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An English writer once said that the men who founded the United States had a clear idea of what they wanted to put into the Constitution and then left it to later generations to work out the details. He added that this plan has been remarkably successful?

Answer
Hello,

Many of those who founded the US had a clear idea for a Constitution, but they did not always agree with one another.  The men who attended the Constitutional Convention had very different ideas about what powers they wanted the government to have and how it should be divided.  Much of the work in there was a matter of compromise.  The final work was certainly not a clear idea of any particular individual.

In general, the Constitution set out a framework for government.  Some parts of it are very specific, other parts are rather vague and subject to interpretation.  But for the most part, actual policies are not in the Constitution.  It simply creates a framework for the people, through their elected representatives, to create and change policies going forward.  Certainly it is important for a successful nation for policies to change over time as experience grows and circumstances change.

To the extent it has been successful, I suppose that is a matter of debate.  Certainly, the US has become a successful world power under a government structured by the Constitution.  But over the years, many elements of the Constitution have changed, amended, or simply ignored by the courts.  The founders never anticipated or wanted a large powerful federal government with virtually unlimited power over the States and the people.  They never wanted an powerful executive that was not under the submission of Congress.  They never wanted large standing armies in place to control the population.  So much of the original vision held by the founders has been pushed aside by future generations.

- Mike

U.S. History

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Michael Troy

Expertise

I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.

Experience

I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.

Publications
http://unlearnedhistory.blogspot.com

Education/Credentials
J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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