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Declaration of Independence Overview

Declaration of Independence Overview


The Declaration of Independence was authored in 1776 by Thomas Jefferson, with the help of fellow political leaders, such as John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. Ratified on July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence became the first political doctrine of its kind, advocating for a governing body whose purpose was to serve the citizens that it represented – a contrast of the British monarchy under which the citizens of the United States had been subject prior to the Revolutionary War.

Furthermore, the doctrine diagrammed a central government whose power resulted from the consent of its citizens to be governed. The Declaration of Independence established the newly-formed United States of America as a sovereign nation, cutting all ties – both political and gubernatorial – with the British monarchy. The text of the Declaration of Independence not only confirmed the autonomy of the United States of America but also outlined the various transgressions committed by the British monarchy under King George III.

Lack of Governmental Power

Thomas Jefferson credited political philosopher John Locke with much of the inspiration for a democratic ideology that he had implemented in his authorship of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson had been particularly moved by Locke’s notion of a just governing body. Locke stated that every citizen would be entitled to inherent rights and liberties that could not be removed by any governmental body. In addition, Locke stated that the citizens grant their respective government permission to govern them, and as a result, the true power is in the possession of those citizens, rather than any governing body.

Thomas Jefferson took Locke’s notion a step further by laying the groundwork for a system of checks and balances, in which a central government is split into separate factions, thus preventing totalitarian rule. The separate branches of government would be required to work in tandem in order to act.

Implications and Image for The Constitution

In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by all of the 13 states of the newly-formed United States of America, and the implications of the doctrine were apparent. Not only was the United States establishing its sovereignty as an autonomous nation, but the authors of the Declaration of Independence cited what they believed to be fundamental flaws and inefficiencies of the British monarchy under King George III.

By doing so, they allowed for a contrast between a totalitarian ruling body operating with absolute power and an elected central government; a government that would be required to act as a public servant, protecting the interests and rights of its citizens. In addition, as a sign of diplomatic faith, the Declaration of Independence not only demanded the release of all British prisoners being held captive in the United States, but a return of all British loyalist property unjustly seized subsequent to the end of the Revolutionary War.

General Message and Authorship

The Declaration of Independence not only illustrated the contempt for totalitarian, monarchical rule on the part of political figureheads such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin but also elucidated what they considered to be the fundamental flaws of a tyrannical infrastructure that utilized absolute power in order to maintain dominance over its subjects. The Declaration of Independence expresses a clear philosophical message that highlights the incorporation of humanism in the development of the ideal creed to which a democratic central government would adhere.

The authors of the Declaration of Independence placed their respective faith and trust in both the ability as well as the judgment of the citizens of the United States, both present and future. By allowing the citizens of the United States the opportunity to not only elect their governing body but also the opportunity to choose to be governed by that elected body, some political philosophers consider the Declaration of Independence to be a prototype for humanistic political theory.

Articles of Confederation Overview

Articles of Confederation Overview


The Articles of Confederation was the first implemented national policy after the establishment of the United States of America, as a result of their independence from England. The citizens of the new nation were scarred as a result of their existence under the monarchy of King George II.

As such, the authors of the Articles of Confederation opted to remove all control that a governing body could potentially exercise over the individual 13 states.

Though the central government could control the military, postal service, currency, and foreign policy, it was powerless to influence any of the actions of the sovereign 13 states. However, the dysfunctions of the Articles of Confederation made way for the ratification of the Constitution, which successfully fused the presence of a central government with an innate focus on the interest of its citizens.

Inherent Weaknesses

Amongst the critics of the Articles of Confederation, few were more vocal than the Federalists, a political group headed by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, passionate about uniting the 13 states rather than granting them sovereignty. The Federalists warned that without the presence of a central government to create and enforce laws on a national level, unity could not exist. As a result of the lack of power that the central government had over the 13 states, it could only request payment from the respective states, as well as merely suggest that laws be followed.

The Federalists illustrated a paradox that plagued the Articles of Confederation: Though the central government could establish laws, they were unable to enforce them. As a result, each State was granted sovereignty. This proved to add a dangerous dynamic to the newly-formed nation – it was foregoing the autonomy that it had fought to regain.

Lacking Executive Power

The Articles of Confederation were penned in order to prevent a totalitarian government, yet its contents were regarded as both extremist and reactionary by the Federalists. One of the primary criticisms brought forth by the Federalists in regards to the Articles of Confederation was the presumption that its authors had simply exchanged one unsatisfactory situation for another. By disallowing the central government to retain any control over any of the individual 13 states, who at the time considered themselves to be sovereign entities, created a situation in which the existence of any nationalized policy was impossible.

Though the Articles of Confederation allowed the central government control over the military, postal service, and the creation of currency, the states could only be asked to make monetary donations in lieu of mandatory taxation. As a result, the central government found itself in financial disarray as a result of its necessity to create currency without stable financial backing. The Articles of Confederation required that the passing of a new law involve the approval of at least 9 of the 13 states and the establishment of an Amendment required the unanimous approval – this made legislation impossible.

Varying State Governmental Bodies

Without an ability to control, oversee, or regulate the actions of each individual State, the central government could only look on as each of the 13 states both managed and maintained their respective policies. The Articles of Confederation forbid the central government to exercise any control over the 13 states. As a result, each State was able to establish individual spending policies and trade regulations. In addition, each State was given the right to choose whether or not they wished to uphold certain laws.
The Articles of Confederation also allowed each State to establish individual trade regulations and tariffs, which allowed for excessive and sometimes unfair commercial dealings.

The establishment of a nationalized foreign policy became impossible because each of the 13 states maintained 13 different foreign policies, which affected not only diplomacy but foreign relations, as well. The instability of the United States of America’s foreign policy coupled with a collapsing military service proved to be one of the many flaws in the Articles of Confederation, which were vocalized by the Federalists.

What to Know About Constitutional Laws

What to Know About Constitutional Laws

Constitutional law is the highest ruling law in the United States. Formally, Constitutional law is found in the U.S. Constitution, which outlines rights and rules which the people of the United States are afforded. Constitutional laws help to provide regulated power to different areas of Government in the United States to better support the American Public and protect them.

However, the administrative law of Constitutional laws is not considered static. Throughout the year’s Amendments have been made to the United States Constitution helping to change the wording in the laws or to create new laws to better protect the American Public. Not only do Constitutional laws provide and protect the rights of individuals in the United States, but they help to regulate various areas of Government in the United States. This regulation of power helps to keep all areas of the Government equal and helps to guide a smoother functioning Government.

For instance, one of the Amendments made to the U.S. Constitution was a capping on the salaries of Congress, ensuring that they could not have their wages raised any more than a certain limit. These types of Amendments are used to help keep the Government in an even organized status of power.

Constitutional law or administrative law was created to protect the American public and maintain order within the governmental structure. Constitutional law is a key factor in the success of the United States.

Understanding the Abortion Laws in Canada

Understanding the Abortion Laws in Canada

Until the late 1960s, abortion
was prohibited in Canada and was considered to be a criminal offense. As a
result, a woman was not able to obtain an abortion in Canada. However, the
Canadian Supreme Court overturned the legislation that outlawed abortion.

Currently, Canada maintains very few abortion laws regulating the acquisition of abortions. As a result, a woman is now able to obtain an abortion in Canada. Each province is responsible for establishing regulations regarding abortion funding. Abortions are widely funded through Medicare, though each province must determine how much it will fund abortions.

These relatively nonrestrictive abortion laws have caused extensive debate in Canada. Many individuals believe that Canada should create more restrictive abortion laws and regulations. In recent years, doctors who perform this procedure have been targeted by pro-life advocates in sometimes violent attacks.

Constitutional law contains additional information regarding abortion and associated regulations.le to obtain an abortion in Canada. However, the Canadian Supreme Court overturned the legislation that outlawed abortion. Currently, Canada maintains very few abortion laws regulating the acquisition of abortions. As a result, a woman is now able to obtain an abortion in Canada. Each province is responsible for establishing regulations regarding abortion funding.

Abortions are widely funded through Medicare, though each province must determine how much it will fund abortions. These relatively nonrestrictive abortion laws have caused extensive debate in Canada. Many individuals believe that Canada should create more restrictive abortion laws and regulations. In recent years, doctors who perform this procedure have been targeted by pro-life advocates, sometimes violent attacks.

Constitutional law contains additional information regarding abortion and associated regulations.

Understanding Governmental and Legal Structure

Understanding Governmental and Legal Structure

One of the
basic functions of a constitution is to provide for the governmental and legal
structure of the area which it covers, which most conventionally comprises an
entire country. A basic definition of a constitution’s scope is that it
provides for the rights which the government under its control may and may not

The rule of
law of a government should be provided for by a well-devised constitution. This
principle is normally framed in the terms of the government being ruled by the
laws, as opposed to the government controlling the laws. In addition to these
ideological precepts for the rights of citizens, constitutions also have the
more neutrally conceived task of assuring the efficiency of the government’s
operations. Procedural and humanitarian considerations generally operate in
concert in determining the shape which a constitution mandates for a country’s

The modern mold for constitutions is often
considered that of the United States Constitution. One of the significant tasks
undertaken by this document was the division of the government of the United
States into separate parts, each given its own powers and tasked toward a
specific end. This division took a tripartite form, creating judicial,
executive, and legislative branches.

The idea was
derived by the United States Constitution’s drafters, the American
“Founding fathers,” from the French philosopher Montesquieu. This
function, termed the “separation of powers,” has often occurred in
subsequent governments and is conceived as a device for preventing one section
of the government from assuming too much control over the others.

Another basic task for a constitution is to
address where power is actually located in a government, which in turn
determines the basis by which it may wield it. The way in which a government
operates is in part determined by how the constitution defines the
“distribution of sovereignty”.

The three
kinds of sovereignty according to constitutional law theory are unitary,
federal, and confederal. For instance, a unitary constitution considers that
authority comes from the state itself. Different sections of the country only
possess power in relation to the central authority. By contrast, a federal
constitution, such as that of the United States, splits the sovereignty of the
government between the central administrative center and the various regions
which it governs. Certain powers are given to the central government while
others are accorded to the provinces or states. In a confederal state, there is
a central administrative center but the balance of power in government is
oriented toward the provinces. The actual sovereignty is located in the
provincial areas, while the central state has, at most, only the ability to
provide for coordination between them.

An essentially procedural task for the
constitution to undertake toward a nation’s governmental system is that of the
“lines of accountability”. This principle refers to the hierarchies
of responsibility and supervision in the government. Often the lines of accountability
will give the chief executive precedence over cabinet ministers or secretaries,
whom the chief executive can both appoint and dismiss.

What Are The Human Rights and Entitlements

What Are The Human Rights and Entitlements

A basic concern of the practice
of a constitution is the protection of what we would now term human rights,
which at another point in human history were referred to as natural rights. In
a more neutral sense, a typical constitution might be understood as providing a
codified structure for the functions and operation of government. In placing
government operations on a regular basis, however, the state’s relations with
its citizens are also normalized, which generally tends toward the end of assuring
the liberties and privileges associated with human rights.

In Constitutional law, the abuse or other impermissible use of
power by the authorities comes under the heading of the Latin phrase
ultra vires, or “beyond the powers” This provision allows for the
violation of human rights by such people to be prosecuted, and does so not in
explicit citation of the humanitarian reasons for doing so, but in the
procedural terms of such people going beyond their allowable limits.

When members of a government go
beyond the powers granted to them in their constitution or by statutes of law,
then they can be considered “ultra vires”. Similarly, lawful acts
which are nonetheless offensive toward human rights or in some other
undesirable way can generally be addressed by a constitution.

In most systems of
constitutional law, the constitution is understood as the basis for law and
thus takes precedence over statutes. Statutes which are found in violation of
the applicable constitution can generally be declared null and void
 ab initio, or “from the creation”.

Human rights are guaranteed in the United States Constitution
primarily through the avenue of the Bill of Rights, the collective name for the
first ten Amendments made to the Constitution, the passage of which was, it
should be noted, an informal requirement for ratification of the document to be
effected. Prior to the formation of modern instruments for the enforcement of
human rights, the concept first arrived into European intellectual currents
under the heading of natural rights. Up to that time, European thought had been
dominated by the precepts of classical philosophy and strictures of Christian
theology. A newly scientific and objective mode of thought led to the
conception of the original state of humans as being one in which they could
freely exercise innate behaviors and actions. This idea allowed for the modern
basis of Constitutional law, as seen in the United States, in which the
formulation of the United States Constitution was conceived in terms of
securing to the country’s citizens the rights which it was assumed they would
freely use if not for the restraints of society.

European thinkers arrived at
the idea of natural rights partly through observation of indigenous and tribal
peoples elsewhere in the world, whose societies were often assumed to be less
restricted than those of Europe. Modern human rights theory avoids such
generalizations about early human society, but proceeds to the similar
conclusion that certain rights are innately due to all people.

Understanding The Constitution Function Types

Understanding The Constitution Function Types

Constitutions can vary according to the kind of political entity they govern and the extent to which they govern it. In this sense, perhaps the most widely considered form of constitutional law is that placed on a national level, as in the case of the United States Constitution, generally considered the modern world's most influential constitution.

 Constitutions may exist for specific regions, provinces or states within the larger framework of a nation and, in that sense, national constitutional law. Constitutional theory also allows for the possible existence of a constitution across national borders, or in the terminology of this area, a supranational constitution. Groups which are not formerly part of governments but which exist for the express purpose of influencing politics, such as unions, interest groups and parties, are likely to also have constitutions. Outside of the political realm, the written framework for large organizations is not often referred to as a constitution but may be plausibly referred to as one.

The essential concept of a constitution is tied in with writing and codification. That being said, some constitutions exist on an unwritten basis. To reach far back in history, the organization of the Iroquois Nation of North America, believed to have occurred somewhere around the 11th and 12th centuries, occurred without any writing but possessed enough similarities to the developing European model for constitutional law to be later cited by the "Founding Fathers" of the United States as an influence.

The best-known of the unwritten constitutions, and one furnished by the European experience, is that of the United Kingdom, which, through its early control over the North American colonies and in other ways, profoundly influenced the rights and provisions addressed in the written United States Constitution.

Another division to be drawn between constitutions can be found on the issue of whether or not they are codified. Codification is the most strategic in constitutional law, but several constitutions exist in the world that are in uncodified form. The concept is similar but not identical to the issue of whether a constitution is written.

Codification generally allows constitutional law to serve as precedent in court over statutory law, as, for instance, in the United States a law might be rejected by the Supreme Court for being unconstitutional. Codification generally occurs first at a single and identifiable historical moment, as in the United States' transition from the Articles of Confederation to a period of Federal power.

Codification of constitutional law generally identifies and firmly guarantees its most basic principles. By contrast, constitutions which are not codified rely on a past body of legal precedent as it has gradually taken shape, rather being decisively put into practice. Non-codified constitutions can be found in complete form in the United Kingdom, Israel and New Zealand, while only partially codified constitutions also exist in Australia and other nations, in the sense of some fundamental principles lying outside the primary document of the constitution. Non-codified constitutions are likely to be "written," however, in the sense of being enumerated in written documents.

Function of a Constitution

Function of a Constitution

The function of a Constitution
is to provide for the governmental powers, the legal system, and the rights of
citizens in the nation. The modern model for the proper function of
constitutions is provided by the
United States Constitution. Laws that are ultra vires, or
“beyond the powers,” may be found with officials given certain powers
under the Constitution but denied others, the latter of which they exercise.
Similarly, laws which are found to infringe on the rights of the citizens they
address will be declared null and void
 ab initio, or “from the beginning.”  

Quick Blurb About Constitutional Law

Quick Blurb About Constitutional Law

The general Constitutional laws of the United States were created early in the country's history in order to place the nation's Government on a centralized basis and protect the rights of its citizens. The legal doctrine of ultra vires, or "beyond the powers", holds that if a law that has been passed is found to improperly infringe on human rights, it can usually be struck down by being found unconstitutional. It will thus be made null and void ab initio, or "from the start," which means that the law's past use is retroactively made illegal. 


Know The Rule of Law

Know The Rule of Law

The rule of law is a basic concern in the creation of the Constitution. Constitutional law can only be fully and effectively implemented when the laws of a country or region as a whole are respected by the citizenry and the Government. When such a condition has come to pass, then it may be considered that the rule of law is present. Placing Constitutional law on a firm and decisive basis is generally a necessary step for assuring such a situation.
While the basic utility of the rule of law as a wise and needed principle is not often questioned, the vagueness of the basic definition affords for plenty of ambiguity. Various schools of thought in Constitutional law differ about when and where the rule of law can be located and how, failing such evidence, it should be created.
The basic understanding of rule of law, as can be found in arguments ranging from classical Greek philosophy to late 18th Century America, rests on the distinction drawn between it and the rule by law. The latter is commonly depicted as the prior state of human politics and administration by advocates for the former. Plato, for instance, wrote that the state should be the “slave” of the law.
In rule by law, legal statutes are understood as simply the devices of the ruler, who is free to alter their substance if necessary. For Constitutional law to function, by contrast, even the administrators of the law must be subject to its provisions.
Modern legal theory distinguishes between substantive, formal and functional approaches to defining the rule of law. A substantive reading of the rule of law makes judgments about the rightness of the rights it grants or takes away. Such a school can allow for it to be quickly determined, for instance, that a society does not truly allow Constitutional law to operate, but is in practice authoritarian or totalitarian, as was found in various governmental systems in the 20th Century.
Formal theory, as the name suggests, does not discriminate between various legal systems according to how palatable the observer finds them. Rather than examining the specific provisions of law, it examines the general ways in which those laws are implemented, looking for some basic qualities. Functional rule of law theory relies upon the traditional dichotomy between rule of and by law and finds the former to be present in societies in which government is heavily restricted by its own rules, which some societies may dislike as a cause of inefficiency.
The actual term “rule of law” and the modern theory surrounding it are attributed to A.V. Dicey, an English expert on Constitutional law. He formulated the theory for the purpose of describing how the British governmental system manifested this quality. According to Dicey, England had the basic qualities of a government which lacked the capability or tendency for “arbitrary power,” citizens who were equal “before the law,” and a constitution that had been created through “the ordinary law of the land”. More recent rule of law standards examine the extent to which citizens feel themselves to be safe and the trust they feel toward the Government.