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Pol 201 – American National Government - America's Democracy

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America’s Democracy

POL 201 – American National Government

Ashford University

Ray Fullard

America’s Democracy

        We view the government as something that is unattainable, untrustworthy and sometimes corrupt. Maybe they are all of these things, and maybe they are none of them. It is possible we are afraid of the power it carries but the idea of the government is to protect citizens and create order. To better understand how we follow protocol today, it is best to look at where it started and progressed over time. By viewing The Constitution's strengths and weaknesses, understanding federalism and the process through our three branches of government, we can challenge policies and look to change. As we continue we will look into different political parties, interest groups and elections to encourage positive impacts and to learn from our negative ones.

US Constitution

        The US Constitution, dated back to 1787, is fascinating. The fact that a known document, to instill order is still prevalent in today's culture is a strength all on its own. Over two hundred years ago, our forefathers sat down and discussed such matters to implement these sanctions. Although they can be interpreted differently, they are still used for good order and discipline. The strength of it all is the fact that it can be interpreted differently within instilling the core belief behind the amendment. This does not say that we will not come across a debate, that is almost guaranteed, but what it says is that as we grow and challenge to bring equality to everyone, we can set limits without telling others their values are right or wrong. For example, the eighth amendment states “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted” (Amendment VIII, 1791), this brings controversy and speculation to the text because penalty by death was actively used in the 18th century. Now, some may agree with the death penalty to be cruel, which would go against the amendment, but some states still allow the death penalty while some do not.

    The weakness within the Constitution would also be its interpretation, it aids in a double ended sword. Although it is great to see change and growth within America, no everyone has those same views. Some believe the text within the Constitution should be the value of the amendment presently. This can cause a plethora of issues considering it was created over two hundred years ago, a time when we did not have automobiles, telephones, the internet or indoor plumbing for that matter. When Justice Stephen Breyer, he is one of the nine Supreme Court Justices, he takes into effect six different ways to better understand and interpret the text. He reads the text, reviews history, tradition, precedent and also the purpose or value and the consequence (Scalia & Breyer, unknown). Considering looking into history can be helpful, sometimes it can lead you astray from the information you are looking for. Take in for consideration when we were seeking to end segregation, would it be beneficial to review a court preceding that stated we were required for separation, absolutely not. This would go against the growth we are looking to encourage; instead, we can look to values and use the text to fit our current culture, which was spreading equality.


A constant battle Federal V. State, which one is better or which one is more stable. Unfortunately, there is no proper answer for federalism, and it once again jumps down to a means of opinion. Do you want flexibility within your policies, so you feel that they fit your needs, or do you prefer a one size fits all? A few things come to mind when deciding this, is this for the people or the nation. When choosing policies, I think it is more important to focus on who it affects. Although all policies affect people in one way or another, who would it directly affect? For example, when determining health policies, it would be better to start with the state, so you have the flexibility to experiment with the policies while collecting federal taxes from people is a national policy and doesn’t require much flexibility. Another thing to take into consideration is the US Department of Agriculture, although that is national, states take care of the health management, while federal can hold supremacy to it (Klein, 2012).

To have a more successful system, I think that states should have more power when working with state issues. Considering we are secondhand to it, and we understand the severity it would be easier. Of course, we will always look to national policy for guidance but this way we can stand on our own because not every state is the same and needs certain flexibility when it’s in regards to the people.

                                Branches of Government

        We have three branches of government, legislative, executive and judicial. Each is significant as they have their obligations. Legislative branch includes Congress, Senate and House of Representatives; they make the laws. The Executive branch carries out the law; this would include the President, Vice President and cabinet. Finally, we have the judiciary which evaluates the rules; this would include the nine Supreme Court Judges and other federal courts. My primary focus is on the Judicial branch, what are the advantages of this branch and the disadvantages, how can we change them?

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