The document I chose to write about is the United States Constitution. When the thirteen British colonies in North America declared their independence in 1776, they laid down that “governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The “colonies” had to establish a government, which would be the framework for the United States. The purpose of a written constitution is to define and therefore more specifically limit government powers. After the Articles of Confederation failed to work in the 13 colonies, the U.S. Constitution was created in 1787.
The Constitution is important because it was expressly designed to limit powers into three co-ordinate branches, the legislative, executive, and judiciary branch; none of which was to have supremacy over the others. This separation of powers with the checks and balances which each branch was given over the others was designed to prevent any branch, from infringing individual liberties safeguarded by the Constitution. I think the U.S. Constitution was a way for the U.S. to establish government which was a negotiation between the two former governments, a monarchy and total state power. I think by creating the checks and balances, people’s rights would be safer and they would feel more secure not having one branch of government with absolute power. What I found most interesting about the Constitution was how complex and detailed the framers made it, to effectively explain and limit the individual branches of power in government. In the words of Thomas Paine, “a government without a constitution is power without right”. Meaning that for power to be granted, it is necessary to establish a constitution.
The Federalist Papers 10 ; 51 were essays which helped persuade the citizens of the United States to vote for the federal Constitution. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay used pseudonyms as their names to convince the public. Those who were skeptical of voting for a government, which had many different major powers, were reassured by the founding fathers in their speeches and conventions throughout the U.S.
The importance of Constitution, both in its content and its status, is little appreciated by the general public. As citizens of the United States, we must never forget the basic fact that we have, as a price of social development and stability, have handed over a large amount of control over our lives to our government. And there is no government which can be trusted to function successfully and honestly without the discipline of clear constitutional rules laying down the essential principles to which government can be held accountable.