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Voting in the American System

In the United States of America, citizens have rights that many people in other nations may never even begin to understand and appreciate, let alone receive. These rights were laid out by the Framers of the Constitution, and maintained through the sacrifice and perseverance of brave Americans from each generation, spanning back from the origins of the nation to the present. Among these rights, possibly the most important is the right to vote in the American system.

Voting is important because of the awesome historical tradition of voting, the moral obligation that all Americans have in voting, and the logical importance that voting holds in a free society. In this paper, these three reasons will be described in detail in order to better understand the overall importance of voting in the American system. Historic Tradition of American Voting

In terms of the history of American voting, it can truly be said that voting was one of the American rights and responsibilities that preceded the actual foundation of the United States itself. To be more specific, when the authors of the Declaration of Independence gathered to write the document that broke the American colonies away from British oppression, a system of voting was used to decide what the document would contain and how this would be presented to the public (Keyssar, 2000).

Later, the same type of system was used in the composition of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and so forth. In this way, the process of voting made it possible for the foundations to be laid for the greatest experiment in democracy that the world has ever known, and this experiment opened up the doors of free voting for many people; however, the right to vote for all Americans was hard fought.

When this is explained in more detail, the moral obligation to vote becomes clearer. Moral Obligations to Vote Although the right to vote was brought forth from the foundation of the United States, this right was originally only extended to white males of financial means, eventually including all white males of a legal voting age, but not including African-American males until the late 19th century and women until the early 20th century (Emmons, 1997).

As if this is not enough moral requirement for everyone who is eligible to vote to exercise that right, the entire American system of rights, including voting rights, has been maintained with the blood shed by American soldiers both on native soil and quite literally in the four corners of the globe in the centuries since the nation was founded (Rush, 1998). One would automatically assume that with such a hard fought right that people would be lining up in droves to vote, but the sad reality is that voter turnout in all types of elections has dropped dramatically since the early 1960s (Teixeira,1987).

Voters have a moral obligation to cast their ballots, for the ballot is what keeps the free democratic system flowing in the nation, which leads to a consideration of the logical importance of voting in a free society such as the US. The Logical Importance of Voting in a Free Society The logic of voting in a free society stretches far beyond the idea that rights that are hard earned should be fully utilized by all who have the ability to do so.

Beyond this, it is necessary to take a look at exactly what allows a free society to remain as such. Obviously, a free society maintains freedom through defending itself and opposing those that would destroy the free nation, but also through the collective voice of its citizens, such as that voice which is heard through the election of qualified politicians, and hopefully, the weeding out of those who prove to be unsuitable for the office to which they were originally elected (Pildes, 2000).

Without an active voting public to ensure fair political process, free societies run the risk of losing freedom, and also, for those that would want to dominate politics to be able to do so without any checks and balances of their gathered power. Therefore, it makes logical sense for everyone who is legally eligible to vote, based on educated evaluations of candidates and the like. Conclusion This paper has shown how important voting was in the origins of America, how valuable it is to those who have had to fight to gain and maintain the right to vote, and the logical sense it makes for everyone to vote intelligently.

In conclusion, all of this adds up to something that may be the most important piece to take away from this paper- voting is priceless, and must be utilized, lest its privileges disappear without so much as a whimper.

References

Emmons, C. (1997). “Somebody Has Got to Do That Work”: Harry T. Moore and the Struggle for African-American Voting Rights. The Journal of Negro History, 82(2), 232+. Graham, H. D. (1997). The Civil Rights Commission: The First 40 Years. Civil Rights Journal, 2(1), 6.

Keyssar, A. (2000). The Right to Vote The Contested History of Democracy in the United States. New York: Basic Books. Pildes, R. H. (2000). Diffusion of Political Power and the Voting Rights Act. Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, 24(1), 119. Rush, M. E. (Ed. ). (1998). Voting Rights and Redistricting in the United States. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Teixeira, R. A. (1987). Why Americans Don’t Vote: Turnout Decline in the United States, 1960-1984. New York: Greenwood Press.

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