Constitutional Democracy

Essay by Anonymous UserA+, November 1996

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The basic premise of a constitutional democracy is that government has rules and all of the people have voices. Through free and fair elections we elect candidates to represent us. The Constitution of the United States guarantees us the right to do this, and to live democratically. The framers attacked tyrannical government and advanced the following ideas: that government comes from below, not from above, and that it derives its powers from the consent of the governed; that men have certain natural, inalienable rights; that it is wise and feasible to distribute and balance powers within government, giving local powers to local governments, and general powers to the national government; that men are born equal and should be treated as equal before the law. The framers of the U. S. Constitution sought to make these ideas the governing principles of a nation. Constitutional democracy has three basic elements.

Those being interacting values, interrelated political processes and interdependent political structures.

The first idea of interacting values is popular consent. Popular consent means that government must obtain consent for its actions from the people it governs. It is similar to majority rule, a political process, in that the most popular acts or ideas of the people will be adopted by our government. There must be an allowance or willingness on behalf of the unpopular group to lose.

Popular consent may provide a means for judging parental consent laws for minors seeking abortion. Since minors are not legally allowed to be competent to engage in sex, to enter into contracts, or to form sufficient 'informed consent' to agree to their own medical treatment, it is incredible that

they would be regarded as competent to make a life and death decision about something that later in life they might themselves...