Majority V. Minority Essay, Research Paper
Democracy is defined by Merriam – Webster’s dictionary as “government by the people; especially: rule of the majority.” America was founded to protect individual’s rights and freedoms from being violated by the government. Our Constitution and the Bill of Rights were specifically written to limit the powers of the government. The courts should not have the right to make legislation that the majority of people do not approve of.
When interpreting the Constitution, one must consider its originalism. That is, you must consider the author’s original intent in writing it. Thomas Jefferson, an author of the Constitution, favored the will of the majority of people. “Not only does majority rule ensure that the least number of people are going to be dissatisfied, but the constitution further protects the rights of the minority, telling the majority what it cannot do to tyrannize the minority” (Kangaroo)
America has been established to be ruled by the majority. It is more important to protect the rights of the majority, since they provide more votes, tax money, and make up more of the population. The Constitution was written and allowed for the citizens to be able to vote for their leaders. We vote for people to represent us and voice our opinions. Therefore, the law should correspond with the will of the majority. If we were voting for leaders to represent us, why would they want to protect someone else’s opinion other than our own?
Some people argue that the minority’s individual rights are violated when the majority is given favor. However, our Constitution has provided for their protection. During Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration speech in 1801, he said, “Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression” (Kangaroo).
Since our society is set up to be run by the people, if popular opinion is a certain way, the laws should not reflect the opposite. For example, the fact that when surveyed, the majority of American public believe in the use of Euthanasia yet there is a lot of legislation restricting Euthanasia (130 Alderman). Some may argue that this is because our people are too ignorant to make decisions for ourselves. We are a civilized, wealthy and well-educated country. The law related to us throughout every media and we face it daily throughout our lives. It is hard to live in this society and be unaware of the laws. The majority of the people know how they want to rule their lives rather than what a panel of judges think would be fit for them.
Consider the changing views in our society regarding homosexuality. The majority of people do not oppose it. However, the legislation trying to be passed to make homosexual marriages legal, has been rejected in almost all cases. This is an example in which the law has not been changed due to social change. It is also another example of legislators making their own decisions, regardless of what the majority of the population want. When we are living in a society where our actions are widely accepted, yet there are laws against these actions, we tend to simply break the law rather than change our lives.
What is important here is not majority versus minority, but whose interest should be best protected. In order to avoid chaos, the lawmakers should favor the majority. That way we can be sure that a number of people are being protected, while the minorities are also being protected in other ways. The law should reflect the will of the majority and lawmakers should not have the right to make legislation that the majority of people do not approve of.