The U.S. Constitution and Tyrrany

How The Framers Guarded Against Tyrrany

What is TYRANNY?

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”


-James Madison

Federalism

Federalism is one way the U.S. Constitution guards against tyranny. Federalism the the division and sharing of power between two levels of government. In the USA, those levels are the national and state governments. One example of federalism is the fact that states can make laws concerning marriage, and the national government can set up post offices, and both governments can collect taxes. This method of separating and sharing power prevents on type of government from getting too much control, therefore it prevents tyranny.
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Separation of Power

To prevent a tyrannical government, there must be different branches of government that control different things. Otherwise all the power is in one place, which is tyranny. The United State's government is separated into three branches: the legislative, judicial and executive branches. The legislative branch makes laws, the executive branch enforces laws, and the judicial branch interprets laws. By separating the power of the government between three branches, no one group or person can become a tyrant.

The Great Compromise

Tyranny is prevented the national legislature because there are two different houses within the legislative branch: the House of Representatives and the Senate. When the constitution was written, the delegates couldn't decide how to set up the legislature, with the representatives from each state based on population or have each state be equal. Eventually, they decided to do both! The House of Representatives is based off the population of each state, whereas the in the Senate, each state has two representatives. In order for a bill to become a law it must have the majority vote in both houses. Laws concerning money can only originate in the House of Representatives. The setup of congress prevents tyranny because both houses prevent the other from getting too much power.
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Checks and Balances

The three branches check and balance each other to prevent tyranny. The power of the national government is spread out between the three branches, which is how the power is balanced. The branches can also check one another. The judicial branch can check the executive by declaring the president's acts unconstitutional and can check the national legislature by declaring a law unconstitutional. The executive branch can check the judicial because the president appoints the judges can check the legislative branch by vetoing a law. The legislative branch can check the executive branch by impeaching the president and overriding a veto, and can check the judicial branch by approving (or not approving) the nominations for judges and can also impeach judges. These checks prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful.
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