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Chapter 2

The story of two constitutions


1.     When the US constitution was written the American people felt the same fear that the Iraqi people did in 2003

a.     As a result they put the value of unity above principle

b.     They knew they would have to negotiate in private

c.     They distributed power to the states and local government

o   reassuring minority states like Pennsylvania and Maryland

d.     They limited the power of the government to enter a house, force people to give evidence against themselves, and guaranteed a fair trial and a jury of peers.  They allowed an individual to have a weapon in their house.

o   reassuring the individual that even if a hostile government does take power there are limits to what they can do legally.  If it goes beyond legal that is what the weapon is for.

e.     They rejected one-man-one-vote

o   Electoral college

·      Reassures small states through over-represenation

o   Counting slaves as .6 people

·      A highly immoral choice

·      It evened the political power between slave and free states

·      When the new states were being admitted as free the balance broke down, the system failed, resulting in the death of 600,000 young men

2.     The Iraqi constitution was handled in almost the opposite way

a.     Negotiated in the most public way with one of the major factions unrepresented

b.     It emphasized central control, even over the police

c.     It holds strictly to one-man-one-vote even though this leaves some of the major factions in the same position as the salve-states in 1860, with nothing to loose

3.     The United States supervised the process so what happened?

a.     The lesson from all this is not that democracies are vulnerable to internal political divisions, people have understood this throughout history

b.     It is that popular culture in the United States has completely lost site of the threat that internal political divisions pose to any democracy, including our own