tutor2u | Strengths and Weaknesses of the US Constitution

Study Notes

Strengths and Weaknesses of the US Constitution

Level:
A Level
Board:
AQA, Edexcel

Last updated 2 Jun 2017

There is considerable debate about the strengths and weaknesses of the Constitution. Exam questions may ask for you to evaluate these and as such, you should be clear on the strengths and weaknesses together with examples to back up your arguments.

Strengths of the Constitution

Weaknesses of the Constitution

Amendments Process: Change can come to the Constitution, but protections are in place to protect it from political whims and mass public hysteria. Evidence comes in the form of the limited number of amendments since 1787.

Archaic Provisions: Some of the 18th Century provisions are no longer applicable in a modern society and are difficult to change such as the Right to Bear Arms or form militias.

Principles: The Constitution presupposes that every US Citizen is entitled to a life of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is the bedrock of a modern liberal democracy.

Equality: When drafting the Constitution focusses on free men only, rather than all peoples including slaves, women, and Native Americans.

Checks and Balances: Checks and Balances ensure that all branches of government have their power checked against the others resulting in a balanced system of government for the people

Vagueness: The ambiguity with which the Constitution was written allows for interpretations to form, together with the politicisation of the judiciary

Bill of Rights: Enshrined rights have stood the test of time with US Citizens free to assemble and have free speech alongside all the legal rights which some countries do not afford to their citizens.

The Imperial Presidency: The Constitution was vague on the powers of the executive and did not disperse executive power evenly creating the seeds of an Imperial Presidency that would come with the Nixon administration.

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