The Constitution, the Articles, and Federalism
By Hailey Murphy
Is the Constitution a living document? Should it be?
The American Constitution is a living document. The definition of a living document is something that impacts future generations from when it was created. The importance of this document is our basic fundamental rights and laws that we follow. Without this living document, we wouldn't have basis of society and government.
Whose ideas do you think were best for the new nation, Hamilton’s or Jefferson’s?
Are Political Parties Good for our Nation?
Why is this Important?
Today, our country is involved with terrorist attacks. Based on the recent presidential debate, the Republican and Democratic parties both have different opinions based on the way they feel we should take on Isis. While varying opinions is a great concept and basis behind our country, these decisions lead to great conflict among ourselves and deprive our power as other countries take it for granted.
Based on Washington’s “Farewell Address” in 1776, he implies that the future generations of our country should avoid the development of parties in our nation. He feared that the two divided groups would come across special interest groups and foreign nations that would come to dominate them as a whole.
What do you think Washington, Hamilton, Adams, and Jefferson would think about America in 2016?
Who do you think had a stronger argument, the New England Federalists who supported a loose interpretation of the Constitution and strong central government, or the Southern Republicans who supported a strict interpretation of the Constitution and a more limited central government?
What do you think is the proper balance between states’ rights and federal power? Which level of government, federal or state, can best solve our nation’s problems?
- Personally, I feel that both opposing ideas of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson had their positives and negatives. The problem with both ideas is that each wanted to overthrow or gain more power than the other. Hamilton was a federalist who believed that the power should be in the hand of the central government, while Jefferson who was an anti-federalist advocated state rights over central powers. Both believe that their party should gain control over.
- For the new nation, I believe that Jefferson’s thoughts were better because the state's power maintained equality and needs throughout all 50 states rather than one central government that created all the laws for the nation and allows them to defend each state's’ own rights.
- Today, there is an equal balance between the two and both limit one another’s powers. The importance of both ideas is that the balance one another out and maintain equality throughout.
Washington- If Washington were to see America in 2016, I think he would be disappointed in the society we have become. Washington specifically stated that the creation of political parties would ruin our government and outsiders would begin to take advantage of the mess we created. For now, our government is stable and I think he would be surprised that the political parties have created a good sense of controversy among the citizens. But, with the upcoming elections, I feel that Washington would see this country in great fear of possible destruction and getting ourselves into a mess that he said specifically we should not become involved in.
Hamilton and Jefferson- Hamilton and Jefferson had such varying perspectives on who should have more power when coming to making government-based decisions. They wanted state or central to government to have more power, but today, I think they would be surprised that the two balance one another out. This is called checks and balances. This process makes sure that different branches of government do not gain more power than another.
Adams- Adams was involved with the federalists. While the power of states and central government is equal, I think he would be fairly happy to acknowledge that the federal government has somewhat more of power in relation to creating much more national laws and ruling them into place.
In my personal opinion, the proper balance between states rights and federal power is that each simply do their job. States should create their own terms based on the needs of their citizens. The federal power should maintain keeping focused on the national regulations that are to be followed and are required by all citizens of the US. For example, an example of federal law is the interstate flying laws, while state laws include education, selling of particular products, etc. The level to which I believe will solve out nation's problems is the federal powers. This is because, the states revolve around the basic needs of out citizens, but that also means that citizens of different states are not entitled to the same laws, education, and so forth as someone else in another state. By being a nation wide aspect in the government, the federal powers have a lot to offer through opening up a variety of regulations and laws that apply generally to all the nation, as well as the safety of everyone, not just a particular state.
The New England Federalists had a stronger argument than the southern Republicans. Today, we follow through with equal balances between state and central power, the central power theoretically contains somewhat more than the state because they regulate national orders. I think that their argue for a loose interpretation of the constitution was agreeable because it allows for more change and relates more to the citizens of the US as a whole. In addition, I think that a strong central government is important because it sets the strength of the nation and applies to everyone, not just one individual state.