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The Original American Constitution

The original American Constitution created a system often characterized as representative democracy, but it is more properly seen as a pluralist democracy. This definition has become even more cogent as time has passed, for where there were once a relatively few interest groups bargaining and compromising with government, there are now many.

The U.S. Constitution and the system of government it created have been marked by their ability to adapt to changing circumstances, and both have developed along with the country. In the beginning, the governmental structure created was not the system of equality of opportunity and treatment before the law that has often been claimed. The Constitution as ratified in 1787 did not apply equally to all the people in the new United States. Many provisions did not apply to women, for instance, and slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of representation. Property owners were given greater power and more rights than those who did not own property. At the same time, the document also reflected a desire for balance and justice and developed a number of means to accomplish this, from the checks and balances between branches to the larger balance between federal prerogatives and states' rights. Different groups benefited more from the Constitution in 1787, and in part the battle between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists was over what groups would gain the greatest benefits. As pointed out by Charles A. Beard, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention "were men of wealth, planters, slaveholders, merchants, manufacturers, shippers, bankers and investors, and land speculators" (Dye 73).

The Federalists were concerned about the damage that could be caused by the unfettered operation of factions in the new system, and they wrote about their concern over the way factions would develop. Yet, they ended by noting that faction was unavoidable, and they proposed...

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The Original American Constitution. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:42, March 22, 2019, from