In his article ‘How Democratic is The America Constitution?’ Robert Dahl argues that the American Constitution is not the only source of democracy for an American democratic system. According to him, the Framers of the constitution were fearful of direct democracy and thus ended up forming a representative democracy. Ganesh Sitaraman in his article ‘Our Constitution Wasn’t Built for This’ argues that the American constitution was not written to defend a society with profound economic inequality that concentrates so much wealth at the top.
While both Dahl and Sitaraman have different ways in which they view the American constitution, they give strong points to back up their arguments. Their claims appear to come from well researched and factual resources giving their readers more insight into the political world of the American nation. Robert Dahl and Ganesh Sitatraman clearly state well-articulated points that drive them to a conclusion that the American people deserve a new constitution or a better option to the deal with their democratic needs. While they do not thoroughly criticize the available constitution or its founders, the authors undermine its complacency to the existing democratic needs. Robert points out the shortcomings of the Constitution with the hope that an ideal solution comes in to play someday. Ganesh, on the other hand, feels that the construction of the constitution was put in to thought although it does not currently suffice. I support Robert Dahl’s arguments and agree with his facts. Dahl’s view of the constitution tends to make more sense in comparison to Sitaraman’s view.
Robert believes that a democratic nation adheres to majority rule and follows the one person, one vote system. Robert Dahl presents seven elements; voting rights, slavery, Electoral College, limitations of congressional powers, judicial power, Election of Senators and Representation in the Senate, which he claims are undemocratic and contained in the American Constitution (Dahl, 5). He cautions against the case of Constitutional worship and questions why the American Constitution should be upheld. In his opinion, America has fallen behind in comparison to other countries in matters of great importance like racial integration. The American nation has also failed to address issues concerning women’s rights and economic equality effectively. Factually, before small amendments were made to the constitution, the seven undemocratic elements were tolerated by the constitution. Thus, his argument on the anti-democratic elements is agreeable.
Ganesh’s Opinion on the constitution is that its shortcomings are brought about by the rise of economic inequality that has been on the rise through the last generation. According to him the founders of the American Constitution did not foresee a future where the American nation became a superpower. He argues that the founders while constructing the constitution, assumed that the American Nation would remain equal economically over time. Due to their inability of seeing today’s event, the constitution may not be of great help in the now times. His argument is not convincing enough. In about the past 200 years, almost every country has experienced considerable income inequality. Some countries, however, have managed to curb the economic inequality problem. His claims are filled with logical unsteadiness. There is a fall being experienced in the American middle class meaning that a rise of the poor is yet to get experienced. However, the increase in poverty claim does not in any way prove that the American constitution was constructed without much fault. The American Constitution still lacks in some way.
Dahl, Robert Alan. How democratic is the American Constitution?. Yale University Press, 2003.
Sitaraman, Ganesh. Our Constitution Wasn’t Built for This. New York Times, 2017.