The Constitution of The United States: And It’s Impact On Freedom
IntroductionA constitution can be defined as a written document containing a given set of regulations and laws or principles that govern a group of persons in sate, nation or any social grouping. This document describes the various powers of an existing government and guarantees citizens of their rights. Any system related to law and that describes how a government functions can be termed as a constitution (Kilman and Costello 2000, 13). This includes other uncodified historic constitutions that existed in the early years. A Constitution provides the citizens of a given country with various rights and freedoms. This paper looks at how the right to freedom has evolved over time and how the American constitution has led to the promotion of liberty and democratic rights.
America has always been seen as a sign of hope for many people in different countries o the world. This was the impression given by the first settlers in the country came to seek religious freedom back in the 17th century. Over 67 million people were recorded as having immigrated into the USA from all parts of the world between the year 1820 to the year 2001 in search for greater opportunities and freedom. The policy that allowed the easy immigration however changed in the 19th century due to fears related the economy as well as the security of the country. The desire to maintain USA as the shining hope for all however still remains. Currently, the country’s population constitutes of different races, languages, cultures and languages that are bound by common beliefs of freedom.
The initial constitution of 1789 did not provide for the freedom and liberty rights for all. These have been acquired over the years with people who were at one time excluded from protection by the constitution asserting for their various rights through movements that have resulted into the making of laws, decisions of the supreme court as well as other amendments of the constitution narrowing the gap between what is regarded as the reality and that regarded as the ideal of the country’s freedom (Irons 1999, 105).
During the 1789 presidential election (first election) only 6% of the entire populations were allowed to vote. This percentage constituted of the eligible white men who owned property. The 15th amendment allowed previous male slaves to vote in the year 1870 while the American Indians acquired their voting rights in 1924 with respect to a law enacted by the congress. It was not until the 19th amendment of 1920 that women acquired their voting right (Kilman and Costello 2000, 72).
From the early years of history, the founders of the United States of America held the belief that the country had a global mission of enhancing and preserving liberty. By the year 1917, 12 democracies had been established in the world. Today, more than hundred of such democracies can be identified with most of these countries having a written constitution. Though many of these constitutions differ from that of the United States of America, its stability as well as continuous endurance has granted credibility acted as an encouragement to all those who love freedom all over the world and to all those who have fought effortlessly to fight oppressive forms of leadership and to have a government that works for the people and that respects their rights and freedom (Bernstein 1999, 24).
From the above discussion, the American constitution can be traced back to history where there was limitations to freedom to exercise ones own rights as well as where there was no limitations to various rights to freedom in situations such as that of immigration. These are aspects that have however changed over the years with amendments being made and laws being implemented to ensure that there are positive rights to various levels of freedom.
Bernstein, Richard .Ratification of the Constitution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Irons, Peter. A People’s History of the Supreme Courts. New York: Penguin, 1999.
Kilman, James and Costello, Ann. The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation. New York: Prentice Hall, 2000.