The American government is expected to reflect the main values of liberty, democracy, and equality. The citizens however disagree on the connotation of how the government is to protect them. Articles of Confederation and the Constitution reflect diverse visions for governance in the present United States. Concerning this, this study is to review the powers of the states and national government under the articles of Confederation. The study also highlights problems, which the national leaders perceived with authority under the articles of Confederation.
Powers of the States and National Government under the articles of Confederation
The American government is an institution that works for and protects its people (Lowi, 3). The government has the powers to solve the economic crises. This was first experienced in the 1929 stock market crash. The government had to step in to solve economic situation during the Great depression and the 1933 run of banks (Lowi, 5). After the passing of the legislation, the government later had control over the farm and home mortgages, credit, and assistance of individual distress. Around 2009, when the economy was about to fall back to the deep recession, the government had to come in to save the financial system. It also had to manage the renovation of the poor auto companies. Hundreds of dollars therefore had to be channeled tot eh falling economy. By virtue of being the manager of the national economy, the government controls the economy of the country. It is also the main employer in America. Other than the cited powers, it offers diverse services to its citizens. In addition to this, it provides diverse social and business activities for its citizens.
The U.S. has the political clout globally as one of the most military, politically and economically developed country globally and therefore controls global military establishments. The government has the powers to protect its citizens from any attacks as depicted when terrorists attacked various establishments among them the World Trade Center in September 2011. As mandated by the constitution, the president mobilized a military response and established the Homeland Security Office with the view of improving the safety of Americans and their properties locally and internationally. The states had to organize for more protection through mobilization of the police and the guard offices. Through the authority of the sates, the local police and safety departments are currently on high alert. The government is mandated to ensure that every suspect gets a fair and justified hearing before a court of law. This is achieved through the defense attorneys who are paid by the state. There is also the inclusion of the just procedural safeguards in the court processes.
The citizens have given the government considerably many powers. This has seen the control of most of the activities within higher learning institutions including universities and colleges left in the hands of government through the national, state, and regional agencies. These include time management in these institutions. A student, for example, is expected to wake up at 7:00 am and use water that is provided by the government. Materials such as toothpaste, hair dryer, food, and transportation are verified by the federal agency. Different levels of the government ensure that the stated law is maintained. For instance, the local and the state governments control the speed and other traffic laws. Federal agency and the federal government assist in the payment of the tuition fees. The government has the powers to solve issues, which are more common. This is mainly attributed to the trust of its citizens. For instance, the farmers look forward to the federal subsidies while the motorists look forward to perfect roads. The government also has the power and mandate to control most laws that are passed.
Problems national leaders perceived with governance under the Articles of Confederation
In as much as the people depend on the government to work for them, the national leaders are finding it difficult to meet the needs of these people. These laws, while are meant to protect the citizens from danger such as terrorism, are considered to be too limiting by some citizens. For instance, the farmers have complained that their property rights are being broken by the environmental rules. The federal health regulation is accused of threatening the profits of the business owners (Lowi, 47). Motorists on the other hand complain that traffic cameras are an intrusion to their privacy while travelling. There is also a common perception amongst many citizens that the police are overly aggressive. The manufacturers have their freedom to make profits. However, when the government banned flavored cigarettes, the manufacturers became wary of the regulations.
The American government relies on the trust of its people to manage the assigned roles. Previously, there was a common notion amongst the citizens that the government was ready for any situation that the country might face. However, due to weaknesses experienced in the recent past, few people believe in politicians who also make up the highest number of leaders. This is due to the rising political arrogance and ignorance, which has been felt in the recent past. Majority of the citizens currently believe that the officials care less of the people’s thoughts and feelings. These feelings have further been aggravated by the government’s lack of activities to benefit the people (Lowi, 37). Hence, recent problems, which have been felt by the leaders, are contributed by the government’s inefficacy.
The present constitution has given the government so much power that the anti federalists fear that authority is about to go back to the monarchial rule. This is because the government controls virtually all the major sectors in the country. Moreover, the current leadership of the country is primarily made up of the elite in the society. The challenge however lies in the under representation of the real picture. From the state government, majority of the citizens are ignorant of the present occurrences in America. This is attributed to the high cost of life, which has further led to suppressed life. The government representatives on the other hand are in present knowledge of the surroundings in America. This brings dissatisfaction among the federalists. Other issues, which have been brought forward by the anti-federalists, are the issue of a small representation to a large population. The anti-federalists argue that it is difficult for the small number of representatives to present eh sentiments of such a large number of people. This can be depicted by the arguments that the few whites in the House of Representatives cannot manage to completely represent the need of the black majority. This has caused racial segregation and community upheaval in the past. Another major problem faced by the leaders is the tyranny of numbers. This is because of the previous unjust rule by the group, which has power over the other. Many opponents of the government have always argued that the government may ultimately turn into aristocracy. This has led to the fear that the few officials would sue their authority for tyrannize the rest of the population.
How the Constitution structured the relative powers of the national government and the states
The first ten amendments of the constitution are referred to as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights dictates that every individual be given opportunity to exercise their own liberty. These rights dictate that the citizens have their freedom on controversial issues such as abortion (Lowi, 53). Some view this as killing of an innocent being while others perceive it as a right for women. The government has had to take part in various court proceedings for protection of such laws. In the adoption of liberty, the government has to ensure economic freedom is maintained. Since economic freedom is closely related to capitalism, the government has found itself through the federal agencies in the court corridors fighting for the freedom of its people. In addition to this, the government is presently fighting for the introduction of laws governing management of health and safety of citizens.
The constitution has mandated the national government and the state power to act and represent the entire population in America. This is through the right to vote. Therefore, through this power, the representatives show forth their skills, talent, and experience which is superior to the rest of the population. Therefore, they can choose to be superior to the rest of the population by this virtue. This can be through the exercise of wisdom, and other abilities, for the sake of the entire society. Hence, the representatives have often failed to be a mirror of the present society (Lowi, 86). The representatives through wisdom and experience have often kept off the common life experiences, ethnic background, and racial diversity so that they can neutrally present the needs of their constituents.
The American government is to reflect the main values of liberty, democracy, and equality. The citizens have shown the fear that the government is not reflecting the true picture of their values. Thus, majority of citizens find it difficult to have a complete trust in the government in the recent past.
Lowi, Ginsberg, Weir, Tolbert, & Spitzer. “The Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution of the United States.” Chapters 1-3, 10. Pages 3-91