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The US Wanted To Be Different (And They Did It) | 168 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Read some history
Authored by: cjk fossman on Friday, October 05 2012 @ 02:32 PM EDT
Before the American Revolution, most colonists thought of
themselves as English subjects and desired only the same
rights accorded to English subjects living on English soil.

It was only after the crown and parliament refused to hear,
let alone address, American grievances that self rule became
an issue.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

The US Wanted To Be Different (And They Did It)
Authored by: PJ on Friday, October 05 2012 @ 06:19 PM EDT
Hey. You guys are rewriting history.

They wanted to be different, and they achieved it. Where else, at the time, did you find the concept of no unreasonable search and seizure? Or the concept of inalienable rights?

Plus the French revolution ended up with murders of the prior government, then a bit of chaos (the Reign of Terror) and then a dictatorship (Napoleon). Yes. Look it up. Democracy was not the result. What was the same was getting rid of a king or queen, seated by birth. At the time, the French were influenced by the American ideas, not vice versa. That's why it was a big splash when Jefferson and Franklin visited France, which had supported (even the king did) the Americans against the British. You can read more here. The biggest difference was sovereignty under the French Rights of Man and Citizen resided with the state ("The source of all sovereignty is located in essence in the nation; nobody, no individual can exercise authori(t)y which does not emanate from it expressly."). None of that inalienable rights and final say by citizens, who give rights to the government, not the other way around (“deriving their [government’s] just powers from the consent of the governed.”).

That is a huge difference. As the article expresses it, "The American ideal was completely different in that it did not trust the individuals who made up a government define the power of the state, but rather let the people do so in the form of the American Constitution."

Or find a government divided into three parts, each independent of the others?

Coming from such different ideas, you can see why the US Constitution really was designed to protect individuals from the overpowering hand of the state, because they had experienced despotic kings, and they wanted none of that.

Needless to say, it's different now, but that was indeed the intent. And it's only because of the Constitutional protections (not that everyone pays attention to them any more) that those kids pepper sprayed in California while bound and kneeling on the ground just got $30,000 each, because the government had no Constitutional right to treat them that way.

Everyone everywhere might agree about that. But here the courts actually insist, if such a case arrives before them, if they follow the Constitutional principles.

Nowadays, you probably couldn't get the Constitution voted into place, but one reason for that is they don't teach it any longer is schools, and the schools are being neglected very badly, so kids are ignorant of such basic principles. But that really is the way it was designed to function.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

The US Was Different
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, October 07 2012 @ 08:59 PM EDT
To get a feel for this, read Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," (2
volumes) written in the 1830's. American institutions are compared with
European (and British) counterparts at various points in the books. It also
gives a pretty good exposition of the Constitutions of the United States,
together with the Federal Constitution. Note that wording. It is critical to
understanding what was going on at the time.

For a more modern look, see Akhil Reed Amar: "America's Constitution: A
Biography" (2005) ISBN 1-4000-6262-4


[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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