Constitutional ignorance led to a tyranny of the majority. Our lack of Constitutional knowledge means that believing in protecting the rights of minorities does not actually protect them when they are outvoted.
Americans know too little about our Constitution to maintain the freedoms it was designed to protect. Instead, our ignorance leads us to sacrificing rights out of undue deference to majority rule.
America’s Constitution did not endorse majority rule. Our founders did believe in voting to select who should be entrusted with the power of government, but the more important and prior question they addressed was: “What powers do the people delegate to the federal government to exercise on their behalf?” That is why so much of the Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights, is devoted to what the government is not allowed to do, regardless of majority sentiment. As Jefferson said, our founders fought not for democracy, but for a government “tied down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” In fact, our founders had a great distrust of majority rule.