Essay Sample: The Struggle for Democratic Stability in North Carolina and South Carolina

Published: 2022-03-11
Essay Sample: The Struggle for Democratic Stability in North Carolina and South Carolina
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  United States Democracy Constitution
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1703 words
15 min read

During the struggle for democratic stability in the United States of America, a governing document called the constitution was drafted to describe the structure and the role of the government. In so doing, it paved the way for a federal review and any aspect of it could be nullified if found not aligned with the national law and that of the United States Constitution. As this came to effect, both North Carolina and South Carolina of USA incorporated many amendments into their documents which resulted in similarities and differences between the two constitutions as discussed below.

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To begin with, both constitutions denote the principle of representative democratic government where the power comes from the people only. For instance, in South Carolina, individuals are vested with the power to vote and elect their leaders who represent them in the general assembly. Though, such practice is only open to all males who have attained the age of twenty-one years and above. Likewise, in North Carolina, the same general assembly acts as the house that accommodates all leaders elected in a free and fair election by the people of the nation to represent their interests.

Besides, the constitutions of the two states provide for a bicameral legislature with two different functional houses, that is, a senate and a house of representatives. For example, in North Carolina, article II of the constitution declares that the power of the legislature is vested in the general assembly which consists of two houses (the Senate and the House of Commons) of which each has a two-year term. In South Carolina, the same houses, that is, the Senate and the House of Representatives have been formed to compose the representatives who are annually chosen by a ballot.

Another similarity that has been identified between these two constitutions is that they both seek for a framework of balances and checks, as well as, separation of powers between executive, legislative, and judicial arms of the government. This is precisely depicted in these constitutions where each arm of the government plays a unique role. For instance, in both states, the legislative council and the general assembly can decisively adjourn their proceedings, and the president has no legal rights to either dissolve or postpones them. Furthermore, they have the power to choose their speakers or any officials without interference from other arms of the government, thus making decisions without control from either the executive or judiciary.

Further, both constitutions are subordinate to the United States Constitution. Though these constitutions are the highest legal documents for both South Carolina and North Carolina, they are inferior compared to united states constitution. This is because they are only applied in the governance of the states and not the whole USA. Due to this, any aspects arising from them that do not comply with the federal law is nullified and termed null and void since the federal law is the most superior compared to them. Moreover, if there is a particular conflict between them and that of the federal, then the articles in the United States constitutions are the ones to be considered.

Another similarity between the two constitutions has been shown through the impeachment of state officers. For example, in North Carolina, article IV has a provision that a judge or a state officer can only be impeached by the state house representatives. Therefore, the Senate is responsible for removing an officer from his office with a two-thirds majority cast votes. The same is also experienced in South Carolina where if a member of general assembly accepts any commission in the militia, he or she shall be impeached by the members of the House of Commons if he or she refuses to vacate the seat.

Lastly, both constitutions provided that the president who is also the commander-in-chief and the governor have executive authority but limited as aforesaid. In both, the powers vested to them are restrained because they shall not be allowed by the constitution to interfere with other arms of the government unless their offices are called upon to intervene. Also, the president shall enjoy personal privileges as may be allowed by the assembly Act, Privy Council, and lieutenant-governor.


Despite the similarities that have been registered in these constitutions, there are also significant differences that can be highlighted. These differences emanate from the kind of revisions and changes which were made to these constitutions. One of the differences emerges from the fact that they were drafted from different historical conditions and for radically different grievances. For instance, in South Carolina, in 1895, the constitution limited males below 21 years to participate in open voting. Those who could be registered for voting were tested if they know how to read and write. Also, people who could afford at least $ 30 of physical property could be allowed to vote and participate in political positions. Whereas, in North Carolina, its constitution has been amended over time and article VI has been provided that allows an individual of the age of at least 18 years to vote. Additionally, there is no any provision that allows a person to participate in the election if he has a certain percentage of property in dollars to vote.

In South Carolina, the executive power has been vested in the commander-in-chief who is also the president. Through this, he has certain powers to appoint and dismiss the state officers at his discretion. It also gives him personal privileges as may be depicted by Privy Council. On the contrary, in North Carolina, the executive power is vested in the governor as shown in article III and he is the commander in chief of military forces. The governor's duties, roles, and functions are distinguished here, and the same material defines a balanced budget for the executive.

Similarly, according to the constitution of South Carolina, the president, legislative council, and the general assembly are vested with legislative power. For instance, treasury bills that support the government originate from the general assembly and can be possibly altered by the president. "Unlike in South Carolina, legislative power rests in the hands of the members of the general assembly in North Carolina For example, such members have right to appoint legislative officials without the consent of the president.

Besides, in South Carolina, the constitution has feasible provisions that do not conflict with the federal laws of USA. In fact, there is a provision that there is no test regarding religion which is requested as one of the qualifications to be appointed in a public office. This provision is contrary to that of North Carolina that conflicts with the federal law. There is a provision in North Carolina constitution especially in Article VI which states that for an individual to be considered qualified for an office, he should not deny the wellbeing of God.

However, it has never been effective despite being enforced in 1868 constitution.

Furthermore, in South Carolina, the constitution encourages racism in that it boosts segregation of race in most of the schools. For instance, it allows different schools to provide education for only the kids of the white people and, therefore, no any other child of the mixed race shall be permitted in such learning institutions. On the other hand, that of North Carolina enhances unity among racial parents since it brings the nation into a union. This is because it has been amended to discourage discrimination against African Americans. Thus they can also enjoy being in learning institutions alongside the kids of white men. Moreover, its articles have reorganized the government of the state, expanded citizens' rights, as well as the departments within the government.

Another critical difference is on the taxation and issuing of public bonds. In South Carolina, the residents are not supposed to be taxed, and if any, those with $ 160000 of incomes are exempted from taxes. Also, disability services, retirement incomes, and military pensions are not taxable. This has made this state to become one of the best in the whole country when it comes to taxation policies. On the contrary, a different experience is faced in North Carolina where article V gives the government the right to tax its citizens. Through this, the state generates huge amounts of tax revenues by levying both sales and personal income taxes. These taxes are categorized into different groups such as excise, corporate, general sales, and personal taxes. It also can give out state bonds in circumstances of raising funds to service government affairs.

Finally, the last difference on the same is the election or appointment of the president. In South Carolina, the president who also serves as the commander in chief is chosen by the members of the general assembly. His deputy is also appointed by the same individuals who exercise this practice by a ballot. They shall then vacate their seats in the general assembly and other individuals elected instead. In contrast, in North Carolina, the governor who also acts as the commander in chief is elected by the general assembly which consists of the Senate and the House of Commons. Therefore, in South Caroline, the general assembly elects the president while in North Carolina it elects the governor.

In conclusion, during the struggle for democratic stability in both South Carolina and North Carolina, the governing documents were drafted to provide structures and functions of the governments. As discussed above, these two constitutions have depicted various similarities. "Also, a great number of differences have been spotted out. This is because different states have got the different style of governance. Besides, when the two constitutions are compared, the differences turn out to be more than similarities as seen in the above discussion because they were drafted in entirely different historical grounds.


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Diamond, Larry J. "Three Paradoxes of Democracy." Journal of Democracy 1, no. 3 (1990), 48-60.

Gagnon, Alain Gustave, and James Tully. Multinational Democracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Leftwich, Adrian. "Governance, democracy, and development in the Third World." Third World Quarterly 14, no. 3 (1993), 605-624.

Lipset, Seymour M. "The Social Requisites of Democracy Revisited: 1993 Presidential Address." American Sociological Review 59, no. 1 (1994).

Sniderman, Paul M., Michael B. Petersen, Rune Slothuus, and Rune Stubager. "Paradoxes of Liberal Democracy." Princeton University Press 3, no. 2 (2017), 12-30.

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