Compare the ideals of the American Revolution of 1776 with those found in the Constitution.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The ideals of the American Revolution and those of the Constitution were broadly similar.  However, the Revolutionary ideals were, not surprisingly, rather more radical than those which are embodied in the Constitution.

The ideals of the Revolution had to be relatively radical so as to attract a larger body of supporters.  Therefore, the Revolution's ideals were extremely democratic.  They called for a system in which all men would be equal.  They stressed the idea that the government should be democratic and should reflect the will of the common people.  This is a logical thing to tell the common people when you need them to support you.

The ideals of the Constitution are still fairly democratic.  It does set up a government that is ultimately responsible to the people.  There is no monarch and the government is limited in what it is allowed to do to the people.  However, the Constitution sets up a system that is designed to limit the impact of the common people.

The Constitution sets up a system in which much of the government is insulated from popular control.  The president and the Senate were elected, but not directly by the people.  The Supreme Court was not elected at all and the only people involved in the selection of justices were the (not directly elected) president and Senate.  Only the House of Representatives was elected directly by the people.

In addition, the federal government was made superior to the state governments in most ways.  Its laws were the supreme law of the land.  This took power from the level of government closest to the people and gave it to the level that was farther away.

After the Revolution, the leaders wanted to back away from the radical ideas of that era.  They returned to a somewhat more elitist vision when they created the Constitution.  Of course, this did not last and America ended up being much more democratic than the Framers of the Constitution would have liked.

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