Tyranny is exhibited in many ways. In 1787 our founding fathers met in Philadelphia to discuss a problem, The Articles of Confederation were not working.
So after a long debate, they made a decision, to throw out the old and in with the new. Meaning, to dump the Articles of Confederation and make the Constitution. How will another piece of paper guard against tyranny? Well, the Constitution will start a new era of government. Consisting of; Federalism, Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, and Balancing Power between the Large and Small States.
One way the Constitution guards against tyranny is Federalism. Federalism is just a fancy word for the powers given to the states, to the central government, and powers the two share. Document A states that the central government can regulate trade, conduct foreign relations and declare war. The states can set up local governments, hold elections and establish schools. As James Madison said, “The different governments will each control each other, at the same time that each will be controlled by itself.” What James Madison is trying to say is that the central and state governments have enough power that they don’t control everything.
The central government has enough power to help some of the country’s major needs and the state government has enough power to help the state’s needs because the state’s needs may be more specific. From this, you may conclude that dividing powers between the central and state governments prevents tyranny. Separation of Powers guards us from tyranny by dividing the branches of government. For example, in Document B it says, “Liberty requires that the great departments of powers should be separate and distinct.” This means that the Legislative Branch (Congress; House of Representatives and Senate) should be completely different from the Executive (President) or the Judicial Branch (Courts).
The different branches could have different viewpoints. This may prevent tyranny by making people not want to try to take over the government because they think the government is hard to take over, since there are three separate branches. In conclusion, the Separation of Powers protects us from tyranny in this way. The Constitution guards us against tyranny by using checks and balances. In Document C, it says, “… the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that they may be a check on the other…. (The Three Branches) should not be so far separated as to have no constitutional control over each other.” This basically means other branch checks on each other to make sure they have all the same amount of power. They check by using their equal power and approving or disapproving something that the other branch has done, for example, the Executive Branch can veto a congressional legislation, however, Legislative Branch can override the presidential veto.
If one branch becomes overpowered, then it may consider tyranny, in which, one branch has absolute control over the whole government. All in all, using checks and balances the Constitution may help stop tyranny in the United States. Constitution guards us from tyranny by having equal representation from all the states. In Document D, it states, “The number of representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one representative… The Senate of the United States shall be composed by the legislatures thereof for six years; and each senator shall have one vote.” These laws in the Constitution are to make sure that all the states have equal power. They must all have equal representation so that they can have a say in the government. If the Constitution was not existent, some states would have total control over other states because the smaller states didn’t have a say.
The powers the people have, also keep people who make laws from being in the government for too long because they could gain too much power. This is the last way the Constitution guards from tyranny. There are many forms of tyranny, and the many ways people have prevented tyranny, ours being The Constitution. Just think of tyranny as a burglar, it creeps up on a defenseless woman and snags her purse, and The Constitution as the defender, who tackles tyranny down and retrieves the purse, a.k.a the power.
Federalism, Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, and Balancing the Power between Small and Large States has defended America against tyranny for 228 years and hopefully will for years to come.