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Philosophy Assignment: Changes in National Government from the Beginning of Nation


Task: Philosophy Assignment Overview
The concepts and ideals of constitutional order are not new and have been passed down from generation to generation since constitutions have been written. However, these concepts and ideals have a paradoxical relationship within the modern state. Men of principle, who knew more what did not want to see in a new nation than what they did want, founded the United States of America. These men believed in noble principles and ideologies so strongly that the possibility of financial ruin or even death did not deter them from establishing a constitutional republic that guaranteed “liberty and justice for all.” These men were not politicians, but they were educated, imbued with deep thought, and had an unbreakable conviction. While some like John Adams were prone to flowery oratory and others like Thomas Jefferson were gifted with the ability to compose documents, they did what "political experience" could not; they gave us liberty and the most brilliantly devised system of self-government the world has ever known.

Write a Research Paper: Original Intent Assignment using various references to explore how the national government changed from the beginning of the nation through the many court decisions of the 1930s and answer the question: How has the policy/law landscape of the country changed philosophically from what was intended, “original intent,” as a result of amendment, interpretation, and court decisions?


Introduction to the context of Philosophy Assignment
The Federal Government of United States of America (USA) comprises of three distinct branches, namely, legislative, judicial and executive. They have their powers vested upon through the US constitution by the Congress, Federal courts and the President respectively .The legislative branch makes laws and regulations and consist of the Congress, the Senate and the House of representatives. The executive brand carries out these laws and consist of the President, Vice President and Cabinet. Lastly, the judicial interprets the laws and comprise of the Supreme Court and other Federal courts . These Federal agencies and commissions undertake various responsibilities such as managing space program of the country, gathering intelligence, protecting forests and the environment and enhancing the general welfare of the country’s people.

The purpose of the research paper herein philosophy assignment is to understand how this national government has changed from the beginning of the nation since the court decisions of 1930s. For this purpose, the philosophical change in the policies or laws of the country have been explored in this research paper.

Literature Review
There exist various philosophical roots of the national governments across the world. Different political philosophies influence the forms of government in various ways. Two of the most modern political philosophies are liberalism and socialism. Liberalism refers to a socio-political theory that emphasizes on personal liberty, rights and responsibilities of the individuals, equality amongst individuals and government’s obligation in protecting individual freedom and rights . Thus, it encompasses all interpretations regarding the state’s role related to the individuals. On the other hand, socialism indicates a socio-political theory involving the ideology of sharing the resources of the state to the members and sharing with everyone in an equitable manner.

This theory is often studied in comparison to capitalism where production is focussed towards profit motive and controlled privately. Furthermore, liberalism is also considered as a complex of doctrines focusing on individualism, toleration, reason and freedom alongside possessing disapproval towards power, tradition and authority. Thus, it often portrays the idea of limited government intervention with rule of law, avoiding arbitrary power, emphasizing on freely made contracts, individuals being responsible for their own fates and inviolability of private property. While liberalism ideology provides that debts are owned to self, socialism states that these debts owned to self are put forward by societal entities, events, institutions and judgements . The main difference between these two ideologies is that liberalism focuses on opposing self to a definite structure or system and interprets the society as made of individual selves and socialism provides that selves cannot be considered as distinguishable from the society. Another political philosophy opposing both liberalism and socialism is conservatism that portrays that both these focus way too much in abstractness . Conservatism emphasizes more on preference for the familiar instead of unknown, near to distance, convenience to perfect, actual to possible and limited to unbounded. Thus, these three ideologies form the triangle of political philosophies.

Furthermore, neoliberalism is another extended form of liberalism that has been identified to dominate various political decisions in most of the societies. This is because of the increasing importance given in post-democratic societies that mainly consist of various business lobbies and financial sectors as essential parts of the economy . Neoliberalism has risen because of the weakening of the triangle philosophies. Conservatism has weakened from its limitations towards religious and traditional bases while socialism has reduced from its social democracy context. This philosophy has now been viewed as a radical form of market fundamentalism. Various theories are now being associated with neoliberalism. These often include considering the way things are, dominant ideology prioritizing global capitalism, institutional framework for including various such forms of capitalism, all-purpose denunciatory category, as a variant of liberalism in terms of both theory and policy discourse and a type of hegemony and governmentality . This indicates that how ill-defined this philosophy has been in the context of national governments and politics. Another ideology that has emerged in the recent decades is populism. While classical populism has always focused on understanding the socio-economic determinants creating mass political movements, neoliberal populism or neo populism emphasizes on the high levels of popular support. In both these concepts, populism consists of fundamental elements or actors such as people and leaders, their actions like strategic leadership or mass mobilization, domain, style and other normative implications. This philosophy has been interpreted in various ways such as political strategy and communication, political discourse and logic, ideology and form of democracy . Populism along with elitist approaches generate various effects on the society such as privatization of politics, broken representation, politics of irresponsibility, permanent state of exception and politics without morals. Thus, these effects influence the form and actions of the national governments.

Republicanism and constitutionalism are other forms of political philosophies that were present in the national governments during the past decades. In this regard, Machiavelli’s contribution has been greatest in classical republicanism . He proposed the existence of two types of republics, namely, an expansionist one that is prone to dissensions and conflicts and a stable but weak one that can be easily dominated through a powerful government. One of the key themes identified in the classical republican philosophy is the presence of regime stability that determines the capability of a government to survive across generations with external aggression and internal turmoil . Some of the fundamental features present within this political philosophy include non-dominated liberty, mixed regime, political participation and civic virtue. This philosophy talks about the influence of wealthy and presence of political instability in the governments. Such influence can be reduced through several approaches like prevention, insulation, institutionalization and representation. Furthermore, constitutionalism has often been considered as a political philosophy underlying the good governance of the national goverments. It has been referred to as the doctrine that monitors legitimacy of various government actions . This philospophy also ensures that the public duties of the government officials are performed in accordance with pre-determined laws. Besides, this term also portrays the limitedness of leaders and government bodies’ power through the enforced laws. It is often considered as a political theory focusing on the fact the government gains its power from the rules or laws put down in the constitution. Such philosophy directly contradicts the dictatorships, monarchies and theocracies. Here, government officials also cannot act against the rules or laws laid down in the constitution. This system can be composed of written or unwritten laws dependent on legislative precedence and parlimanetary procedure. Thus, here various political philosophies of the national governments have been explored.

In this research paper, the researcher has undertaken an exploratory research approach for discovering the changes in the US national government with court decisions from the 1930s. This approach has been selected for gaining detailed and new insight about such changes occurring in the government since the beginning of the nation. Furthermore, qualitative data has been collected on the underlying philosophyresultingin the changes of policies in the country that have taken placed because of amendment, interpretation and court. These data have been collected from different secondary sources such as government websites, journals, newspaper articles, published documents and other articles. These data have been further analysed for understanding the change in the US national government and the influence of philosophy in initiating such chnages in policies, interpretations or amendments.

Results and Discussion
The US government has undergone various changes in political philosophy since the beginning of the nation. The change in this political landscape of the American government has witnessed various traditions including changing philosophies, representative democracy, geographic representation, private property rights, and plurality elections . These traditions have been evident from the advent of British colonialism that are present even today and giving rise to polarization. Representative democracy and capitalism were present in US where there was an environment with unlimited natural resources. Besides, private property rights were also evident during such period of the national government. During these decades of earliest settlements, geographic representative assemblies were the norms of the government with republicanism and constitutionalism philosophies.

While in the past decades, constitutionalism, republicanism and natural rights were prominent in the economy, federalism, polarisation and liberalism have been dominant in the recent decades. After getting independence from Great Britain, America decided that it would provide people with the right to express their views and opinions, which led to the rise of their republicanism philosophy. George Washington was the President of the United States when the country chose to be a Republic and with his stepping down the survival of the nation was doubtful . However, this success of republicanism philosophy of the national government made it attractive to various immigrants, the first ones being of German, Irish and British decent. The increase in immigrants in the US developed a heterogeneous group in a single nation that resulted in the rise of the classical republicanism. In this regard, scholars have criticized the national government by pointing out how economic checks alongside private interests controlled the moral purpose of the country . The key features involved were representative system, economic security, federalism, presidential government, national defence and adversary system. While the central government had all the powers for carrying out these services, the federal government guaranteed the private-economic individualism. This has been criticized by scholars who viewed this as lack of any ideology, national philosophy or purpose. In this regard, the Congress comprised inherent sovereign powers for undertaking the responsibilities of meeting needs and exigencies and accomplishing objectives of the Constitutions . Here, bank supports during that time pointed out the need for a national bank to protect the interests of the nation’s economy for which the Constitution was established in the first place. However, it was further argued that the national government should possess such sovereign powers without limitations for preventing endangerment to the nation’s safety. This was because it was with such powers that the government would be able to protect the people and national interests.

Furthermore, the constitutionalism theory of the US political system has been dependent on the social-contract theory. It provides that the governmental authority should depend on the consent of the people. This resulted in the rise of the natural rights philosophy in the past decades. Natural rights composed of human ability that did not require any governmental authority and could be enjoyed with their own labour . On the contrary, positive rights depicted those defined under governmental terms and including rights of voting, jury trials and habeas corpus. Thus, the social-contract theory underlying this natural rights philosophy in the American constitution provided that humans were the ones to create a political society through their unanimous agreement. However, it has been argued that the US constitution cannot be a regarded as a social contract between neither people and rule nor amongst individuals to develop a group. This is because this theory has failed to portray the true nature, construct, purpose, structure or lineage of the American constitution . Instead, opponent scholars have viewed this as a corporate charter consisting of a sovereign or people forming the government possessing judicial personhood. It has further been argued that this sovereign has both power and right to amend the charter by reconsidering its purposes, procedures and powers of the national government. This indicates the contrasting views about the philosophy of US national government can be found while going forward from the past to recent decades. In the past, the social contract theory was identified as the underlying ideology governing the constitutionalism of the nation, which changed to corporate charter in the recent decades as expressed with the opposing views.

With the passing time, changes were taking place in the philosophy of the US national government. Liberalism philosophy was one of the prominent ideologies of the early modern political theory that emphasized on centrality of natural rights and freedoms of the individuals . On the contrary, others opined that liberalism only focussed on a democratic virtue required for developing a modern state. During the Trump administration, the federal government’s relations with the states became tense in the initial years where the agencies were increasingly threatening or punishing states for adopting policies conflicting the administrative agenda. They were in conflicts associated with relative power and autonomy . However, in contemporary situation, this philosophy has given rise to frequent changes in policy debates, content of federal regulations and other rules for disbursement of federal entitlements. Thus, these policy differences also created vindictive responses where the president himself retaliated against states for decisions and policies that conflicted their preferences.

These changes in the philosophies had various implications on the polices, laws and court decisions of the US national government. There have been various administrative changes of decisions to withdraw from international agreements such as Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) regional trade agreement, WHO, Iran Nuclear agreement and others . Proposals have come forward for reducing funding for states and foreign assistance funding. The national government has been undertaking a more apparent transaction and monetary-based approach for evaluating the alliance relationships. There has been increased focus on bilateral trade negotiations, inconsistent statements related to human rights and democracy and others. Furthermore, the US constitution has also experienced various changes that was first written in 1787. With these changes based on the political philosophy transformation, changes have also been brought in laws, policies and court decisions. The Bill of Rights adopted in 1791 has resulted in the Congress passing around 23 additional amendments to the original Constitution while the states have ratified 17 of them . This was followed by consequent changes in the political and legal system of the country through judicial interpretation of the existing laws. The rights of the individual Americans became important with the passed bill and emphasis was provided on liberalism. The election process experienced a change where the people were provided the right to select senators. The Supreme Court’s role expanded that enabled it to undertake more active participation in interpreting laws and actions for abiding the two brands to the Constitution. A balance was achieved with the expansion of the federal government that helped it to meet the nation’s urgent needs without giving too much power to the states. This was the period when the polarization between these governments generated. Besides, the philosophy of democracy was evident as people other than the whites were also provided the right to vote. It has led to the growing power of the presidency with expansion of executive branch’s power and corporations began to be treated as individuals.Thus, in which court decisions, laws and policies were majorly transformed with the changes in philosophy and constitution of US government.

From the above research paper, it can be said that changes in political philosophy influences the national government of a nation along with its actions and decisions. Initially, the research paper provided a brief overview of the US government consisting of legislative, executive and judicial branches. Furthermore, it carried out a secondary, qualitative and exploratory research for gaining detailed insights into existing literature. Lastly, the changes in different philosophies and their impact of the government were analysed in the discussion section.?

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