The purpose of the following research is to exhibit four examples of how the United States Constitution has developed since 1789, the year of its inception. The primary focus displays the inception of equal protection of the laws through the adoption of the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments. Each Amendment presents a clear example of how the Constitution has developed in terms of maturity.
Since being adopted in 1789, the United States Constitution has been the premier establishment of government in America. Most aspects of the American way of life are governed by the Constitution without most people even realizing it. However, even through its grandeur, it too has had to endure a maturation process of over 200 years and 17 additional Amendments from its original 10. Four primary ways by which it has matured is through the adoption of the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments. Each Amendment, in its own way, provides equal protection of the law and sets forth very important individual rights and liberties.
The 13th Amendment
Section 1 of the 13th Amendment provided, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” This Constitutional guarantee abolished the establishment of slavery, and was the first Amendment to provide a foundation for equal protection of the laws.
The 14th Amendment
This Amendment provided two additional Constitutional developments, due process of law and the equal protection of the law. Many cases appearing before the Supreme Court have addressed these two issues at heart. Both were the foundation for all American citizens receiving fair treatment; free from servitude and judicial inequalities. Through the ratification of this Amendment, citizens could enjoy the right “to life, liberty, or property” without state interference and equal protection of all state and federal laws, no matter race, sex, or age.
The 15th Amendment
This Amendment substantially narrowed the scope of voting rights through the evisceration of the precept of taking race into account in order to extend the right to vote. The Amendment was textually set forth as follows: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” As such, this Amendment set out the equal protection of the law for the expressed right for all to vote, no matter the race of that person. However the issue of the sex of a person was not taken into account until years later.
The 19th Amendment
Though the ratification of the 13th and 14th Amendments, voting was extended to all citizens in the United States, without taking race into account. However, it wasn’t until the ratification of the 19th Amendment that sex was not taken into account. Through the establishment of this Amendment it set forth, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” As a result another Constitutional development was established; equal protection of the sexes to vote.
Finally, there have been four primary developments in the development of the United States Constitution since it was established in 1789. The developments of the abolition of slavery, extension of equal protection and due process of the law, protection the right to vote and the abolition of taking race or sex into account are all pillars of a society that mandates freedom for all persons; not a qualified persons through accident of birth. However, the Constitution is a living document; but even so, there are requirements for equality that are not even palatable for society to change. With that, the Constitutional developments have also been a testament to America’s willingness to accept required changes that place mute the arcane ideals that making certain persons inferior to others as acceptable form of social and legal treatment.