The Constitution Versus the Declaration of Independence Essay Sample

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The Constitution did not fulfill the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence because it gave the government more power than the people. The Declaration of Independence promised that when the government failed the people, that they (the people) could overrule the the government and institute a new one. The Constitution on the other hand takes away rights of the people, and gives the government ultimate power. Although extremely helpful to our society and the way our country is run, the Constitution ultimately strays away from the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

The people do not have the right to overthrow a government or even alter it if necessary according to the constitution. America was built on a smaller group of people overthrowing a larger government. It is the reason why we have so many freedoms today. A Revolution could not have been accomplished if the colonists were unable to rise against the larger Britain. Toward the end of the declaration it states, “such has the sufferance of these colonies; and such now the necessity which constraints them to alter their former systems of government.” This is saying that the colonies have suffered under a tyranny before and for the well being of the country, should not establish a powerful government because it may be destructive and take away certain freedoms. It is stating that the more power people have, their is less of a chance for a dictator or tyrannic leadership to occur. Although a very radical idea (to give most power to the people), that was the main point of the declaration. In the constitution, the government is much more powerful than what the writers of the declaration wanted. Even if a powerful government is good for our country, it is still the exact opposite ideal of the declaration.

The Declaration promises citizens unalienable rights, where the Constitution states no such rights. The definition of unaliable rights is those rights that cannot be surrendered, transferred or sold to someone else or the government. These are natural god-given rights that to the writers of the declaration, were essential. The first line of the declaration states, “they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.” In contras, inalienable rights are rights that can only be transferred with the consent of the person processing those rights. The declaration is a document for the people, which gives them the right to overthrow a government where the constitution is more of a document to control the people with a government.

The constitution was not a follow up, of the declaration, but a revision of the articles of confederation. According to the Constitution people are to serve their government, instead of the other way around. The constitution is more of a revision of the articles of confederation, where government and elected officials are more important than the public. Thomas Paine, in his book Rights of Man, wrote that “constitutions are formed and agreed too, so that governments can be formed to enact laws to control commerce and social activities.” Constitutions don’t allow people to govern themselves, which in some ways is a good thing, but is much different from what the declaration was about. In the constitution, congress makes rules for the government. In the declaration, the people are able to alter or even abolish the government.

Although our Constitution is very strong and holds powerful ideas, it is an exact opposite of what the declaration of independence was all about. The constitution is merely a revision of the articles of confederation which stray from the declaration as well. The constitution was written in essencse to strengthen the weak centralized government presented in the articles of confederation. The declaration voiced for a weak government and a country ruled by the people, the articles created a weak centralized government and gave some power to the people, finally the constitution created a strong government giving little power to the people.

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