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Old 04-18-2013, 01:29 PM
Location: NW Arkansas
1,202 posts, read 1,670,908 times
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There were obviously many issues with the Articles of Confederation that led leaders of the time to see a need for scrapping it and starting over with the Constitution. However, there seemed to be a lot of grid lock with plenty of Anti-Federalists against it. Until Shays' Rebellion.

This was a movement started by a small famer in Massachusetts. After fighting in the war, he returned home and was not paid for his service as he had been promised. He owed money on his farm, and those who he owed money to also owed money to for the costs of war. He was unable to pay the amounts they demanded and the courts foreclosed on his farm. Many other Mass farmers found themselves in this predicament. They petitioned the government peacefully to stop these foreclosures on their means of living (farming). The state government of the time was dominated by the merchant class and ignored these protestors. Some protestors were put in prison. Then they formed a violent uprising.

This was the turning of events that turned many anti-Federalist leaders more in favor of a strong central government. Massachusetts, at the time, had asked for federal assistance to fight the populist resistance and the federal government really couldn't help them.

And soon afterwards, the Constitution was written and approved by the leaders of the time (all who were pretty wealthy, of course).

So were those who approved the Constitution heavily influenced to protect the wealthy more than all the people, for whom we assume the Constitution is for?
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:42 PM
Location: "Daytonnati"
4,245 posts, read 5,989,628 times
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I think that was Howard Zinns' opinion.

I think it was intended to moderate popular sovereignity, to make the link between public opinion and legistlation less direct, not necessarily plutocratic per se.

....but the main thrust was to strike a balance between the states, and between the states and central government.
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:47 PM
9,882 posts, read 10,132,090 times
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Originally Posted by soanchorless View Post
So were those who approved the Constitution heavily influenced to protect the wealthy more than all the people, for whom we assume the Constitution is for?
The term heavily influenced is a little vague. I take it to mean not solely motivated or even primarily motivated by this objective.

If so, then I agree with you. The American revolution was certainly not a social revolution as most of the other wars that we call revolutions. It should better be called a war of independence.

Revolutions are usually a whole lot bloodier than the American War of Independence.
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:06 PM
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Well considering that the Constitution was largely written by plutocrats who by in large were not fans of social equality... I think things worked out just like they wanted albeit a few bits of democratization here and there over the years.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:01 PM
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The basic idea is that in a true democracy, with universal suffrage, "the people" will vote benefits to themselves from the public treasury, bankrupting the nation and causing a cascade of events towards dictatorship. This was in essence Plato's argument in The Republic, and in a less thoughtful form (OK, MUCH less thoughtful form!) is the Tea Party argument today.

One alternative is rigid concentration of power in some elite, be it the wealthy (plutocracy), the military, the hereditary aristocracy, the church, or in some form "the most fit" (again Plato's argument). This generally fails because the persons ostensibly most suited to lead are rarely so suited in practice, but attain their power in nefarious and disingenuous ways. And even if they rise honestly, the power of office corrupts them.

The solution is a semi-democracy, where the leadership is periodically elected but quite bluntly some votes are more equal than others, the real opportunity for political power is in practice limited to a wealthy elite. This was essentially the Roman Republic (that is, before the Empire) and in large measure forms the inspiration for the US Constitution. In the original Constitution, suffrage was very narrow (propertied white men) with many layers between the voters and the actual choice of leadership. Over time the voter-base was broadened and the political process liberalized. Today, some would argue that this has gone too far, resulting in a gullible rabble wielding inordinate power, and therefore the system is too liable for abuse.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:11 AM
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,492 posts, read 51,406,502 times
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The major problem is, and has been, our "people" have manipulated their government to provide them with privilege, power and wealth. For most of the population effectively locked out of politics by their lack of wealth this has been a disaster. Our real "people" have indeed voted themselves wealth, privilege and power. The rest of us get debt, war and unemployment.

Was our Constitution written for this class? I think it was because the authors were all wealthy and privileged and had a great deal of distain for the uneducated, undisciplined and unruly mob. The only time those plutocrats cared about the mob was when there was fighting to be done. Not so much different from today.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:38 AM
Location: Southern Oregon
2,890 posts, read 4,207,422 times
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If one reads the Federalist papers you will begin to get an idea of who the Constitution is is written for. The framers of the Constitution want to protect those whom had a vested interest in this New America, for these were the people that would insure this government would work, they were the land holders, the merchants ect. not the just the wealthy but people from all walks of life that had a stake in seeing this country survive and succeed.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:14 PM
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The truth of the United States government's beginnings center on the notion of land holder, vs non owner citizens. In their attempt to recreate the lucrative system employed by the Crown in early day colonial matters, the "founding fathers" saw the wisdom of power retention being a matter of class. Voting was restricted to land holders, meaning them. The exclusionary laws that garnered a large share of the "commonwealth" for the upper class has been the root of U.S. politics right from the start. The fact that many Americans rose above their poverty in spite of such lopsided political logic is a tribute to the human spirit and not the supposed "freedoms" that are touted as the path to prosperity in phony U.S history lessons........
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