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Top Features of American Constitution

Abid is a student of political science and graduated in social sciences.

Salient features of American Constitution

Salient features of American Constitution

Introduction

American constitution is the oldest written constitution, which has served as the model for a number of other constitution of the modern world. The basic principles of this constitution were inspired by the thinking of Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Johan Lock, and its preamble signifies the philosophy which operated behind its codification.

In this article, I write salient features of the American constitution.

Context

1) Written Constitution

2) Rigidity

3) Supremacy of the Constitution

4) Separation of Power

5) Federal System

6) Presidential Form

7) Bicameralism

8) Judicial Review

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These lines have been explained below.

1) Written Constitution

The American constitution consists of a brief document comprising a preamble and 7 articles in all. Only 27 amendment have so far been made. The underlying motives to keep it a brief document was to regulate only basic issues which routine affairs and details were left for enactment so that the constitution could cope of needs of changing condition. The framers of the Constitution kept the doors open for the accommodation of future development. That accounts are the development of political institution and the constitutional perception in line with the political realities. Despite its return for, the constitution also includes certain parts. Nevertheless, a major part of the Constitution has been reduced to writing in a documentary form. The basic structure of each branch of the Federal government is set out in the constitution, but the actual form of the real branch is not specified. Rather, each has evolved in response to the changing needs of the nation.

2) Rigidity

The constitution is rigid one and the Frame prescribed a very difficult procedure of its amendment so that any government may not alter it easily, for timely gain are under the turbulence of popular thinking. The real purpose seems to be the consolidation of the system and the promotion of political stability. Frequent changes in the constitution, of course, are a hinder in its evolutionary growth.

3) Supremacy of the Constitution

The constitution stands supreme over all citizens, institutions, and all other branches of the government, Federal as well as regional. No institution of government is authorized to make a law or policy that is against the constitution. In contrast, to this practice, the British constitution demarcates the power of the central as well as those of the state governments and the latter can formulate their constitution accordingly. In fact, the supremacy of the American constitution within the federation is the most effective guarantee for the preservation of state's autonomy. Moreover, the constitution also ensure the preservation of public liberties, as no law can be made by any government which is repugnant to the fundamental rights as secured in the constitution.

4) Separation of Power

Montesquieu's theory of "Separation of Power" weighed heavily on the minds of the framers. They incorporated this principle in the constitution and thereby demarcated the jurisdiction of all the three branches of the government. But this separation was not of water tight compartments a system of check and balance was evolved as Montesquieu himself never contemplated a rigid separation of power. Hence, the president who is the repository of ultimate executive authority has been given some legislative and judicial power. Similarly, the Congress shares with the president certain administrative powers and can interfere in matters related to the organizational setup of the judiciary. The superior court can indirectly influence legislation through their rule as interpreter of law.

5) Federal System

It was not a matter of choice at the time of drafting the constitution to opt for any other system than the federal one, as the component states were not feeling at all to surrender their autonomous status. The confederal experience had already flopped. Consequently, a Federal set up was evolved which could secure an effective central government along with autonomous regional governments. As regards "Division of power" the powers of Central government are prescribed in a list as part of the constitution while certain limits are imposed on both Central and on state governments. The central government has to perform certain responsibilities toward states. There were tremendous increase in the power of the central government on account of letter political development in inclining toward centralism. Under its power of judicial review, the supreme court enhance the rule of national government by restarting the liberal interpretation of the constitution in favor of a strong center.

6) Presidential Form

Framers had full perception regarding the weaknesses of the confederation in the past. The underlying purpose of introducing the presidential form of government was to have an effective and stable executive. The interrelationship between the executive and legislative branch was formed on separation of power. The executive authority was there for, concentrated in a solitary executive. The president is indirectly elected by the people for 4 years and is account able to them. The Congress can remove him from his office only through impeachment. The president can be reacted for another term. The president appoints his minister who are individually accountable to him, and they are not the member of the Congress.

7) BiCameralism

American Congress consists of two chambers. Senate is the upper House, while the name of lower house is the House of representative. Senate has been constituted on the basis of equal representation of all states, viz two from a state, making its total strength of 100. The lower house is a popular chamber directly elected by the people and comprises 435 members. Senate is considered to be the guardian of the rights of federating units, as smaller States at the time of framing the constitution were not prepared to join the union unless their legal equality with the bigger States was not secured at least in one chamber.

Both the Chambers have been given equal powers in the constitution. House of representative commands somewhere superior position in financial legislation in the sense that all money bills originates in this chamber. The Senate, however, is fully authorized to propose to increase or decrease in estimates for expenditure or, in respect of, proposals for raising funds.

8) Judicial Review

An important feature of the American constitution lies in the important rule of the court, especially relating to their power of judicial review. The constitution stands Paramount to our the whole state operator while the supreme court exercise the authority to interpret it. It is the duty of the supreme court to see that all institution working within their constitutional limits. Now, here in the constitution the power of the judicial review of the court has been prescribed. It was later asserted by chief justice Marshall in case of Marbury vs Madison, and later it became an establishment practice. Hence, the supreme court is fully authorized to declare any law of the legislature or action or policy of the president void if it is against the constitution. The court is also the guardian of the fundamental rights, since these are incorporated in the constitution. Through it's power of judicial review, the supreme court keeps the central as well as state governments with their respect Sphere of action.

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Abid Taga

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