The United States Constitution
The United States Constitution has proven itself to be an enduring framework for representative government. It is both specific enough to outline the basic powers of our government and flexible (through the process of amendments) that it meets the challenges of contemporary life. It is not a static document of the late 18th century, but a living and breathing source of democracy. As it was being drafted in that hot summer of 1787, several of the legendary framers called it a miracle. The authors of The United States Constitution sought not merely to safeguard the liberties for which Americans had fought and died, but to incorporate their intellectual inheritance, personal convictions, and regional agendas into law, based on theoretical foundations tried and true to civilizations before America. Yet, the underlying principles of The United States Constitution are those of the Revolution--due process of law; a separate and independent judiciary; representational government; freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and the press; individual state's rights; etc.--revised in the light of the dismal failure of the Articles of Confederation. Furthermore, by establishing a system of checks and balances, The United States Constitution ensured that no wing of the government could consolidate all the powers of governance in itself.
There are general principles that govern individual societies where specific standards are decided through courts of law when there is an occasional discrepancy. These were originally set up by the founding fathers of our nation. When the founding fathers of the United States Constitution came together to pen basic guidelines that would provide fundamental legal protection and individual rights for their newly formed country, they had the responsibility of outlining America’s moral code. While some of this code was borrowed from the Greeks, Romans and English, much thought and introspection of conscience went into the making of such a United States Constitution. America’s new leaders were forced to use a system of checks and balances governed by their own consciences. Because democracy was so new to government, the founding fathers relied on their inner sense of right and wrong, evil and good to determine the moral standards for the United States.
A written Constitution serves several purposes, all of which protect the citizens of the nation which are ruled by this particular document. If a Constitution was not written, various political groups might argue and disagree as to the basic guidelines of government rule. A written Constitution offers consistency in that its meaning continues through time despite changes in whether a country leans toward liberal or conservative ideology. In other words as a written document, it becomes a resource of what is tradition and accepted; it becomes a guarantee of sorts that individuals will honor. But in order for a written Constitution to be effective and enduring, it must be written in such a manner so that it is not too specific. In other words, the statements or rules or guidelines must be written so that it fits future situations. These rules must also be somewhat universal in nature. This is important in order to ensure that the document does not become outdated. Thus, even when a Constitution is written, it is still subject to interpretation. So, even though The United States Constitution declares that Americans have freedom of speech, there are interpretations. For example, there are rules to prevent people from slandering one another and rules limiting obscenity or pornography.