The Strengths And Weaknesses Of The American Polit
ical SystemIdentify and comment on what you see to be the strengths and/or weaknesses of the American system as far as the topics in this section are concerned.
The constitutional system of the United States is a puzzling aspect of an American’s life. Many do not understand. Some think they understand it and with their slight grasp of it they try to offer solutions to better it. I would like to offer a broad concept of the American constitutional system and its subcategories, which are the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and what I have learned about them. In this paper, I will also present the strengths and weaknesses concerning each category.
To begin to grasp the constitutional system, one must first comprehend why it was chosen and why the forefathers composed it this way. Because most Americans, at that time, owned guns and were not formerly educated, the forefathers feared allowing them to rule (lecture 9/27/99). So they took it upon themselves, the well educated, to forge a new democracy. The forefathers chose a mixed government that represented three existing forms of government: a monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy (lecture 9/27/99). The President would represent the elected monarchy, the Senate would represent the aristocracy, and the House of representatives would represent the democracy.
The set up of the constitutional system chosen by the forefathers prevented the opportunity for the government to become oppressive (lecture 9/27/99). This was done in several ways. First the forefathers invented separation of powers. The legislative, judicial, and executive branches were set up in the manner that it would be less likely for them to come together. Each department had separate and distinct requirements to fulfill. The requirements will be delineated later on. On the other hand, each branch interfered with each other through checks and balances. The checks and balance system allowed for three important events to occur with each section of the government.
The checks and balance system deliberately set the three branches at odds with each other. Each department was made responsible for different electoral pressures. As mentioned before the branches were also given the ability and agility to interfere into the jurisdiction of the other. For instance, the President is responsible to negotiate treaties but the senate must ratify it. Congress can pass it and then the President signs. But even if Congress ratifies the treaty and the President signs it, the Supreme Court can declare it unconstitutional (lecture 9/27/99).
This division of power occurs at two levels; the federal and state level. The federal system consists of the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court. The state level consists of a governor, representatives, and local courts. The system seems to work very well but does it? When the forefathers forged the constitutional system there were certain problems that they did see, mainly because the country was relatively smaller and consequently less problems to deal with. The government did not have to be so efficient for it to work. The American society was wealthier in the sense that products were less expensive. For instance energy was cheaper, it only cost $1.15 for gas while in France it was 5 franks. But now the United States is involved in a competitive global economy and therefore lacks the efficiency that it once obtained. Another reason why the system worked so well was because the forefathers intended it not to work rapidly (lecture 9/27/99).
Can anything be done about the inefficiency that the system faces in such a competitive modern world? There are some alternatives that Theodore J. Lowi provides in an excerpt entitled Presidential Power: Restoring the Balance, but these solutions will come later on after the presentation of the three branches. For now I would like to expound on the strengths and weakness concerning the formation of the constitutional system. I believe that it was sheer genius. There exists no other government like our own and that has succeeded as well as ours has. The United States remains the only lasting superpower. There are many strengths in the system that allows for this.
The separation of powers allows for the distinct role of each branch but with this distinction each branch must check and