them to trust in the new constitution and system of governance. The first bill of rights describes the fundamental liberties: it gives people the freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press, and the right to petition (Hamilton, Madison, Jay & Pole 486). In a daily life, anybody can speak his or her mind without fear of victimization provided. Politicians can use this freedom to convince the voters of an ideology for which they stand. Students can gain more insight into a specific topic when they engage in constructive arguments. Further, in schools, nobody should force students to a religious faith that he or she do not subscribe to willingly. The second amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms and States the right to support a regulated militia. That has had critics fear owing to the increased shooting while people use the unregistered arm to kill and injure civilians. However, once the authorities curb misuse of guns, civilians who own guns could use them appropriately. The third amendment grants house occupants the right to refuse to accommodate soldiers in time of peace. People do not have to pay taxes and still feed soldiers.
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Conclusively, States felt comfortable with the federal government and the constitution after including the bill of rights. It is logical when the supreme law that would serve several State governments be in line with the laws of each State. Moreover, the constitution came after their laws were already in place. The amendments make American citizens free from slavery in their own country. Thus, it makes them proud and grants a peaceful coexistence.
Describing the Difference Between Rights, Privileges, and Obligations in American Society Today; (i.e., Why Enjoyment of One’s Rights Entails Respect for the Rights of Others)
Often individuals may confuse the three that is rights, privileges, and obligations. That is why States insisted on the inclusion of the bill of rights in the constitution. Rights as prescribed in the constitution define humanity and distinguishes man from animals. Privileges make are government owned, and it can choose to take them away from an individual when it considers worth. Some privileges include government-provided education, housing, healthcare, among others. Obligations rest with all individuals and the government to understand the extent their freedom becomes a violation of other individuals’ freedom. Therefore, while rights are non-negotiable, obligations define the boundary of everyone’s rights.
A right is an entitlement of an individual while a privilege is a form of duty that someone must do; it is like a binding of the law, morality or any other. Additionally, rights mostly refer to the person’s self while an obligation is what an individual provides to others. Privileges are temporary depending on whether individuals keep their obligation. In case they fail in their obligation, the government or the authorities will choose to withdraw the privileges. Rights are the benefits individuals receive from the society while obligations are what they offer the society. Privileges act as motivators on individuals to perform their obligations right. For example, in a school set-up, the institution may offer to waive tuition fees for some students because of their excellent academic performance. That is a privilege, and the management may withdraw it when the student’s performance drops or they get involved in academic malpractice such as plagiarism. In that case, the student must perform or keep off such practices that would compromise their privileges. When it is not the government enforcing an obligation, the society does. The authorities enforce the law while the society, through rejection thus making anyone who does not conform to the precepts of the society as a misfit.
It is easier to confuse between a right and a privilege. People who do not know their rights would live in oppression because of the assumption that everything from the authorities is a privilege. Further, they may not know what to avoid in their daily activities that would interfere with someone else’s rights. In other words, it is unlikely that they know their obligation. In such cases, frequent violence and disputes erupt due to the lack of such knowledge. When the distinction between a right and a privilege reveals, people will never fail in their obligation.
Analyzing Judicial Activism and Judicial Restraint and the Effects of Each Policy Over the Decades (e.g., the Warren and Rehnquist Courts)
Judicial restraint and judicial activisms are aspects of that delicate activity and practical wisdom. Therefore, the idea of judicial activism is the opposite of judicial restraint. These two terms are used in the description of motivation and philosophy behind few judicial decisions. They act to complement each other. At a more significant level, judicial restraint involves the firm clarification of the law and the significance of legal authority while judicial activism refers to the judgmental theory that takes into consideration alternating times and the law’s spirit.
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Judicial restraint is a concept of judicial clarification which encourages judges to reduce the application of their power. It argues that the judges should wait to invalidate laws unless they are unconstitutional. Judicial activism is a vital process of legal perspective in an alternating society. Judicial activism enables judges to use their personal feeling in the fight of the unjust issues. Many judges are elected to the bench, if they do not rule in the way people agree, they are voted out of the bench (it gives people the right to vote the judges off). Judicial restraint gives room for executive and legislature a more substantial freedom to formulate policies. Judicial activism has led to the alignment of power down to the trial courts. That began during the antebellum period where the supreme court claimed the power for judicial review that was unconstitutional (Holland 12). In fact, after the changes that the activists started, judges often practice restraint. Though judges have the power to strike-out laws that are unconstitutional, they do so with restraint lately because should the fail, the review of the activities would make them voted out.
All American citizens are based on the authority, whether born or naturalized and they also live in the state as citizens. While the judges assume that they can resolve all the difficulties that society has and begin to carry out executive and legislative duties, all the problems are bound to arise. Due to lack of ability and enough resources, the judges do not solve significant problems in society. For that matter, they can only mediate in a few exceptional cases. Additionally, such an intrusion by the judiciary towards the executive and legislature will always have a massive reaction from politicians.
Understanding the Scope of Presidential Power and Decision Making Through Examination of Case Studies Such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, Great Society Legislation, War Powers Act and Both Gulf Wars
According to the United States Constitution, the power exists in three arms of government that is the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. The division of power ensures a system of checks and balances and to contest on the creation of US foreign policy. The president owns the executive power of the entire government. He/she is the commander in chief of armed forces that is the navy and army. The president also has powers to create treaties with the Senate’s approval and the power to appoint and receive ambassadors.
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The legislature, judiciary, and the executive divide the power amongst themselves. That ensures that there is a system of continuous checks and balances and to contest over the creation of US foreign policy. Considering the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy had learned of the Soviet’s plan to build a ballistic missile launcher in Cuba. In the interest of protecting the eastern U.S. from a potential strike upon completion of the project, the President created a quarantine on the island so that no more Russian ships would ferry in missiles and construction materials (Akkus 7). The decision gave U.S. an edge over the Soviets after an agreement to abandon the project. The war powers act denies the President the veto to send armed forces to war without the authorization of the Congress. Though he/she is the commander in chief of the armed forces, the act constrains him/her to seek the Congress’ approval. However, there is uncertainty on whether the resolution works especially after the 1999 Kosovo crisis. The great society legislation that President Johnson announced in 1964 aimed for the good of the U.S. citizens by ending poverty and discrimination. The Persian Gulf War that began in 1991 contributed to crisis decision making models. It ordered presidential consideration, appeared when bureaucrats were fighting over post-cold war budgets. In this case, the president is hugely authoritative in crises, the setting of agenda, issues of high politics and in selecting among options.
The war powers question needs a careful attention and study so that the legislature, executive, and electorate may fully understand. It is a question that affects the structure of the constitution and the nation’s security. Such matter needs consideration of calmness in an atmosphere that is free from agitation. The constitutional foundation of joint powers is reasonable and attends to the interests of the whole nation in the modern world. The participation and cooperation between the Congress and the president in decision-making are more evident than it was before. The checks and balances that the constitution gives may not be as smooth as expected due to crises at hand.
Discussing the Advantages and Disadvantages of Federal, Confederal and Unitary Systems of Government
A system of government distributes power among distinct levels and parts of the state. The types of governments found working in the world nowadays are; Confederal, unitary and federal systems of government. In a Unitary, the central government controls more power. In this system of government, the regional and local offices are under the protection of the central government although they belong to the unitary state. There is the sharing of power between the state and the central government in the Federal system, local administrative organs or regional. A confederal system extracts all its powers from the regional or state governments. In this type of government, the State keeps the powers of an independent nation such as the rights to make treaties, print money, the military force among others.
The advantages and disadvantages help to distinguish between the three systems of government. Confederal government is more with its citizens, hence no chance of dictatorship, this is made possible because it concentrates on each state citizens’ needs. These types of governments do not last because of the scarcity of resources of a powerful organized government and due to power conflicts from within. In unitary governments, policies and law are alike, the passing of the laws is effortless since only the central government certify them. There is much consistency in the laws since a single body makes them. Much power in these types of governments could lead to a dictatorship since they cover so many states that control over a large area could be lost. In federal systems, the level of independence is transferred to the single states at the same time keeping a powerful a centric authority and possibility of dictatorship is minimal. These systems have power conflicts like the ones seen in the American Civil War.
In the above essay, it is challenging; there is need to evaluate a political system, insight, and knowledge. The following organizations give the needed information freedom house, transparency and economist intelligence. Economist intelligence unit exercises the measurement of the state of democracy in 167 countries. Freedom house exercises the measurement of political rights and civil liberties in every country. Transparency puts corruption issues on international policy agenda.
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- Akkus, Emine. The United States, Cuban Missile Crisis, and Turkey. 2014. The University of Texas at Dallas, Maters Dissertation. ProQuest.
- Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison, John Jay, & J. R. Pole. The Federalist. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2005. Print.
- Holland, Kenneth M. “Judicial Activism in the United States.” Judicial Activism in Comparative Perspective. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1991. 12-32.