Restriction Of Government Power


Restriction Of Government Power Essay, Research Paper

In order to guard against what one of the Founding Fathers

called an “excess of democracy,” the Constitution was built with many

ways to limit the government’s power. Among these methods were

separating the three branches, splitting the legislature so laws

passed are carefully considered, and requiring members of Congress to

meet certain criteria to qualify for office.

Separation of power was very effective; The three branches of

government (executive, legislative, and judicial) are kept separate,

and each has different powers. Congress has legislative, or law

making, powers; the President has the power to carry out, or execute,

the laws; and the Judicial branch had the judging power, used to

interpret the laws. In addition, each branch is able to restrain or

balance the powers of the other two branches upon power abuse. If the

President is suspected of unlawful acts, he can be impeached, or tried

by the House and Senate for misusing his power. If he is found guilty,

he can be thrown out of office, unless two thirds of Congress agrees

with a treaty he proposes. Furthermore, if the President wants to

spend money, his request must pass through Congress, since it has

control over spending. Lastly, Congress can re-pass a vetoed bill.

Congress also has checks and balances against itself. The president

can veto a bill from Congress, and although Congress can override a

veto, obtaining a two-thirds vote is very difficult. Public speeches

by the President may also concern the public with an issue, putting

pressure on Congress to act upon it.

The limitations on and difficulties of law passing are very,

very important. The split legislature creates a more complicated maze

through which laws must find their way before being passed. First, a

law must be introduced in either the House of Representatives or the

Senate, the former having sole power to introduce laws concerning

revenue. After the law is introduced, it must be approved by the other

house, who may agree with, amend, or discard the law. Once both houses

have agreed on the law, however, the President must approve it. If he

does not, he may also amend it and return it to its originating house

for reconsideration. If both houses then agree on the amended bill by

a two thirds vote, it can be passed. The bill also becomes a law if

the President does not return it to Congress within ten days (except

Sundays) of his receiving of it. The labyrinth of Clerks, which is not

even mentioned in the Constitution, makes law passing far more

difficult, resulting in only the passing of laws that have been

extremely carefully considered.

Only allowing qualifying Congressmen and Senators to run for

office allows for a more mature Congress, which will be more careful

about its actions. A Representative must be at least 25 years old and

a US Citizen for 7 years. That he must be a resident of the state in

which he is elected means that he will be more attuned to the needs of

the state he represents. A Senator must be at least 30 years old and a

citizen for 9 years. He must also be a citizen of the state which he


In the Constitution, the Founding Fathers limit the power of

government in many, many ways – many more than even the

aforementioned. Their most important intent was to make the nation

less democratic and to keep the government small. The Constitution has

accomplished the Founding Fathers’ goal until now, and will hopefully

continue doing so in the future.

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