The American Constitution was written in the summer of 1787 after the commencement of the Philadelphia Convention. The delegates from each colony met to replace the Articles of the Confederation and draft into law the issues that preempted the Revolutionary War. Although merely written words of a document, The Constitution of the United States stands for the basis of America’s democratic existence. Within its pages, one can find elements of every aspect of American society as it touches on everything from religion, politics, economy, technology and American society in general.
The Constitution begins with the outlining of the distinct political components of a democratic system and the functions they are required to perform. The writers of the Constitution separated the various branches of government, which instituted a type of checks and balances within the political system. With this form of separation the Legislative, Executive, or Judicial branches of government could not control more power than either of the other branches. It also limited the power given to the President of the United States and Congress would fall under the rulings of the Supreme Court.
The social climate at the time of the Constitutional Convention was one of unrest and instability. The state legislature among the individual thirteen states was at best precarious. There was widespread agitation among the lower classes due to their demands for equality. At one point seven states out of the thirteen colonies came under control of these rebellious factions.
The ratification of the Constitution brought and end to such discord and a unified government for all thirteen states came into participation. Now the majority of public opinion could be free to rule through organized elections.
The Constitution can be seen as one of the greatest accomplishments of the time and the Constitutional Convention. The biggest obstacle the Constitution hurdled was the placement of sovereignty. Up until this point, as was the problem with the Articles of Federation, a unanimous decision to amend an article was nearly impossible by the thirteen states. The compromise of the Constitutional Convention proposed the ratification of the new Constitution if nine of the thirteen states agreed or what has become known as the two-thirds margin.
The Constitution would come to govern all aspects of American life and the Framers of the Constitution put various safeguards in the Constitution to provide for various complications in the democratic system that may arise in the future. In an economic sense this would be tested during the reconstruction that took place after the Civil War. Prior to this the Supreme Court, under the power of Chief Justice Marshall made a landmark decision on interpretation of the Constitution with the following precedent, no state could tax any federal government activity. This caused many states, especially in the South, to mistrust the government’s ability to handle the economic issues in the best interest of the nation’s people.
After the Civil War, the Supreme Court became very conservative and poor regulation of economy caused a boom in prosperity and power. Unfortunately, an unchecked sense of economic power began to emerge and many labor disputes came before the Supreme Court.
Not only was the economy to be regulated by the Constitution, but certain aspects of religion in America came under regulation. In the 1940s and 1950s the Supreme Court had research the Constitutions stance on freedom of speech and its relation to prayer in the public schools. Unable to rely on morals and emotions, the writers of the Constitution had to foresee problems that could arise in the area of religious views in such a diversified nation.
The Constitution was written to even govern technological advancement. Present day technology is often riddled with questions as to what is allowed under the United States Constitution. A big example that has come under public debate as of late is the issue of cloning. While viewed as a scientific advancement, many people are questioning the legalities of such a technological break through. Once again the Supreme Court will have to search the Constitution for its ruling on such a matter separate of personal views or moral questioning.
It can easily be seen how the words of one document can affect an entire nation. The foresight of the writers of the United States Constitution is nothing short of astounding. The need for change in a struggling young nation spurred the intellect of some great men in American history to draft the solid foundation of our democratic system.
The process to ratify a document of such encompassing proportion was not an easy task. The nation’s fight for independence also took time and ratifying the foundation of America’s freedom would require the same. These men were not looking for a quick fix but a document that would stand the test of time and remain the continuity between such a diverse nation.
The Untied States Constitution has become the sole mechanism of America’s political institution. It is from this foundation that all elements of society coexist in an orderly fashion. The Constitution was drafted in the year 1787 and has remained strong to this day. It is a tribute to America’s founding fathers that it will last until the end of democracy, as we know it.