Good Argumentative Essay On When Does The Government Have The Right To Regulate Personal Behaviour?
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The political meaning of the state refers to delegation of power to the government in order to conduct the state matters more effectively. The US democracy model is built on the concept of delegation of power, which means that people entrust decision-making process to their government. Of course very few people would want their government to limit their constitutional rights and freedoms, however, whenever the state’s security and stability are at stake, the government can use its power to regulate some aspects of human behavior. Such situations include censure during revolutionary times, immigration restrictions during the instable demographic situation, and prohibition of the alcohol during the times of deceasing morality.
The revolutionary situation in another country or even a dangerous idea can bring the state down and poison democratic values that were being cultivated for decades. In 1917, Russian Revolution guided by Lenin resulted in an attempt to establish a proletarian state. The US government saw communist ideas as a threat to the state stability, therefore, took radical measures in order not to let left ideas spread among masses. Since there were no clear criteria of left-wingers, the US government often made mistakes in defining the true revolutionaries, trying to get rid of the “red disease” by all means. At that point, the government even shipped some people suspected in spreading leftist ideas to Russia. For example, in December 1919, 249 radicals were deported to Russia even though they were the US citizens (Bailey and Kennedy).
The government can also regulate personal behavior during the times of instable or unclear demographic situation. After the end of World War I, many migrants from Eastern and Southern Europe headed to the US. When the amount of newcomers reached 800,000, Americans got scared of migrants, and the government decided to reduce their number forcefully by adopting the Emergency Quota Act in 1921 and the Immigration Act in 1924 (Bailey and Kennedy). Both acts restricted migration on a national basis. Although this approach can be seen as discriminatory, the US government was trying to stabilize the demographic situation after the first inflow of migrants taking care of its own people.
Although prohibition of alcohol was not effective in terms of making people drink less, one can clearly see the government’s motivation when passing the Volstead Act (Bailey and Kennedy). The government was trying to eliminate alcoholism and related to it delinquencies. Such actions can violate a person’s right to drink alcohol during the leisure time; however, the government had a more important agenda – to make life in the society better. Failure of prohibition can question effectiveness of the government’s policy, however, it does not question the government’s right to implement such policy. In this particular case, the government could not recognize a rooted tradition of consuming alcohol and caused even more problems with bootlegging.
The US history of the “Roaring Twenties” clearly shows how government was trying to regulate human behavior whenever saw danger for the stability of the state. Prohibition, “red fear”, and migration policies were defined by historical context, therefore, fairness of these decisions is not being out under question. What is more important is that the US government, being elected by its people, was legitimate to make such decisions, therefore, has the right to regulate personal behavior any time it sees necessary to ensure the state well-being.
Bailey, Thomas A, and David M. Kennedy. The American Spirit: United States History As Seen by Contemporaries. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. Print.
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