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Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, and Limited Government

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Brooke Abell

on 7 November 2014

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Transcript of Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, and Limited Government

Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, and Limited Government

Dewitt believes that the Senate has terms that are too long. The senators will become greedy and abuse their power for themselves. The Judicial department is out of the question. The Judicial branch was only for cases that involved the impeachment process of the President, but it was limited. The judgement of these cases was strictly within the Senate.
Lack of a Bill of Rights
One of the biggest complaints expressed in the Centinel essay was a lack of a "bill of rights". Samuel Bryant argued that with no bill of rights, the government could abuse the "natural rights" that everyone has. Under the Articles of Confederation, many of the states created their own bill of rights. Those rights guaranteed by the states would not exist if the Constitution was implemented.
The so-called separation of powers and Checks and Balances
Anti-Federalist Centinel #1
Anti- Federalist John Dewitt #3
Samuel Bryant started out his first Centinel essay by suggesting that the Constitution should be closely examined and critiqued before people started to accept it. He explains that there has never been a from of government like the one expressed in the Constitution. Bryant warns that, Citizens shouldn't be swayed in favor of the constitution because leaders like George Washington promote it. Bryant clearly defines 2 problems with the Constitution; the lack of a bill of rights and the way that the Legislative branch can take over the entire government.
By: Chase and Brooke :)

Samuel Bryant argues that the 3 branches of government proposed in the Constitution were created with good intention, but they can ultimately turn against the people and form into what he calls "Permanent Aristocracy".
The Legislative Branch (Congress)
Bryant starts his citizen with the Constitution by first explaining the flaws in Congress. The structure of Congress makes it hard to blame policy makers. The system of the Senate and the House of Representatives can make it hard for average citizens to place blame when policy is enacted that they are not in favor of. According to the Constitution, Congress also has an Army at its disposal whose purpose is to collect taxes. Congress would have the ability to charge any rates, and it would be hard to oppose them with an army standing at their side. Another criticism Bryant had that the ratio of House of Representatives to 30,000 people was to large. It is hard to voice the ideas of 30,000 people. Bryant also says that the members of the House of representatives have too long of terms. People that are in office for so long may be overcome with greed and lust for power so they might not want to represent their districts anymore. Even if people want to re-elect the members of the House of Reps, Congress had the ability to move voting dates so that certain people can stay in office.
The Judicial Branch
The Judicial Branch, in Bryant's opinion, has too much power and jurisdiction over the states. The Constitution grants the judicial branch a lot of power, and sometimes that power can be abused. Many times during trials in England, their judicial branch extended their jurisdiction over lines that they were not supposed to cross. The Judicial branch has the sole responsibility in deciphering the constitution, so they have the ability to protect the legislative branch based on their "comprehension" of the Constitution.
The Executive Branch
The purpose of the executive branch is to serve 2 requirements of Congress is explained by Bryant. The executive branch will will be able to pass laws for Congress. Its other power is the ability to grant pardons. if any member of Congress is ever put up to trial, the President will have the ability to absolve them from all convictions.
The purpose of this essay was to question whether or not the Constitution was really what it appeared to be. This essay was the most effective of denying the need for a stronger government.
Dewitt fears that the proposed new government might become a new aristocracy. He thinks the ideas of the Constitution will be different in application than in theory. Dewitt thinks that the new government will trend away from accountability and away from its daily interactions with its citizens.
The current House has one member for roughly every 689,000 citizens
The House has exempted itself from obedience of the legislature. They have private benefits, vote for their own salaries, and get a pension plan available to them after only one term.
The House Of Representatives
Dewitt questioned if the House of Representatives actually served the people.
These are tendencies toward elitism. The House of Representatives has a lack of accountability and closeness with its citizens.
Both Dewitt and Bryant have the same criticisms about the House of Representatives. They both think it is too large, the members are in office for too long, and they will become greedy with all of the power.
Both Dewitt and Bryant also believe that government will abuse its power. The people should not believe everything that the Constitution is proposing.
Similarities
The Senate
Full transcript