Assess the View That the Us Constitution Often Ensures a Limited Government (30 Marks)

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When the Founding Fathers met at the Philadelphia convention in 1787, and wrote the constitution of the United States, they decided they wanted it to consist of 4 main points. A representative and accountable government, the separation of powers between 3 branches of government, a federal structure and a limited government. They wanted limited government, by which the government would do only what was essential, leaving the citizens’ rights and freedoms as untouched as possible. This framework of government was put in place by the Founding Fathers because of their fear of tyranny. They were influenced by the writings of the french political philosopher Montesquieu. In his book ‘The Spirit Of The Laws’ Montesquieu argued for a separation of powers into legislative, executive and judicial branches of government in order to avoid tyranny. ‘When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person…there can be no liberty’ wrote Montesquieu. The Founding Fathers implemented this, through the president, Congress and the US Court System with a Supreme Court which holds ultimate judicial power. The separation of powers was designed to limit government, as each branch would carry out different functions of government this meant no single branch has total control in order to form a dictatorship. The power to limit government through the separation of powers can be demonstrated in the case of Brown v Board of Education, in 1954. The Supreme Court ruled that state laws establishing separate schools for black and white students, were unconstitutional. The Supreme Court declared this illegal, but were powerless to do anything else. Only the executive has the power to have laws enforced, and the executive needs funding from congress to help enact the decision. This demonstrates that no one branch can do anything by itself, and therefore, the separation of powers

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