07 Feb 2010

Sample Essay: AP US History DBQ


In the early 1800’s, Jeffersonian Republicans believed that the authority of the Federal government was based on a strict constitution. What was stated in the constitution was supposed to be strictly adhered to. The Federalists on the other hand believed in a loose and broader interpretation of the constitution. They could easily get to make decisions that were not supported by the constitution. This granted the government with more authority than it had within the constitution. Despite these differing views by the Jeffersonian republicans as compared to the Federalists, the characteristics on the interpretation of the constitution became contrary to what they were deemed to be during the presidencies of Jefferson and Madison. It is in the era of these two presidents that the Jeffersonian Republicans opted for a loose interpretation of the constitution and the Federalists leaned towards a more strict interpretation of the constitution.

In many ways, President Jefferson and the Jefferson republicans swayed of from the policies of the republicans. At one time President Jefferson was a strict adherent to the constitution as stated in document A where he asserts that the theory of the constitution is the wisest. Later on though, He went against the constitution when he made the Louisiana Purchase. The constitution did not allow the president to purchase any land and by doing that He was behaving like a federalist. It is still evident of the wayward behavior of the republicans when he stated as in document F that the constitution should be changed to go on with the advancing man’s mind. From the three episodes we can evidently watch the changing characters of the Republican government. As stated in the constitution the government was not supposed to pass any trade embargo for a certain period of time but Jefferson withdrew trade from Europe after USA sailors were attacked. This vehemently attacked the European economy. Document F also supports our assertion of failed policies when we find that the government has increased some powers to the congress so that they could regulate tax.

On the other hand we had opposing ideas during the era of President Madison. Being Federalists, they in most times favored a loose constitution though this at times faltered. One of the times that they really got unlike federalists is like in document E where we can see changes being imposed in the constitution. It was anyway in their right to have a loose constitution. At times they however did not follow the federalist policies like in the Louisiana Purchase. At this time they became strict adherents to the constitution to a point of restricting the purchase. Some times during the Madison’s presidency, he strictly adhered to the constitution when he refused to sign a bill on building roads and canals. He strictly stated that the constitution did not state in any clause that the power set aside for regulation of commerce was not the same which meant that the roads and canals should be built. In contrary to the previous belief of republicans behaving otherwise, they totally rejected the war of 1812 between the British and the Americans. They all joined forces in rejecting the war which they later tried to take advantage of. This is clear when they elected Clinton to represent them in the presidential race but they came later to lose to Madison. It is also evident about the strict adherence of the federalists to the constitution.


As it can be gotten from the above excerpts, it is clear that there was an evident behavior among the Jefferson republicans and the times of the Madison’s presidency. The Jefferson’s presidency was supposed to be limited to strict adherence to the constitution but contrary we can see places where the Jefferson and the Jefferson republicans are going to the opposite side of the constitution and opt to support areas which are not at all conversant or in line with the constitution. On the other hand, the Madison’s government is behaving in federalistic ways as much as otherwise was expected. There are times when we can see them strictly adhering to the constitution as we can assert from the signing of the Hartford convention. We therefore support the assertion that for both parties it was extremely hard for someone to determine who true republicans were and who were supposed to be true supporters of federalism.

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26 Jan 2010

Sample Essay: Majority Rule And Minority Rights

The very foundation of democracy is held by two pillars, the principles of majority rule and protection of the rights of individual and minority. Majority rule is applied in making decisions on public issues as well as for organizing the government (usinfo.org). It is not created to take the rights of others especially the minority. In spite of the majority rule, the rights and freedom of the minority is preserved. With this concept, policies and decisions rely on the majority even if the issues tackled cover the minorities. That is, whatever the majority decides, it wins. But the Constitution does not allow that rights of the minorities be taken over by the majority.  The Constitution protects the rights of the minorities as well. The Constitution allows the minorities to have the voice especially in political decisions. So that even if the majority wins over them, they had exercise their right and they were treated equally and not just mere subordinate. It is important to give consideration to the rights of the minorities so that the government will completely display the essence of democracy. The term minority may apply to anyone as a result of ethnicity, gender, religious affiliations or sexual preferences, geographical location or income level. Whatever basis for being a minority, they have the right for equality which is what the Constitution protects. The framers of the Constitution had recognized that there is a possibility that the rights of the minorities will be taken by the majority if they were not protected. Hence the government was so designed to protect their rights while at the same time using the majority rule effectively (McDuffie).

Majority rule with respect to majority rights is a concept which ensures the no political power will be more dominant. That is, both will be considered and heard in every aspect of the society.  Majority rule is observed in every election wherein the candidate who was voted in by the majority gets the chair. This does not mean however that the minority did not exercise their right. The rights of the minority are still respected. Similarly, the minorities are allowed to cast their votes to whoever they wanted to be in the position. Thus their vote for a certain candidate actually counts even if the candidate wins or loses.

The Amendments of the Constitution clearly exemplify the rights of the people including the minorities.  Amendment XIV, Section 1 states that, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (Vile 181).  The Fourteenth Amendment assures three primary guarantees to the citizens. These are privileges and immunities, the due process and equal protection. This allows the recognition of the status of the minority and thus giving them a voice in our country.  Through the Fourteenth Amendment the various legal and civil rights were added to the rights of the former slaves.

Amendment XV also protects the rights of the minority. Amendment XV states that, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude” (Mount). The Fifteenth Amendment therefore prevents voting discrimination based on ones color or race (Vile 195). More than legal and civil rights, political power is also granted to the minorities through this Amendment and they will never again be denied of this right. Prior to the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, the Blacks population specifically the males were denied of their rights to suffrage. It entitled the Blacks the same constitutional right that only the Whites were granted. Thus the Fifteenth Amendment gives them the right to vote as the Constitution did not limit their rights due to color or race (McDuffie).

Amendment XIX of the Constitution projects the rights of the minority towards a majority rule. It proposed voting rights for women. Indeed women were considered a minority and were denied several rights including the rights to suffrage. They have been labeled just a domestic partner and not an individual hence their husbands were considered enough o represent them during elections. This led women to march in protest. Their efforts paid off as Amendment Nineteen was ratified and states that, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” (Mount). By allowing women to vote, their right as minority was treated as part of the majority rule.

Majority rule with respect to majority rights is a concept which ensures the no political power will be more dominant. That is, both will be considered and heard in every aspect of the society.  Majority rule is observed in every election wherein the candidate who was voted in by the majority gets the chair. This does not mean however that the minority did not exercise their right. The rights of the minority are still respected. Similarly, the minorities are allowed to cast their votes to whoever they wanted to be in the position. Thus their vote for a certain candidate actually counts. It’s not really about pushing for the right person on the position. It’s rather about being given the privilege to give ones opinion that matters.  In such way, the rights of the minorities are given the same rights that the majority enjoys.

An example of an instance where majority rule with respect to minority rules apply, is the issue of same-sex marriage. Although the majority does not agree with same-sex marriage, there are still those who wanted it to be legal. In spite of the fact that those who favor same-sex marriage is comparably small than those who do not agree with it, their voice is heard; thus giving those who are in the majority a second thought. It also allows the government to weigh which side works better.  But the most important thing is that it allows room for compromise so that both sides reach an agreement which benefits the whole society. The principle majority rule with respect to minority rights reiterates the rights to equality. In a democratic society, it is important that everyone should be treated fair, ones opinions be voiced out and ones voice be heard. It does not really concern whether your ones opinion or ones voice prevail for as long as it was broadcasted.  The principle gives the minorities the same rights as the majority. This is how the Constitution protects the rights of the minorities.

Works Cited

McDuffie, Nicole. “Majority Rue with Respect to Minority Rights.” 2008. 16 February 2009 <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1016764/majority_rule_with_respect_to_minority_pg3.html?cat=47>.

Mount, Steve. “The United States Constitution. 2009. 16 February 2009 <http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html>.

Vile, John R. A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments.  Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1997.

“Principles of Democracy: Majority Rule, Minority Rights.” 2005. 16 February 2009 <http://usinfo.org/zhtw/DOCS/prinDemocracy/majority.html>.

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11 Oct 2009

Sample Essay: Democracy and Law Rome

The aristocratic tradition in Rome has been a characteristic feature of Roman history. Romans are more recognized as imperialists rather than pioneers of democracy, still they earn a respectable place in discussions related to democracy on the grounds that the system they operated in the middle and late Republican period ( from  about 300 BC until the establishment of the empire in about 30BC) represents a period which has encouraged strong elements of popular participation, even the tradition of aristocracy was still traced. The overpowering and monopolistic rule of the aristocracy lasted for a century under the rule of the Etruscans and finally in 510BC Rome saw its very last King who was deposed. The King was taken over under the leadership of Lucius Junius Brutus and a group of aristocrats. This was done after a very shameful incident, in which “around 550BC, Lucretia, the daughter of an aristocrat, was raped by the son of Tarquin, the king of Rome. Lucretia told her family what had happened to her and then, in front of them, killed herself from shame.” (BBC, 2004)Brutus reacted to this issue fiercely gathering a group of aristocrats and the King was duly expelled from the city and Roam Republic or Democracy was founded which lasted for 500 years. The seed of democracy in Rome emerged from overpowering rule of the King, the struggle between the two classes of people and the initiation of the new code of Law for the people which was more liberal.

The struggle between the patricians and plebeians continued endlessly leading to unrest and conflict which was inherent part of the governance. The institutional protection provided plebeians with a platform on which they could fight for their right. It took forty-five years of struggle to end the populist system. The major turn took place in 451 BC with the establishment of the Commission of Ten which nominated to written laws and regulations which were demanded by the plebeians. These were the times when the Times Courts which were the law enforcement bodies were mostly dominated by patricians who abused their majority, and took advantage of the fact the law was not written down. Ten patricians were nominated to the Commission, and ruled Rome for as long as they could and refused to include plebeian’s postulates into the code of law. Plebeians were dissatisfied and made the second succession that resulted in a compromise between patricians and plebeians, and the Laws of Twelve Tables were introduced with legislation. There was introduction of Valero-Horatian Laws (also 449 BC) which was something like a Constitution and Law Codex of Democratic Rome. (Holland, 2004)

Law and its enforcement is very essential element of the democracy in Roman context. Democracy in Rome regulated the political life and the legal system of Rome. This was the dawn of the democratic system which was introduced in 449BC and led to the rise of oppressed and controlled life of the majority of the Roman people who were plebeians. The dividing line between patricians and plebeians was gradually crossed from both sides leading to closer social interaction. Since patricians were no longer closed social class, the law gave permission to plebeians to marry patricians. They were also guaranteed some privileges and tribunes for their meetings and the law prohibited creation of any city office or institution from which decisions a citizen of Rome could not appeal to some other city office. Citizens had the right to appeal from any arbitrary administrative decision (Dzieniszewski, 2006)

The introduction of laws and democracy in Rome established a new chapter, which directed the politics of Rome which was transformed in a very evolutionary manner. The outcome of the resistance which was achieved after many years of struggle provided with a platform which was waged in democratic manner and provides plebeians with the right under the law to be elected to every city office. This was unlike the old times when most of the offices were accessible only to patricians. This transformation was favorable for the position of Rome. Rome became the ruler of the great Mediterranean empire and many new provinces were brought to the wealth of nations which were already under Italy.

This period in history marks the evolution of new principles on which governance was based. The transformation from tyrannical and dictatorial monarchy to gradual aristocracy and finally leading to the doorsteps of democracy has been a very evolutionary journey for the nation. This trend can be witnessed in many other historical contexts as well in Europe and Asia where the struggle and class disparity led to the reformation process which was instrumental in establishing the seeds of democracy. The struggle is often long and hard, and there is always the right time when an event or an incident triggers the catalyst for reaction which brings about phenomenal change as in case of Rome. The causes are always disparity, injustice and inequality in the uniformity of the application of the legal system which results in unity of the forces which at the right time overthrows the aristocracy leading to a legal system which is uniform and based on more democratic principles. The message in this incident is so powerful that it deserves attention and inspection for ages to come. The history of law and democracy in Rome is an inspiring and forceful, has left a strong impression in the study of democratic systems.

Work Cited

Dzieniszewski Slawomir, 2006, Democratic Rome, The World Hisotry Rewritten. Warsaw.

BBC, 2004, http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/inourtime_20041230.shtml

Holland Tom 2004 Rubicon: the Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic. Abacus

29 Aug 2009

Sample Essay: Declaration and Resolves of the First Continetal Congress

The first continental congress took place in Philadelphia in September 1774. All the colonies apart from Philadelphia were represented. The American colonist delegates presented many grievances against the British government.

The four major grievances the colonists expressed against the colonial government according to Anderson et al (1950) were that Parliament was unfair in its taxation policies on the colonists. This was because the colonists were being taxed but not represented in Parliament. The second grievance was that the standing armies Parliament had instituted were a burden to the states, especially when there were no wars going on. The third grievance against the British parliament according to Anderson (p.95) was that the British Parliament” Had broken up their assemblies, treated their petitions with contempt and passed laws which were unfair, illegal and destructive of colonial rights.” The fourth grievance was that the colonialist had oppressed the populations and did not give them freedom to operate in various spheres of their lives such as in property ownership, life and liberty.

According to Cornell University Law School (n.d) the bill of rights was instituted as a reaction to the oppression of the citizens by the British. The bill of rights guaranteed each citizen the freedom of life, liberty and property. It also guaranteed the people’s right to associate and interact with whoever they chose as long as they were peaceful. People also had the freedom of religion and “to petition the government for a redress of grievances”.

According to U.S. Constitution Online (2007) Congress was given the powers to collect taxes but restrictions placed to the methods taxation and use of government funds. The constitution stated that Congress could not withdraw money from the treasury “But in consequence of appropriations made by law.” Congress also had to give an account to the electorate as to how it used national resources. Congress has to use the taxes for the welfare of the whole State.

The constitution provided for checks and balances within its three arms to help prevent over concentration of power on one person or institution. To prevent arbitrary passing of bills, or legislations, a bill was to be supported by two thirds of the Congress before being passed on to the president for assent. If the president rejected it, it could be accepted if it got a majority vote when re-passed again in parliament. The Judiciary also checks the powers of the legislature and executive.

The constitution guaranteed “every state in this union a Republican form of government”. This was to enhance democracy and avoid dictatorship as witnessed in case of the British monarchy.

The government was to be in charge of taking care of the army and providing for its resources.

In conclusion, the constitution and the bill of rights safeguards against the abuse of power by any institution or person and protects the rights of each and every American citizen. With some of the article and amendments especially made as a reaction to the abusive British monarchial system of ruling.


Anderson, R. Howard et al. (1950). The Making of Modern America. Houghton Mifflin Company: Massachusetts.

Cornell university law school.(n.d) United States Constitution. Last Accessed 29 April 2007. http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.table.html#articleiv

The U.S Constitution Online. (2007)The United States Constitution. Last Accessed 29 April 2007. http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#A4Sec1

14 Jul 2009

Sample Essay: International Law

1.0 Introduction

International relations, is the study of the relations in diplomacy and diplomatic history, international law, organizations, finance, economics, commerce, and communication among others. There are two schools of thought, one looks to strengthened international law and international organizations to preserve peace; the other emphasizes that nations will always use their power to achieve goals and sees the key to peace in a balance of power among competing states (Aron (1967), Morgenthau (1978), Northedge and Grieve (1971), Mansbach and Vasquez (1981), and Pearson and Rochester (1988).   In other words, International Relations are the relationship between people of different races and divide. The world order is changing. Technology has brought people much closer. There is a general consensus that mankind is one and that this world is for all to share it equally.

In the words of a realist, International politics is a world free from all legal ad moral restraints, where the powerful, and the not so-powerful states possess the freedom to act in instinct, at their own leisure and liberty, and ultimately to use force with impunity (Dino Kritsiotis, Introduction, The power of law as international language).

A world devoid of a law would be catastrophic to mankind itself. International law is the law for the states of the world. The world is a mixture of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The world is synonymous of the rich and poor nations. While some nations have the power to throw its might, there are numerous others who find it hard to sustain themselves. Such is the economical imbalance, that unless there is a uniform law to protect the weaker states from discrimination, the world would turn into a battle ground. International borders are make-believe of the society that we belong to. It is this society that formulates laws to protect ourselves from perpetuators. In order to safeguard sovereignty and freedom, societies around the world joined together to enforce laws to bring equality and peace. How and why are these laws enacted?  We live in a world guarded by rules and laws designed by us (read society) to bring order and security to its members. Without these, the world would be one big battle field. The spread of weapons of mass destruction, global climatic changes, violent religious extremism, human rights violations, trade deficits, and others are all man made and still evident despite a new world order to reign in terrorism and human right violations (Porter, 2006).

International law is made by society for the benefit of society. Unless the world that we live in has laws to abide by, lawlessness would have cleansed this world of humanity. International law is, simply, the law of international society. The whole human race uses social processes to build its future to be in accordance with what it wills that its future should be (Philip Allott, p.111, New International Law). These problems are not just of national interest, but international as well. Terrorism has no boundaries, and terrorists can inflict damage to property, besides taking innocent lives in the name of pretence. The menace of such drastically barbaric acts of terrorism makes the news headlines in papers around the globe everyday. Slavery and child labour is a major cause for concern in third world countries.  So much so that, whatever happens before our eyes today are man-made. Natural calamities aside, anything and everything that is reported in the papers, television and radio are all a consequence of human activities. To protect and guide civilisation through such unpredictable and barbaric acts of terror and destruction, all states from around the world, combined to form a common law agency, called the United Nations Organisation (UNO). ‘The actual is not natural and inevitable. The actual was made by us and can be remade by us. The actual is the possible. The function of international lawyers is to change the course of human history’, said Philip Allott in ‘New International Law’ in British Institute of International and Comparative Law (edition) ‘Theory and International Law: An Introduction’ (Allott, 1991).

International law aims at regulating the behaviour of states. States (countries) represent the principal actors of the world. They are legal entities, drawn by boundaries and rules, with aggregates of human beings dominated by an elected government that wields authority over them. It has its own political, economic, cultural, ethnic and religious identity (Cassese, 2001).

2.0  Executive Summary

The responsibility for violation of rules governing the behaviour of a state lies with the state itself and not individuals belonging to it. In the case of a state, it is governed by its constitution, duly elected by its society. As seen in the earlier chapter, the totality of the systematic process of the society is presented to society in what is called constitution. The constitution of a society is a bit like the personality of a human person. It’s a structured summation of a particular functioning identity, evolving over time. Constitution forms the society as the society forms its constitution. We see that, whatever the action of the constitution, it is an act constituted by the society that formed it. It creates great semantic force-fields for itself and its society. Religion, mythology, morality, philosophy, art and so on are all part of its own creation. These inputs create an image with which it is identified by societies elsewhere. The systematic adherence to these principles determines the specific outputs of the given society, the interactive effect between the society and its members, and between the society and other societies. This is what constitution is all about (Philip Allott, p.109, New International Law). Constitution forms society just the way society forms its constitution. Society is a system constituting itself as a system.

Constitution enforces its influence upon its society. Society is a creation of human consciousness. It is this consciousness that emphasizes what is right and what is wrong for the society. The same is the case with international law. Unlike state laws, where the state involved takes action against the perpetuator(s), in international law, the laws formed by combined societies of the world, are enforced on perpetuators who bring acrimony and lawlessness to another society. This is more than evident in the following sequence of events that happened in the recent past, internationally.

In International law, if a State official breaks a law; a military or civil aircraft is directed to fly over a no-fly zone, a national court disregards an international treaty granting certain rights to foreigners, or a law officer infringing diplomatic immunity by arresting a diplomat, the State to which the official belongs will be targeted for no fault of their own[1] The State that became victim to the official’s transgression can claim compensation as reprisal. The incident that took place in Corfu in 1923 is a prime example of such actions[2].  Under normal process within a State, if an individual were to violate the law and cause harm to an unsuspecting victim, the State enforcement agency (read police), will punish the guilty alone. He is taken to court and sentenced to undergo punishment. These laws were made by the society to which it belonged, and they thought that by such external actions, the sovereignty and security of its people were being provoked. If there were no law to identify the right from wrong, such actions would have been termed as atrocious, or just bullying. Laws identify the right from wrong. Unless there is a distinction between these two traits, lawlessness would prevail and the world would become a slaughter house. Having seen the above example of a state, in the international arena, there is a difference. An individual’s action can bring his country to task. Take for example the Taliban controlled Afghanistan under Osama Bin Laden. He and his loyal lieutenants began to terrorise other countries, using the local population as shields. Russian independence was put under severe test through armed rebellion from across the border. The Russians retaliated, but gave up in fear of killing innocent lives. The terrorists went a step further and using hijacked commercial airlines, slammed them into the World Trade Centre, killing thousands of innocent people. The Americans, with the support of its allies, launched an attack on the Taliban ruled Afghanistan. Though the Taliban was displaced and a democratic leadership was established there, lose of property and human lives was unimaginable and irreplaceable. The cause for such an action was man-made. The law needs to deal more firmly with such perpetrators of crime. International law needs to be rewritten to deal more firmly with such dastardly acts of human sabotage. The law needs to be amended in such a way that terrorism does not raise its ugly head again.

Globalisation has opened up new vistas to economic development. Though many pundits believe this to be true, there are those who will swear by its discrimination. Many countries believe that by opening up their border to foreign investment, those countries will drain the natural resources available with them and also eat into the country’s economy. The rich countries will become richer, and the poor, poorer. This theory is true to some countries, but has been a boon to others.

With globalisation, countries such as China and India have grown rapidly economically. Infrastructural developments have increased employment opportunities, and reduced unemployment and poverty. Healthy local and international competition, accessibility to quality products, better and cheaper local markets, is all a part of global direct investment and production. This is what globalization is all about. Unless there were rules to govern the functioning of such a process involving direct foreign participation in a third country, the whole process would have been termed differently and rebuked. The law-makers were there to make laws that identified what is right, and what is not. Now, consider the two cases aforementioned. Lawmakers need to interpret what is right and what is not. Similarly, lawmakers need to formulate stronger laws to curb the menace of terrorism and discrimination. With globalisation, many countries have enjoyed economic growth and prosperity. China and India are strong examples of economies enjoying greater economic development than most developed countries today. Exports have grown and China is today the largest exporter of steel products. India leads in software exports and development, so much so that, Microsoft has opened a development centre in India, and is actively contemplating on opening another one there soon. They are now in a position to dictate and compete on equal terms with advanced nations. The United States, Canada, the European Union, and other major developed nations are now talking of taking China to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for trade embargo. The law on anti-dumping is being used to curb the influx of Chinese goods into these countries. In order to curb the practices of such unfavorable trade ethics, the International economic law protects the rights and discrimination of unfair trade.

International law, under the legal constitution, organises the interactive willingness and acts of two or more member states in society. If one were bound by a legal relation, then it is mandatory that it acts in conformity of this legal relation, a civilized act that has no motive to disturb, hurt or dislodge normal life. Legal relations socialize one’s behaviour. Any individual, group or state that deviates from this theory is accountable for its actions. The international society to which we all belong, watches the way its legal relations take place. International law monitors both social and legal accountability and will initiate action to curb such activities that may be deemed harmful to society.

Terrorism is a menace to society. Cold-blooded and barbaric methods to destroy democratic life are their motto. Ever since the Taliban ran the country in Afghanistan, pockets of terrorist training centres began to crop up all over the country and neighbouring Pakistan. Mercenaries were taught to use sophisticated weaponry and brain-washed to launch attacks on civilisation as human bombs. Terrorism was now at its height and presented its ugly face to the world. The attack on the World Trade Centre in New York, the series of explosions that rocked London on a working day, the attack on the Parliament House in New Delhi, and the numerous attacks on harmless human beings are stark reminders of their operative.

The United Nations Resolution 34/145 (1979) states:

Measures to Prevent International Terrorism which Endangers or Takes Innocent Lives or Jeopardises Fundamental Freedoms, and Study the Underlying Causes of those Forms of Terrorism and Acts of Violence which Lie in Misery, Frustration, Grievance and Despair and which Causes Some People to Sacrifice Human Lives Including Their Own in an Attempt to Effect Radical Changes (Elagab. Dr. 1997).

The law on international public order acts on crimes and violent abuse of power by rouge states and groups against other members of the society.

3.0   Why Law?

Law is a combination of rules and regulations that a constitution lays down for protecting and welfare of its society. If these rules are broken, the law takes action against the perpetuator of the crime. As in international law, state law seeks to see a state free of all legal and moral restraints, where powerful (and the not so-powerful) member of the society possess the freedom of speech, action, and right. This freedom will not be misused under any circumstance to hurt or injure another member(s) of the society to which he/she belongs. The perpetuator will not act in instinct, at his/her own leisure and liberty, to cause harm or disruption. The law is made by society to protect society.

International Administrative law is concerned with the use and abuse of all power delegated by international law. International administrative law is designed to ensure that state powers under international laws are used in accordance with the international social objectives which they are designed to serve, that’s to say, that they are used in the international public interest (Philip Allott, p.112, New International Law)

In the backdrop of these activities, the United Nations, in compliance with the majority votes of its permanent and non-permanent members draft resolutions to prevent damage to property and lose of lives.

Right from the beginning of the international community, States had evolved two principal methods to create legally binding rules:



Both these suited the basic need of being passive principals, not enforcing themselves on the States that did not wish to be bounded by them. The law was brought into being by States that wished to be bound by them. Treaties, applicable only to the contracting parties, reflected the individualism prevailing in the international community. Custom on the other hand, gave rise to rules that bound all members of the community, but rested on mutual consent. The emergence in the twentieth century of new States through independence, many of whom had different ideological, political, and cultural backgrounds meant that the international regulation of treaties had to become more certain, and detailed with the demands of these States. This was the platform for the formation of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and the International Organisation. This was followed by the Treaty Convention again in 1986 in Vienna (Cassese, 2001)[3].

Custom has been on the wane after the end of the Second World War, with the exception of three important areas:

Emerging Economic Interests: Solutions to specific problems at sea due to rapid economic growth of new economic demands may not find favour within treaties. Such a situation warrants satisfying the interests and needs of the groups of States involved in this conflict. Solutions to such problems can be brought about by the emergence of customary rules.

Major Political and Institutional Conflicts: This refers to the development of new needs of the international community, giving rise to disagreements among States, which might prove to be extremely difficult to achieve through treaties. The modified Article 27.3 of the UN Charter, wherein a decision may be made even if one or more permanent member abstained is a prime example.

The third area is Updating and Elaboration:  This includes those parts of the body of the customary law which newly independent States have considered to be acceptable, but require a few changes and clarifications. Several rules on warfare come under this area.

Treaties are the conclusion of agreements. A major feature of treaties is that they only bind the parties that have agreed to be bound by them (Treaties, p.126, Para 2).

Thus, treaties may impose obligations, or create legal claim on non-conforming States. There are two types of treaties: Bilateral & Multilateral

In olden days, there was no central authority to enforce law on warring factions. Self-help prevailed; only the aggrieved State was authorised to react to a breach of its rights made by another State. There are two categories of enforcement measures in such a scenario. Armed intervention is the act of protecting one’s interest against the aggressor, and armed reprisal, wherein there are strong reactions against wrongful acts by the aggressor. In any case, States were authorised to use force to pursue their interests and it did not matter whether they engaged in conflicts as a stance to unlawful conduct by the other (Cassese, 2001)[4].

Force and the threat of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations are prohibited by the ban laid down in Article 2.4 of the UN Charter and a corresponding customary rule. If armed reprisals are ruled out, the weakness and the frequent failure of the UN system and economic sanctions, the Victim State will be left at the mercy of the State (s) bent on violating international law. The UN collective security system was formulated to maintain and restore international peace and order, and not to enforce international law (Cassese, 2001)[5].

War crimes mounted to; serious infringement of an international rule, a rule belonging to the corpus of customary law, or be part of an applicable treaty, and violation under customary or conventional law. To understand the intensity of the crime, it is mandatory to consider the content of the rule that has been allegedly breached. Since no list of war crimes exists in customary law, crimes can be inferred only from international humanitarian law being assertedly violated (The objective and Subjective elements of the crime, p. 247).

Crimes against humanity are punishable regardless of whether they were perpetrated in time of war or peace. The mental equilibrium of the perpetrator at the time of the crime is hard to prove and stands controversial. Courts insist on three things to come to a conclusion. They are, the offender’s criminal intent, the second is the link between his misbehaviour and practice, and finally, the awareness of the perpetrator on the consequences of his action on them (Cassese, 2001)[6].

Genocide is intentional killing, destruction, or extermination of an individual or groups of people, and conceived to be a crime against humanity. Genocide acquired autonomous significance as a specific crime in 1948, when the UN General Assembly adopted the Genocide Convention. Article IV of the Convention suggests trials before the courts of the State in which the crime took place, or before an international penal tribunal.

Article VIII asks any contracting party to call upon a competent member of UN to take action under the Charter (12.2.3 Genocide, Para 5-6, p.252-253).

In the subsequent chapter we take a look at some more pronounced laws that are billed in the UN. These laws are chartered by member states of the UN that have identified and executed the draft for law in international relations.

4.0  International Laws and their Relevance

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

Article 2 of the UN Charter declares that every individual born on earth is entitled to all the rights and freedom set forth, without distinction in the name of race, colour, sex, language, religion, birth, nationality, political opinion and property.

Article 3 refers to right to life, liberty and security,

Article 4 says that no individual will or should be subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

Under Article 9, no individual shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.


At its 105th plenary meeting in December 1977, the General Assembly, on the    recommendations of the sixth committee, adopted the Resolution 32/147, titled, ‘Measures to prevent international terrorism which endangers or takes innocent   human or jeopardises fundamental freedom, and study of the underlying causes of those forms of terrorism and acts of violence which lie in misery, frustration,       grievance, and despair and which causes some people to sacrifice human lives including their own, in an attempt to effect radical changes (Elagab. Dr. 1997)[7].

Hijacking and Related Attacks on Civil Aviation:

In the face of the September 11 hijack and attack on WTC in New York, it may be appropriate to throw some light on what the UN Charter proclaimed of that catastrophe.

The UN has adopted a number of rules to deal with terrorist acts related to civil aviation. The principal instruments and rules were at:

1. The 1963 Tokyo Convention, where offences and other Acts committed on board aircraft. Article 3(2) of the 1963 Tokyo Convention imposes an obligation on States to assert their own jurisdiction over crimes committed on board aircraft of their nationality wherever they happen to be.

2. The 1970 Hague Convention for the suppression of unlawful seizure of aircraft, which was prompted by the disturbing figures of hijacking incidents .The Convention reached a consensus that:

A. The implementation of a duty on the Contracting State to punish or extradite the offenders. This is widely known as the Hague extradition/prosecution formula. It is because of this formula that any putative hijacker will realize that he or she will have no safe haven in any part of the world.

B. It requires the Contracting State to make the commission of the offences described in the Convention, attracting severe penal sanction under their respective domestic rules.

C. It required the contracting State to exercise their domestic jurisdiction over individuals committing such offences anywhere in the world, regardless of the country of origin

3. The 1971 Montreal Convention was noted for its consensus reached on Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation designed to stem the increasingly frequent tide of cases of sabotage against aircraft and air navigation facilities.

4. The Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of violence at Airports

Serving Civil Aviation deals with acts of violence which can endanger the safety of people at airports serving international or domestic flights or which can jeopardise the safety of airport operations. Article II protocol, amended from the earlier Article I Convention, sets to punish any person or persons who unlawfully commits with intent to cause harm or death by any device. Article III deals with the jurisdiction of the offenders, and require extradition (Elagab. Dr. 1997)[8].

5.0   Conclusion

Ever since the world became civilised, man has made rules to affect effective governance. With advance in technology, crimes have become far more sophisticated. Efforts to rope in terror have not met with much success. The UN Conventions brought forth several treaties and custom to encounter eventualities. Despite these measures, terrorism has grown alarmingly. International laws on extradition are promising. A majority of nations have joined hands to combat this menace, which is now showing signs of improvement. International laws must be created and amended from time to time to combat uncertainties. The challenges are huge, yet there is a speck of light at the end of it all. Without laws, the world would have been a battlefield of barbarism.

Society creates semantic force-fields for itself, such as its religion, mythology, morality, philosophy, art and so on. The systematic principles of society determines the specific outputs of the given society, determines the interactive effect between the society and its members, and between the society and other societies. The totality of the systematic process is called as the constitution. The constitution of a society is somewhat a reflection of person’s personality. It’s a structured summation of a particular functioning identity, evolving over time forming itself over time. While constitution forms society, society forms its constitution. Society is a system constituting itself as a system.

The law, under the legal constitution, organizes the interactive willingness and acts of two or more members of the society. If one were bound by a legal relation, then it is mandatory that he/she/they act in conformity of this legal relation, an act, the way society wants one to act in.

The law of property contract, money, corporate law, and so on are sets of legal relations which are designed to organize particular forms social transformation, especially economic transformation.

International Administrative law is concerned with the use and abuse of all power delegated by international law. International administrative law is designed to ensure that powers under international laws are used in accordance with the international social objectives which they are designed to serve, that’s to say, that they are used in the international public interest.

Law of international public order are used to stop all sorts of crimes and violent abuse of power to, including the many kinds of violence governments are tempted to use against each other and against other human beings whom they are supposed to serve.

International Economic law provides the legal relation necessary to make possible the economic transformation of the planet for the survival and prospering of all its inhabitants, human and non-human. International economic law includes environment protection too.

6.0  References

1.         R. Aron, Peace and War (tr. 1967); H. J. Morgenthau, Politics among Nations (5th ed. rev. 1978); F. S. Northedge and M. J. Grieve, A Hundred Years of    International Relations (1971); R. W. Mansbach and J. A. Vasquez, In Search of  Theory (1981); F. S. Pearson and J. M. Rochester, International Relations (2d ed.  1988). http://www.answers.com/topic/international-relations

2.         Keith Porter, Globalization Issues, Failed States Spread Chaos, Newsletter, November 28, 2006, About.com, http://globalization.about.com/About_Globalization_Issues.htm.

3.         International Monetary Fund, Globalization: Threat or Opportunity? January 2002, https://www.internationalmonetaryfund.com/external/np/exr/ib/2000/041200.htm

4.         Dr. Omer Y. Elagab, International Law Documents relating to Terrorism, 2nd Edition, UN General Assembly Resolution 34/145 (1979), p. 27, Cavendish Publishing Limited. 1997.

5.         Antonio Cassese, International Law, 1st Edition, 2001, Oxford University Press.

6.         Philip Allott, New International Law

6.         Dino Kritsiotis, Introduction, The power of law as international language

[1] Antonio Cassese, International Law, 1.4 Collective Responsibility, Para 2, p.7, Oxford Uni. Press

[2] On August 27th 1923, the Italian members of an International Commission were killed at Zepi, in Greek territory at the hands of unknown terrorists. Italy formally requested Greece to compensate and apologise for the incident, which they refused. The Italian dictator, Mussolini, ordered the bombardment of Corfu, causing casualties and occupation of Greek territory. Greek was forced to comply with the Italian request of compensation and unconditional apology. P.7, International Law

[3] Antonio Cassese, International Law, 6 International Lawmaking: Custom and Treaties, Para 1, p.117, & 6.1.2 New Trends, Para 3, p. 118, Oxford Uni. Press

[4] Chapter 11, Enforcement in the Case of Violations by States, 11.1.2 Classes of Enforcement Measures, Para 2, p. 230

[5] 11.3 Enforcement of International Rules in Modern International Law, p. 234, Para 2 &3

[6] 12.2.2 Crimes against Humanity, p. 251, Para 3 & 4

[7] Dr. Omer Y. Elagab, International Law Documents relating to Terrorism, Introduction, Para.1, p.41

[8] Dr. Omer Y. Elagab, Hijacking and Related Attacks on Civil Aviation, Chapter 2, p. 409 & 410

19 Oct 2008

Essays on Gun Control

Few issues are more controversial than that of gun control.  Unlike other issues, gun control has four different advocacy group categories, three standing against gun control legislation.  Gun control is a loosely defined topic group that includes restrictions on gun ownership, registration of existing firearms, limitations on gun purchase, and what many say are outrageous taxes on the purchase of firearms and ammunition.

Gun control advocates cite the desire to reduce gun violence and crimes as their main motivation behind their activities.  Condensed, their argument is if there is an increase in gun control, then there would not be as many guns to be involved in such crimes.  On first glance, this seems to make sense.  Or does it?

Much may be argued over the issue, including the original intent the writers of the Second Amendment had.  Questions abound over whether gun control laws violate what our founding fathers defined as an inalienable right by its inclusion in our U.S. Bill of Rights. 

Movies such as “Red Dawn” expose and highlight the concerns of many American citizens, showing that the gun control records could be used either by our government or by invaders to identify who owns a gun for confiscation, should our government become excessively corrupted or the United States is ever physically invaded.  Opponents to gun control point to the attitudes of Hitler and Stalin, both of whom were strong gun control advocates prior to taking control of their societies by use of force on this issue.

Add to this the advocacy camps of sports hunters and the gun industry itself, one can easily see where things get controversial.

  • What are some of the supporting arguments and statistics on each side of the gun control controversy?  What trends, if any, are revealed by the historic statistics?
  • What dangers are there in control laws?  Are the perceived benefits worth these risks?
  • What policies did Hitler and Stalin invoke on the concept of gun control and what were the results?  Does this type of history justify resistance to gun control laws?

The topic of gun control lends itself rather well to opinion and position papers.  History overviews of gun control in various nations (and forms) could be cannon fodder for endless research projects, including the existence of weapon laws far predating the firearms era.

As professional writers and researchers, we stand ready to assist you in preparing any type of document on gun control, regardless of which side of the debate you stand.

Filed under: Essay topics — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 10:34 pm

14 Oct 2008

Essays on Constitutional Rights

In recent years, circumstances have grown in the United States that are leading many to be concerned about the future of our constitutional rights.  Over the years, many court cases have been fought, usually with the government arguing for limitations and regulation of constitutional rights, even though every major figure swears an oath that includes the protection of the U.S. Constitution.  Many say that Federal laws such as the USA/Patriot Act have effectively nullified any expectations of American citizens having any real protection of their constitution rights. 

So profound are constitutional rights considered that the violation of any one can be grounds of the overturning of any law or criminal conviction or the summary dismissal of any criminal court case.  The constitutional rights listed in the Bill of Rights are those rights upon which our forefathers considered all other rights not listed to be based.

The American Revolution was fought on the premise that all men are given certain rights by God that no one has the right to deny, regulate, or otherwise impede.  Among those rights were the right to life, liberty, and free pursuit of happiness.  Enough of the American colonists felt that the king of England was in violation of this concept that they were able to organize an army and a provisional government to oppose the British Empire.  With a little help from key allies, this ragtag band of freedom-seeking rebels took on one of the leading super powers of that era … and won.

Few Americans today realize our Constitution (penned in 1787) did not originally contain any statements regarding the rights of American citizens.  Initially, such rights were thought to be understood by everyone.  Alexander Hamilton asserted that a “Bill of Rights” was unnecessary:  “Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing, and as they retain every thing, they have no need of particular reservations.”  Hamilton also expressed concern that creating such a list of rights might be misconstrued as an absolute authority, effectively denying anything the authors might have forgotten or thought too trivial to mention.  The Ninth and Tenth Amendments were added to address this issue.

  • The America people have historically considered their constitutional rights to be absolutes, yet over many decades laws have been passed weakening constitutional rights.  What are the driving forces behind this disturbing trend and how can American’s best respond to this growing threat?  Who are some of the players behind this movement?  Are their historical parallels to this trend and if so, what was the result?
  • After the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, the United States government initiated a total restructuring of how security is handled in America.  Many agencies that one held limited powers, controlled by law, either no longer exist or have been incorporated into the Department of Homeland Security, essentially a law enforcement body that has been given almost unlimited power to pursue those it feels are a threat to the United States, including American citizens.  What are some of the tactics used by this agency that rights activists are claiming violate the constitution and our constitutional rights?

Protecting our constitutional rights first requires an understanding of what those rights are and how the government has acted regarding those rights.  Professional researchers, such as those working for us, know that to establish such understanding one cannot look only at what is happening today.  Research must be done to establish a history of thought regarding our rights as citizens.  But few people have any idea where to begin with such research.  Our writers already know and are ready to supply you with this expertise.

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