Can the Government Protect Fundamental Rights without Oppressing People and Abusing Power?

Can the Government Protect Fundamental Rights without Oppressing People and Abusing Power?

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The purpose of government is to protect the fundamental rights of life, liberty, health and property, but differences in opinions as to what these rights could mean may create a conflict within society itself. As John C. Calhoun suggests, man is driven by his individual impulses, where his needs and desires are more important to him than the needs and desires of others in the community. It is for this reason that a government must be established so that it protects all people who have differing ideas from being oppressed by the opinion of one group or ruler. The question then occurs as to how government can protect the fundamental rights without oppressing the people or abusing its power. James Madison and John C. Calhoun both came up with very similar solutions to this problem; however, both ideas create new problems with society as their ideas are based on the perfect society, rather than the actual society.
John C. Calhoun suggests that since man is naturally a social being with strong individual impulses, then government is necessary to repel violence from abroad and repress violence and disorder from within the republic. Furthermore, a constitution is a necessity in order to ensure the ruler or the majority of the republic cannot oppress the citizens in the republic or abuse power. Calhoun proposes the two principle elements in the construction of the government must include suffrage and a concurrent majority in order to avoid abuse and oppression. The first principle is necessary in order to hold the rulers of the republic accountable to the people so that they cannot oppress the people because they are dependent on the people. Calhoun also advises that the people should be educated so that they know their rights and the in...


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...ention of abuse and oppression will occur. Calhoun on the other hand rejects the system of checks and balances and instead relies on the people of the society and government to compromise with all of the interests in society so that it is fair to both the majority and minority and neither side if oppressed.
In conclusion, while Calhoun and Madison hold similar ideas for the solution of oppression and the abuse of powers by government officials or the majority, Calhoun’s constitutional government provides the better system to protect society because it relies more on a system of compromise which better represents the interests of all people in society. Also, the government is directly affected by the people so that the people can determine who rules them, so it is less likely for one ruler to abuse their power since there power depends on the decisions of the people.

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