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The basic premise of a constitutional democracy is that government has
rules and all of the people have voices. Through free and fair
elections we elect candidates to represent us. The Constitution of the
United States guarantees us the right to do this, and to live
democratically. The framers attacked tyrannical government and
advanced the following ideas: that government comes from below, not
from above, and that it derives its powers from the consent of the
governed; that men have certain natural, inalienable rights; that it is
wise and feasible to distribute and balance powers within government,
giving local powers to local governments, and general powers to the
national government; that men are born equal and should be treated as
equal before the law. The framers of the U. S. Constitution sought to
make these ideas the governing principles of a nation. Constitutional
democracy has three basic elements. Those being interacting values,
interrelated political processes and interdependent political
The first idea of interacting values is popular consent. Popular
consent means that government must obtain consent for its actions from
the people it governs. It is similar to majority rule, a political
process, in that the most popular acts or ideas of the people will be
adopted by our government. There must be an allowance or willingness
on behalf of the unpopular group to lose.
Popular consent may provide a means for judging parental consent laws
for minors seeking abortion. Since minors are not legally allowed to be
competent to engage in sex, to enter into contracts, or to form
sufficient "informed consent" to agree to their own medical
it is incredible that
they would be regarded as competent to make a life and death decision
about something that later in life they might themselves regard as a
real person, with individual rights
Drawing on several major contributions of the enlightenment, including
the political theory of John Locke and the economic ideas of Adam Smith,
individualism posts the individual human being as the basic unit out
of which all larger social groups are constructed and grants priority
to his or her rights and interests over those of the state or social
Individualism in its original form means looking at people as discrete
but whole units, without all the impressions of his social standing,
the make of his car or his postal code. It is a way of deliberation, to
tune out the clink of money in the background when you talk to
somebody, so that you can concentrate on that person\'s message and
judge it on its own merits.
It means looking at someone and not saying to yourself, "That\'s my
aunt" or "That\'s my boss,"
but rather, that is someone with his or her own inclinations and
desires, in other words, a true Individual who incidentally happens to
have this relation to me, as a relative or a superior.
On a grander scale, individualism is putting the individual above the
state and country. In those countries that have always been proud of
their traditional values of emphasis on the family or the country above
self they see Individualism as a direct attack on these values.
However, we live in a democratic country and we believe in
individualism and equal opportunity for all persons.
Equal opportunity for everyone is idealistic. Roosevelt outlined a
second bill of rights which the book states answers the question, "what
kind of equality?" This second bill of rights was four freedoms. They
were freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of speech &
expression and freedom of worship. There are laws and acts to guarantee
equal opportunity. For example, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 which
requires equal pay for equal work and the Civil Rights Act of 1964
which prohibits discrimination in programs receiving Federal funds.
But on a more personal level, we don\'t all start at the same line.
What about children beared with AIDS, or children born to the poor? Is
it believable that they have the same opportunities as a child born to
middle class parents who are still married? While every American can
be denied almost nothing because of race, color, national origin,
religion, sex, familial status, or disability, a lot of Americans
aren\'t in the position to be discriminated against. This means that
many Americans do not have the opportunity to fully exercise their
liberty. Personal liberty is freedom. It means all persons must be
given the opportunity to realize their own goals. It translates to
The Constitution states all people have the right to life, liberty and
freedom. This is a bit idealistic because one person\'s liberty may
infringe upon another person\'s freedom. Take abortion for example.
Although it is legal and feminists
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Democracy, Elections, James Madison, Forms of government, Philosophy of law, United States Constitution, Liberty, Liberal democracy, Separation of powers, United States Congress, United States Bill of Rights, Constitution of Puerto Rico
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