One of the most significant aspects of the video Making of the Constitution that I saw was how different men from all walks of life worked together and played their part to achieve independence and to eventually draft the constitution; and it wasn’t until 13 years later that the Constitution as we know it today came to be. It was interesting to note that it was the political elites, or as the film would call them the propertied elites, who drafted the constitution. The common people did not participate in the process. However, through the years and the centuries that the constitution has endured, we have seen how it has evolved and adjusted itself to the needs of the people for whom it was created.
Two significant aspects of the video The Bill of Rights: A Living Document are worth noting. First was the discussion on the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Tinker vs. Demoine School District. It was significant because the Supreme Court held that the Bill of Rights applies to students, even though they are in a controlled academic environment. Another significant part of the video was when the host called the Bill of Rights a living document. I agree with his pronouncement, and see the Bill of Rights as a document which, similar to the constitution, tries its best to adjust to the times, and is an expression of the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the American people.
The case study of the response to the Katrina Disaster, extensively discussed in Chapter 2 of Wasserman, shows how the current set-up of the political structures may not be efficient to address contemporary problems. However, this may be an isolated case, because there are numerous instances before when the political structure has efficiently and effectively worked for the benefit of the people. The goals of efficiency and democracy in the Constitution do not work against each other. The constitution has found a way to balance the need for efficiency, while at the same time allowing democracy to flourish. The major constitutional principles of separation of powers and checks and balances, federalism, limited government and judicial review, all work hand in hand to ensure protect democracy and ensure efficient function of the government.
One of the most significant aspects of Nevada’s early history was the gold rush and the mining boom, which raged throughout the state. This led to the creation of a number of small communities, which unfortunately did not last even for a generation. According to the film “History of the Silver State”, this mining industry helped the US economy through rough times, from the depression after the civil war up to the 2nd world war. As aptly put by the commentator of the film, Nevada was built by the common people. Another significant aspect was the early grant of suffrage to women in Nevada. Through the efforts of people like Ann Martin, the state in 1914 granted the right to vote for women, a good 6 years before the national movement to do the same. Lastly, another significant event was the legalization of gambling by the state legislature in 1931. This perhaps was the move which has shaped what is Nevada today. Gambling has provided the state with the needed and necessary revenues in order to grow and develop. Though it also gave the state a number of problems, through the years, with increasing government controls, it has made Nevada a prosperous and developed state.