The Framers of the Constitution envisioned a United States with a government with created and led by its people, to be fair and equal to all. They created a series of checks and balances throughout its infrastructure to ensure that no branch of the government was more powerful than the other and that each governance enacted was given its due attention and was thoughtfully and intentionally debated prior to moving forward. In its protection for liberty, property rights, religion, democracy, and equality, the Constitution adheres to beliefs deeply held by most Americans across many diverse groupings, which enhances the esteem in which it is held. (Coleman, 2012 election edition) For this reason the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch and Judicial Branch were created and as increasing complexities emerged beginning in the Industrial Era, were later joined by the Federal Bureaucracy. By examining these key elements of the United States government, I will outline their roles and analyze their efficacy and contributions to our nation.
The first of seven articles of the United States Constitution dedicates’ itself to the Legislative Branch. The US Congress is made up of two sides, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Congress regulates commerce among the states and trade with other nations…and can declare war, raise and support armies and maintained a navy (Tannahill, 2012), as outlined the Constitution as enumerated power. The Framers went a step further to include implied powers that states Congress has the responsibility to act on laws that, while not explicitly stated, are necessary and proper to uphold their responsibilities under enumerated powers. Any of these tasks can be daunting, as both sides of Congress must agree. The House of Representatives is comprised of 435 members representing the people of their home state. The number of delegates each state is given is based on the state’s population and reviewed every 10 years. Committees and subcommittees are formed to consider bills and issues and oversee agencies, programs and activities within their jurisdictions. (United States of Representatives, 2018) . Conversely, two representatives from each state make up the Senate totally 100 members. As they represent their home state’s government, they have the responsibility to promote and support the needs of their state government. The Senate also forms committees that act similarly to the House’s committees. Once a bill has been vetted out by either side, it is presented to the entire Congress for consideration and debate. The proposed legislation will cycle back through the respective side that originated it for revision until it is either killed or ready for presentation again. Once both the House of Representatives and the Senate pass a bill, it is then presented to the President for execution. Should the President veto the bill, the cycle restarts. The Framers of the Constitution believed that, while this process may seem laborious, it ensures that the bills presented have been reviewed, considered and debated by representatives of the whole population of the United States including common everyday citizens, state elected officials as well as nationally elected officials.
USE EXAMPLE OF RECENT PAST LEGISLATION TO DEMONSTRATE THESE POWERS IN USE.
While the President of the United States may be the figure head of our nation, he also has specific powers granted to him by the Constitution. Per the Constitution, the Presidents role is to carry out the laws passed by Congress. Though his role has increased as time progresses. Constitutionally, the President is granted Executive Power to appoint ambassadors, judges to the supreme court and other offices that uphold the laws, such as the military and police. Once the President has nominated a person for position, the Congress then approves the appointment with a minimum of a two-thirds vote. Having the ability to put your constituents in position can be quite impactful as the person remains in position until they retire or die. Theoretically, a President’s legacy can live on decades after he has left office. Another power the President holds is the power to veto a bill Congress that presented. At times, even the threat of a veto is enough to encourage Congress to amend proposed bills prior to presentation to the President. He also holds the power to require Congress to convene. This originated prior to the accessibility of modern day’s travel options but can be none the less an effective tool to prompt Congress into action should the President deem it necessary. While the Framers of the Constitution never intended this office of the President to be so significant, because they had the forethought to structure the Congress so effectively, the President’s effect has become a good counterbalance to the control held in Congress.
USE specific EXAMPLES.
The Federal Bureaucracy was implemented to help support the enormous task of governing ever growing United States. Originally just three departments there are now approximately fifteen departments that include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The departments have the responsibility to implement and administer federal laws and programs. (O’Connor, 2012). Originally chosen appointees were chosen based on pollical party affiliation and personal relationship to the President, regardless if they had professional knowledge of the department they oversaw. In the late 1800’s, this practice was replaced with a merit based system that required positions be filled by those who were qualified for the position by academics and by trade. As the railroad moved West and immigrants fled war torn countries to the US, the nations’ population grew creating a need for more federal bureaucracy. The Federal Trade Commission was put in place to protect small businesses from big business that leveraged their buying power to drive prices down. Also, major events such as the Great Depression, World War I and World War II also created additional need for the federal government to supports its people. Taxes were raised in order to finance the wars. With able bodied men off to war, that required women and minorities to enter the workforce like never before. Veterans expected their jobs back upon return from the war. Many women and minorities were laid off or remained employed at a lower pay than the Veterans. This sparked several new programs like the GI Bill, to encourage veterans to go to college and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1965.
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