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The Constitution

.. gain in the Hayne, Webster debate in regards to a tariff imposed which favored the northern states, and their right was denied then too. The federal government had won out and from then on the federal government would take more powers then ever intended. The constitution had failed. It had let things run wild.

It definitely did not fulfill its job to try to keep the powers balanced and protect the peoples rights. The broadness of the constitution created problems within the executive branch too. In some cases the constitution was blatantly disregarded. Right from the Washingtons first presidency there was argument about how the constitution would be interpreted. During his presidency two people in his cabinet would change how the constitution would work for the rest of its life.

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Those two people were Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Alexander Hamilton realized that the constitution was written too vaguely to be taken seriously. His standpoint was that the government could read into it because that was the only way things could get done. Jefferson realized that this would strip the people of their rights and in that way destroy the ideals of America. He believed the constitution should be read strictly. The only problem with this was that it did not specifically say anything.

It was a catch twenty two, and that is the whole reason the constitution is a failure. No matter how it is interpreted it can not accomplish anything towards the goals of America. Thomas Jeffersons way seemed to be the fairest to the people and he eventually became the president. However, this proved the constitution can not work for the people. This is because when he became president he was all for strict interpretation which would protect the peoples rights.

However, he realized he had no power to get things done. When he wanted to purchase land he found out there was no way the government could which is a huge flaw because it would greatly help America if it could. He ended up buying the land using a broad interpretation of the constitution and going against his own values. He realized the constitution was too vague to work. This isnt the only time the executive branch has abused the constitution.

When Andrew Jackson was president he totally disregarded it proving it had no real power to keep the branches in check. The first problem that came up was because of the Native Americans. The Cherokee were being forced to move but they thought they did not have to under the laws of the united states, so they took it to court. They eventually won and were granted the right to keep their lands. However President Jackson had other plans.

He forced the Cherokee to move against the court ruling. The constitution gave no power to prevent against this. Yet another problem with the vagueness of the constitution. Another problem arose during his presidency. Jackson did not like the bank of the united states because it brought the rich elite closer to the power. The intentions of this were good but he destroyed the bank which had already been proven constitutional. This incident brought up the question of who has the right to say something is unconstitutional, because in one of the constitutions many flaws it does not mention this most important power so everybody was claiming to posses it.

The Judicial Branch was in no way excluded from this race for power. Although it had no real power to directly meddle in the other branches it used court cases to set precedents for how things would be conducted in the future and therefor pull power to themselves. The first and most important case they used to get power was Marbury v. Madison. In this historical case Judicial review was formed which gave the court the power to declare an act of congress unconstitutional.

Marbury was one of the midnight judges appointed by John Adams as he was leaving office. Adams was trying to pack the courts with people from his political party because they would serve for life. Marbury never got his pares and when the next president found it he refused to deliver it. Marbury sued for his job and it went to the supreme court. The judiciary act would have forced the new president to deliver the papers. The courts agreed.

John Marshall, the chief justice, said that Marbury had every right to his job, but that congress had created powers not stated in the constitution. Because of this, Marbury did not get his job. Marshal then went on to set up Judicial review. By doing this, however, the court did something they themselves had just said was unconstitutional. The constitution was supposed to be able to solve these problems but it was too vague.

Another court case, McCulloch v. Maryland, gave even more power to congress directly taking it away from the states. In this case the supremacy clause was protected and let congress use a broad interpretation of it to take power. When the second bank of the united states was formed Maryland instituted a tax to try and prohibit the bank from being profitable. They said they had the right to control there local business but the federal government argued the supremacy clause protected them. The Supreme Court decided that the supremacy clause protected things set by the government from the states.

The American People were losing power by leaps and bounds. This case made the federal government supreme over the states. The constitution had failed to give the states any power to check the federal government. The main ideal set by the new nation was to keep as much power as possible with the states, and now the states had no power. Time and time again in each branch of the government the constitution was read into and powers were created, proving the constitution was too vague to work. Congress used a couple of open ended clauses to create any power they wanted for themselves.

The executive branch proved it was too vague to be able to give any real power, and to that end could not keep the branches in check. And, the courts used their case decision to rob people of their rights. The Constitution was made in a way where it was doomed to fail. It did not really say anything so there was bound to be problems, and it has proved true time and time again. Bibliography Bibliography Hall, Kermit L.

The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York Oxford University Press, 1992. Witt, Elder. The Supreme Court A to Z. Congressional Quarterly Inc. Washington DC, 1993.

Bacon, Donald C. The Encyclopedia of the United States Congress. Simon & Schusks. New York, 1995. Gilbert, Steve. Landmark Decisions of the United States Supreme Court IV.

Excellent Books. California, 1994. Danzer, Gerald A. The Americans. McDougal Littell. Evanston IL, 1998. American History Essays.


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