The Strengths And Weaknesses Of The American Political System Identify and comment on what you see to be the strengths and/or weaknesses of the American system as far as the topics in this section are concerned. The constitutional system of the United States is a puzzling aspect of an American’s life. Many do not understand. Some think they understand it and with their slight grasp of it they try to offer solutions to better it. I would like to offer a broad concept of the American constitutional system and its subcategories, which are the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and what I have learned about them.
In this paper, I will also present the strengths and weaknesses concerning each category. To begin to grasp the constitutional system, one must first comprehend why it was chosen and why the forefathers composed it this way. Because most Americans, at that time, owned guns and were not formerly educated, the forefathers feared allowing them to rule (lecture 9/27/99). So they took it upon themselves, the well educated, to forge a new democracy. The forefathers chose a mixed government that represented three existing forms of government: a monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy (lecture 9/27/99).
The President would represent the elected monarchy, the Senate would represent the aristocracy, and the House of representatives would represent the democracy. The set up of the constitutional system chosen by the forefathers prevented the opportunity for the government to become oppressive (lecture 9/27/99). This was done in several ways. First the forefathers invented separation of powers. The legislative, judicial, and executive branches were set up in the manner that it would be less likely for them to come together.
Each department had separate and distinct requirements to fulfill. The requirements will be delineated later on. On the other hand, each branch interfered with each other through checks and balances. The checks and balance system allowed for three important events to occur with each section of the government. The checks and balance system deliberately set the three branches at odds with each other.
Each department was made responsible for different electoral pressures. As mentioned before the branches were also given the ability and agility to interfere into the jurisdiction of the other. For instance, the President is responsible to negotiate treaties but the senate must ratify it. Congress can pass it and then the President signs. But even if Congress ratifies the treaty and the President signs it, the Supreme Court can declare it unconstitutional (lecture 9/27/99).
This division of power occurs at two levels; the federal and state level. The federal system consists of the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court. The state level consists of a governor, representatives, and local courts. The system seems to work very well but does it? When the forefathers forged the constitutional system there were certain problems that they did see, mainly because the country was relatively smaller and consequently less problems to deal with. The government did not have to be so efficient for it to work.
The American society was wealthier in the sense that products were less expensive. For instance energy was cheaper, it only cost $1.15 for gas while in France it was 5 franks. But now the United States is involved in a competitive global economy and therefore lacks the efficiency that it once obtained. Another reason why the system worked so well was because the forefathers intended it not to work rapidly (lecture 9/27/99). Can anything be done about the inefficiency that the system faces in such a competitive modern world? There are some alternatives that Theodore J.
Lowi provides in an excerpt entitled Presidential Power: Restoring the Balance, but these solutions will come later on after the presentation of the three branches. For now I would like to expound on the strengths and weakness concerning the formation of the constitutional system. I believe that it was sheer genius. There exists no other government like our own and that has succeeded as well as ours has. The United States remains the only lasting superpower. There are many strengths in the system that allows for this.
The separation of powers allows for the distinct role of each branch but with this distinction each branch must check and balance each other. This makes complete sense because if each branch of the government were to be set on an equal ground there may be a struggle for power and control. This way each department is responsible for the well being of one another in reinforcing each other’s roles in being a government for the people. Each branch, although up holding the voice of the people would be able to make sure that policies and laws for the people would be just and fair. The checks and balance system allows for this to happen so that any branch could not take it upon itself to form any unjustifiable law or policy.
The division of the government into a state and federal government is also a product of our prodigy forefathers. The federal system would have the job of making and upholding foreign policies and the overseeing the domestic affairs of the country while the state government could focus on its own policies and affairs. Each state is different. There is not one state that is 100% similar to the other. There are different customs and reservations, various dialects of the English language, and diverse issues that each state deals with.
Massachusetts and New York are neighbors in the Northeast portion of the country but both have distinct identifiers. Massachusetts’s residents are thought to be intellectually inclined which may produce some snobbery. We are more reserved in our attire and openness towards one another. We, for the most part, pronounce our ‘r’ s like ‘h’ s. Public and private facilities are closed earlier to help enforce better lifestyles and diminish violence. On the other side, New Yorkers are thought to be blunt and proud.
There ‘r’ s are pronounced like ‘ou’ s. Public and private facilities are open long after ours are closed. New York is a place of excitement, fashion, and parties and Massachusetts is a place of business, history and education, (not to say that New Yorkers aren’t educated). To expand on the weakness of the system it is best to look at the constitutional system from the inside out. First, let’s take a look at the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is supposed to basically uphold the laws and the constitution. According to David M. O’Brien, the author of the excerpt entitled The Supreme Court: From Warren to Burger to Rehnquist, in it’s history the Supreme court has been known as a champion of one cause or another. It has played a substantial role in the political movement except during times of transitions and important elections. Presidential election control the judges appointed onto the Court and sometimes the path that the Court takes (O’ Brien).
There are nine judges who are share power and influence. The judges must accommodate for the position and voice of every other voice but the Chief Justice, if influential and persuasive enough has the ability and opportunity to revolutionize the voice of the court and have an everlasting role in history. This is what each Chief Justice seeks to achieve (O’Brien). The Warren court is one of the more memorable courts in contrast to the Renhquist Court, which the author chooses as the more memorable. During Chief Justice Warren’s appointment, there were several impacting rulings made.
The first of these rulings was in the case of Brown v. the Board of Education. In 1954, Warren declared that separate but equal was inherently unconstitutional and ordered for the desegregation of schools. Desegregation of schools changed the life of many citizens and sparked a revolution in American schools (O’Brien). Imagine going to school with only black or white students and then one day having to mix. For few this may have been a good adventure but for most this threatened their very notion of separate but equal and the lifestyles. Schools were closed because whites did not want blacks in their schools.
Many blacks were terrorized and ridiculed when and if they could attend a previously all white school. Angry sentiments were expressed to Blacks, supporters of this decision and, Justice Warren himself (Eyes on the Prize: Civil Rights documentary). Warren also announ …