Changes In The Constitution Essay, Research Paper
Proposed Changes in the
The Constitution is one of the greatest documents ever written in American history. Rights for all people are included, and everyone is considered to be equal. This took many years to accomplish, and the United States of America are obviously proud of the way they brought everyone together. However, as great of a document that the Constitution is, there are many aspects about it that are outdated or don’t give rights to people that deserve them. In all great pieces of literature, there is always something that can be changed in order to make it better. In the case of the Constitution, the same thing is true. Certain parts of the Constitution need to be rewritten in order for it to keep up with our changing society. The Constitution consists of twenty-seven Amendments. Some of them are great, and really give the people the rights they deserve. But other Amendments, which will be discussed in this paper, are at a need for a rewrite.
Since the beginning of time, the human race has been struggling with the concept of everyone being considered equal. The Puritans, for instance, came to this country because they didn’t feel as though they were being treated equally in the Great Britain. Their religious beliefs were looked down upon, and they wanted to be able to worship whomever they wanted to. If you look in the Bill of Rights in our Constitution, you will notice that the very first Amendment states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” (www.usconstitution). This issue was an important matter to the American people, and that was why they created it into a national law stating that everyone had the right to practice any religion. And so, twenty-seven national laws were created in hopes to have everyone be equal.
There are many parts of the Constitution that are very good and should remain in. For instance, the thirteenth Amendment in which slavery was abolished should most definitely remain in the Constitution. If it was taken out, then people would start to own slaves again and claim that there was no law against it anymore. All three of the Civil War Amendments was a big step towards human equality because now blacks were finally given rights. Another step towards equality was the nineteenth Amendment, women’s suffrage. Women were finally allowed to vote in elections because of this Amendment. After this Amendment, every American citizen was finally considered “human” by the Constitution.
There are also many parts of the Constitution concerning the government that should remain. The twenty-third Amendment finally allowed the citizens of Washington D.C. to vote in the election. A ban on the poll tax was issued three years later to encourage more people to participate in the national elections. Before this Amendment came out, poor people didn’t want to have to spend their money to go vote, and so they stayed home. The twenty-sixth Amendment ensured that anyone eighteen years or older could participate in the election. Even the other areas of the Constitution, not including the twenty-seven Amendments, are well written and make sure that the United States has a strong, centralized, and fair government. Checks and balances is the system our government is based on to make sure that each branch of government is equal and that no branch is higher than the other.
However, there are some flaws in this mission to equality. In the same Amendment as the freedom of religion, a freedom to the press was granted. ” Or abridging the freedom of the press.” The Constitution gives power to the press to go out and have the legal freedom to write about whomever they wanted. When the Constitution was written, I think they regarded a free press as almost a fourth branch of government, constantly keeping tabs on the government’s activities and actions. This is definitely a good part of the first Amendment. However, many people take advantage of this right, including tabloid papers, television, and the paparazzi. Some people might say that this trash is a small price to pay to ensure that any news organization can report freely on the activities of the government. However, what about the people outside of the government that are being exploited? The paparazzi is responsible for hundreds of pictures taken of celebrities without their consent. Should the press have the right to invade people’s privacy for the mere sake of public entertainment?
The second Amendment in the Bill of Rights states that, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The Constitution is stating that everyone has the right to own a pistol, but it does not give the legal right for a person to own a nuclear weapon. If the authors of the Constitution had any foreknowledge of the types of weapons people would be able to buy nowadays, they may have wanted to rethink this Amendment. At the time of the writing of the Constitution, citizen militias, what eventually became the National Guard, were a major part of what made this country free. Then, arms, or more rightly, muzzle-loaded muskets, were an essential part of the defense of that freedom. The authors did not want their government, or any future government, to take from the people their ability to defend themselves against aggressors, from the inside or out. However, many people take advantage of this Amendment and commit crimes with their handguns. The guns were made legal so that any person could feel safe and protect themselves. If this Amendment was changed and the handguns were made illegal, how would one protect themselves? Would crime rates go down, or would people just find new ways to hurt each other? “If everyone owned a gun, then the number of deaths would go down. Once someone started shooting, he would be shot instantly. Eventually, people will stop trying to hurt each other and everyone would be safer.” (Anonymous).
One major issue that has been on people’s minds is the presidential term of office. The President of the United States is limited to two terms, with a maximum of ten years in the position. This Amendment was created because the people were fearful that the President would become a tyrant, or our government would become a parallel to a monarchy. Even before this Amendment was issued in 1951, the two year term was an unwritten law. Since the presidency of George Washington, only one thing could be said to be totally consistent -that no President had the job for more than two full terms. Washington had been asked to run for a third term in 1796, but he made it quite clear that he had no intention of doing so; that an orderly transition of power was needed to set the Constitution in stone. And so it was for almost 150 years. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was first elected President in 1932, and re-elected in 1936. When it came time for the Democrats to nominate a candidate for the Presidency in 1940, two things had happened. First, the Republicans had made great gains in Congress in the 1938 elections. And Hitler happened. Europe was in the throes of a great war, with trouble in the Pacific, too. A change away from Roosevelt, who had lead the nation through the Great Depression, did not seem wise. He was nominated for an unprecedented third term, and won. It was not a landslide victory, however, and it is debatable that FDR would have had a third term had it not been for the war. When 1944 rolled around, changing leaders in the middle of World War II, which the United States was now fully engaged in, also seemed unwise, and FDR ran for and was elected to, a fourth term. His life was nearly over, however, and his Vice President, Harry Truman, became President upon FDR’s death less than 100 days after his inauguration (also part of the Constitution, seen in Amendment 25). Though FDR’s leadership was seen by many as a key reason that the U.S. came out of WWII victorious, the Congress was determined, once the war ended, to ensure that Washington’s self-imposed two-term limit become the law of the land. Specifically excepting Truman from its provisions, the 22nd Amendment passed Congress on March 21, 1947. After Truman won a second term in 1948, it was ratified on February 27, 1951. Truman could have run for a third term, but bowed out early before campaigning began. This Amendment was written basically so that Washington’s tradition was carried on. But if a President is doing a good job at running the President, why elect someone new and inexperienced?
In August of 1997, the world was shocked with the news that the Princess of Wales was killed in a violent car wreck. Many conspiracies were fabricated about the cause of her accident. However, the one that makes the most sense to the public and to the police was that Diana was trying to escape the many cameras of the paparazzi. The photographers were held with the belief that they caused the accident while taking pictures and then failed to assist the victims after the crash. For years, the paparazzi have exploited and invaded people’s privacy. They take advantage of the first amendment. In my opinion, I think that the rights of the press should be limited. Pictures should only be taken with the person’s consent. Any reporter that violates this should be fined or even jailed, depending on the situation. The main point here is that although the press is allowed some rights, the people are allowed more, and they have to right to their privacy.
The President is one of the most important and influential person of our nation. If he is doing a good job at running the country, why should someone new be elected to his position? Back in 1787, when the Constitution was created, the people were fearful of America becoming a monarchy. Well, even if there is a leader for a long time, the rest of the government is elected by the people, which is not a characteristic of a monarchy. During the time of FDR, many Americans feared that he would become a tyrannical leader, like Hitler, and that was why the Amendment was passed after he died. Although the President appears to run the country, he is merely just a spokesperson for many people. A tyrant won’t let anyone else speak their mind and is not concerned for the citizens. Well if a President is doing a good job, and the people agree with this by showing their support and electing him to represent America, then why should he be prevented from doing this? I think that a President’s term should not be limited. The voice of the people will tell if he is suitable for the position or not. The Amendment decides it for them.
In the United States of America, each year more than 30,000 deaths are the result of gun violence. Of this number, 23,000 of these deaths occurred from handguns. The various interpretations of this Amendment tend to lean in one of two ways. The first is that the amendment was meant to ensure that individuals have the absolute right to own firearms; the second is that the amendment was meant to ensure that States could form, arm, and maintain their own militias. Either way, it is a bar to federal action only, meaning that a State may be as restrictive or unrestrictive as it wishes to be in the regulation of firearms; likewise, private rules and regulations may prohibit or encourage firearms. For example, “if a housing association wishes to bar any firearm from being held within its borders, it is free to do so.” (CQ’91). The Court, in permitting the United States to make sawed-off shotguns illegal, essentially said that such weapons do not contribute to the maintenance of a militia, and have no use in ensuring the common defense (United States v. Miller, 1939). The rationale used in Miller has been the basis for all gun control laws since 1939. As the GPO notes, “At what point regulation or prohibition of what classes of firearms would conflict with the Amendment, if at all, the Miller case does little more than cast a faint degree of illumination toward an answer.” (CQ’91). I feel that if so many deaths are a result of handguns, then this amendment should be repealed. As for the quote I restated earlier, the idea of this is nearly absurd. Can you imagine what our country would be like knowing that every person is carrying a gun? The number or accidental deaths or injuries from a handgun is frightening. You would have self protection, yes, but you basically wouldn’t be safe anywhere you went. I think that the second Amendment should be rewritten, and that it is illegal to own or carry any type of gun. Some might go as far as saying that policemen shouldn’t be allowed to bear a firearm either, saying that there are too many accidental deaths involving their weapons. However, the second Amendment was created so that the army and the government could protect the citizens. Without a weapon, the policemen would be just like everyone else.
In the future, any of these proposed changes are possible. Many people are concerned about gun control and are fighting to put more restrictions on the Amendment. However, I don’t think that this amendment will be changed completely or repealed from the Constitution. The United States is too split on the issue that they will never agree to repeal. I do think that in the future the press will have limited rights. Privacy is a very important aspect of life, and the press sometimes goes to far for a picture or a story. I definitely think that this Amendment will be altered to satisfy American citizens rather than the press. I also think that the term of the President will not be changed. Unfortunately, politics today is cutthroat, and everyone wants a chance to be on top. If one person ruled for fifty years at a time, no one else would get a chance to prove they can be just as good. Besides, changing this Amendment would be going against Washington’s legacy.
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