The Creation of the American Democracy
When the Framers of the Constitution met in Philadelphia, they came together with one common purpose in mind. They needed to form a fair and solid system of government that would stand the test of time; one that was both fair for the people and would not involve a monarchy. Each of these men had their own ideas on what would constitute this system, however, so many compromises had to be made. Together, the men gathered in Philadelphia created a federal system of government and drafted a constitution outlining this government. They took care in developing three branches of federal government with a system of checks and balances so that no one branch would gain too much power, thus avoiding any chance of regressing back into the government from which they had just escaped. The Framers even made sure that the most powerful branch had a check system within itself by creating a bicameral legislature, consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives which could not function one without the other. The federal government that resulted from all of this deliberation was an overall system of democracy, although some undemocratic issues were involved.
The American system of government is ultimately a democracy, because it is ultimately a true system of the people. However, not everything done at the Constitutional Convention was democratic. When representatives from the states met in Philadelphia, the majority were rich, educated, upper-class landowners. They claimed to have the best interests of the people in mind, and in most cases they did. That was, after all, the reason they were brought together. However, they still took some measures to ensure that the interests of the common people would not interfere with their own best interests. As Beard says in An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, “…there was a deep-seated conflict between a popular party based on paper money and agrarian interests, and a conservative party centered in the towns and resting on financial, mercantile, and personal property interests generally” (Cigler & Loomis 8). While the popular party was in favor of using paper money to pay off debts, such as was done in Rhode Island, the upper-class patricians saw this as unacceptable. Since the Philadelphia Convention consisted of the conservative aristocrats (there was no representative from Rhode Island), paper money was outlawed and a national bank was set up. Although this may have been the fairest and most logical set-up, it was not a democratic plan because it did not uphold the common interests of the people.
The Electoral College is also an...