Essay Title: 

The Undemocratic Nature of the American Constitution

March 24, 2016 | Author: | Posted in political science, social sciences

The Undemocratic Nature Of The American Constitution

Robert A . Dahl in his book How Democratic is the American Constitution ‘ points out several `undemocratic elements in the Framers Constitution ‘ and uses them as justification to question the democratic intents of the fathers of the Constitution . In essence , what Dahl does most of the time is that he uses glasses tinted with present day democratic principles to examine the Constitution when it was written It is an unfair examination and evaluation and does not do justice to the Constitution that laid down the foundation [banner_entry_middle]

of democracy

Dahl argues that since the constitution did not explicitly ruled out slavery nor gave explicit powers to the Congress to ban bringing in of slaves , the constitution was undemocratic . What Dahl does not consider is the background in which the constitution was framed . There was black slavering in North American English colonies for more than 160 years before the drafting of the Constitution took place in 1787 . The Northern states had found that slavery was not of much gain to them and so eliminated it by 1804 but the Southern states used slaves in the cotton industry and their economy was linked to slavery . The issue of slavery became a bone of contention between the South and Northern states and any attempt to abolish it in the Constitution would mean that the Northern states would refuse to join the Union (Secession Crisis 2006 It is in this light that the framers of the constitution did not openly disallow slavery . What should be noted was that the word slavery or slave was not used in the Constitution (The U .S . Constitution Online 2006

Another contention of Dahl is that since the Constitution did not guarantee the right of suffrage , it was not democratic . What Dahl does not take into consideration is that the Constitution opened the door for suffrage . Even though initially , women and African Americans and Native Americans were not given suffrage the process had started and the ninetieth amendment explicitly granted women the rights to vote . What the constitution did was to grant each of the states the rights to frame the rules for voting . This was an important first step in enfranchisement . Even though it did not bring immediate suffrage to all the Constitution started the process . There were states that did not allow every one to vote . For example , the New York state required that a man own a lot of wealth to be allowed to vote . He must be a taxpayer and own property of 20 pounds or more or pay annual rent of 2 pounds (The City University Of New York 2004 . At the time the constitution came into force , there were at least 13 states that had property restrictions on the right to vote . It would have been disastrous to overnight abolish all restrictions (The City University Of New York 2004

Dahl debates that the Constitutional requirement that the senators be chosen not by the people but by the state… [banner_entry_footer]

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