James Madison, one of United States of America’s founding fathers, stated that “in framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” This principle is well illustrated by the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights in many ways. It was secured through the provision of specific clauses contained in the various articles of the Constitution and amendment statements in the Bill of Rights.
First, the member of the Congress and House of Representatives are required to carry out their duties under strict rules by which they are bound to abide at all times. Any deviation from these rules is not tolerated and the affected members are subjected to punitive measures. In article I, section 5, clause 2 of the Constitution of the United States, it is provided that “each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member” (The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). This is an effective mechanism, which guarantees loyalty of all the members in upholding James Madison’s principles.
Secondly, the members of the Congress and House of Representatives are required to demonstrate mutual respect between each other through demonstration of transparency in the manner in which decisions are made during the sessions. The article I, section 5, clause 4 of the Constitution of the United States provides that “neither house, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting” (The U.S National Archives and Records Administration). Hence, whenever decisions are conducted in this manner, the power center of each party is checked and malpractices are discouraged.
Thirdly, the Constitution of the United States ensures that conflict of interest does not occur among Congress leaders or any members working for the Federal government. The article I, section 6, clause 2 of the Constitution of the United States provides that no senators shall be appointed to serve in any civil office that falls under the authority of the United States, while no representative of any office that falls under the United States shall be allowed to become a member of either House as long as they are still in office (The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). This clause prevents any possibility of self interest in any project or activity among members working for the Federal government.
Fourthly, the Bill of Rights also provides mechanisms through which James Madison’s principle is upheld. For instance, Amendment X of the Bill of Rights states that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” (The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). This amendment ensures that there is no abuse of the powers by members of the State or Federal government. Indeed, the amendment delegates part of the powers to the ordinary citizens in a bid to check how they are exercised.
Finally, it is evident that the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights are effective in promoting James Madison’s principle. Indeed, the founding fathers of the nation had a great vision that had to be achieved by ensuring good governance. Thus, they crafted the clauses of the Constitution and amendments of the Bill of Rights with the interest of the people at heart.