The Continuation of the Constitution
Written and signed in 1787, the Constitution is still adhered to today, allowing for great freedoms to be granted to each citizen. This document represents all that Americans strive to be. It represents freedom of choice, freedom of voice, and freedom of beliefs. The Constitution is a symbol of the American Creed, as it denotes a world of forever shifting set of ideas that contains a changing equilibrium of individuality and government, and also shows a belief in the same goals, with different methods of reaching those goals.
The Constitution was written and ratified to unite the loose confederacy of states after the full freedom of independence granted through a victory over the Kingdom of Britain. It was born out of the struggle between the two sides, Federalists, and Anti-Federalists (soon to be Democratic-Republicans). The Federalists felt it necessary to have a strong central government, and the Anti-Federalists believed that a large central government would lead down the same road of tyranny experienced during the reign of the British. The Constitution, an agreement years in the making, worked to, “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” (US Constitution, Preamble). The Constitution was born out of a need to secure our ability to ensure the protection of each and every citizen of the United States. The Constitution also was necessary to promote justice as a form of societal protection. Amendments were then added to protect the people from the government, should anyone step over the unspoken line into tyranny. This allowed for the continuation of the debate of governance through the eras. Today, the battle between Federalists and Anti-Federalists holds a large hyperbolic weight.
This forever-waging war of how to run this complex nation cuts to the vein of our contemporary society. Many people, including myself, hold varying opinions on how this nation must continue to protect its citizens. The battle between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, whatever you may call it, has taken the forefront of our daily life. Some claim that, “language used in the 18th century must be reinterpreted in light of the new conditions” (Lewis 1), and others believe in the, “enduring Constitution” (Scalia). I, for one, cannot go an entire day without hearing something new, and startling, find its way out of Washington D.C. The verbal campaign on both sides of this war have become increasingly cutthroat, yet all sides seem to have lost sight of what matters most, what the beginning battle between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists is. We are all working towards the same goal. The Constitution’s guiding principle is to protect American citizens, and as an extension of the Constitution, it is the role of all three branches of government to protect American citizens. While integral to our society, the battle between Democrats and Republicans is not the deepest symbolism that can be gleaned from the Constitution.
The Constitution, at its base, represents a loose set of ideas for which to guide the nation. This discussion that exists within the debated crevices of the Constitution is representative of the freedom of choice in America. Everyone can make their own choices of how they live their lives. There is an old saying from Benjamin Franklin, who wrote in a letter, “In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” As long as you are alive, you pay taxes, and you operate inside the pretty lenient lines of the American law, you can do whatever you want. I could just as well go to college as apply for an apprenticeship. As much as I would love to revel in the success of American society, there are pitfalls in this utopian view of America.
The Constitution still emanates the foundation of American society, as it allows for the opportunity of improvement in an imperfect society, but it must utilize these lanes of change to expand its ability to give this opportunity. Today, racism is still rampant, gerrymandering constricts the voice of the people, gun violence rages across the country, and the pharmaceutical industry gouges the average citizen for life saving medications. I believe that, as the combined beliefs of Americans change, the beliefs represented in the Constitution must change as well. The government has the power, invested in them by the Constitution, to pass amendments to prevent the manipulation of the everyday American. I believe that this is only way that the Constitution will be able to continue to be a symbol of the American Creed, and of my American Creed.
The Constitution, one of the most meticulously crafted documents of American history, and the bedrock for our society, symbolizes all that American strive to be. The Constitution was established to conjoin a group of splintered states under one proclamation of principles. This document represents the amount of varied discussion allowed to take place in a contemporary society. It also serves as an example of the ability to shift with the will of the people. As our society as shifted, our laws have lagged behind. For the Constitution to remain a symbol of the American Creed, it must be reworked to better address contemporary issues.
The Constitution. Preamble
"Benjamin Franklin's Last Great Quote and the Constitution." National Constitution Center, 13 Nov. 2018, constitutioncenter.org/blog/benjamin-franklins-last-great-quote-and-the-constitution. Accessed 7 June 2019.
Lewis, Anthony. "The Same Justice Can Be Both a 'Strict' and a 'Loose' Constructionist." New York Times [New York], 24 May 1970, Op-ed sec.
Scalia, Antonin Gregory. "Reading Law." Princeton University, 11 Dec. 2012, Princeton, New Jersey. Lecture.