The US Constitution was drafted in the late 18th century to provide a stable governance structure for the 13 states that made up the US. These states were distinct in that they were largely rural and agricultural. Moreover, the same text that these governments consider "the ultimate law of the land" still performs the same role today. The 200-year-old US Constitution, the world's oldest Constitution, challenges rising urbanization and technological advancements. At the same time, its success in leading the nation and providing individual freedom, economic stability, progress, and social development has lasted for decades.
This flexibility to change political and social perspectives wants, and demands of Americans makes the US Constitution a "living" document. Its tenacity in a world of constant change has inspired many governments and constitutions across the globe. The Constitution's self-correcting and self-regulating character enabled through amendments, constitutional supremacy, bill of rights, separation of powers, and simplicity of design are important assets.
The Constitution's versatility makes it a timeless document
It was intended to adapt to changing American demands. However, the founding fathers knew that revising the Constitution should be difficult to avoid ill-conceived revisions being approved and ratified. They also ensured that altering the Constitution benefited the people rather than a chosen few by requiring a twofold approval and ratification procedure. Furthermore, courts can review and rescind unlawful actions taken by other arms of government under the Marbury v. Madison decision.
Strength of The United States Constitution:
The United States Constitution that came into force in 1787 superseded the Articles of Confederation. The country has previously had a confederalist system of governance with powerful states but a weak central administration. The new constitution produced a new type of governance that provided a solid central authority while allowing the sovereignty of various forms. The constitution has persisted for 232 years, illustrating its strength and endurance.
- In defining functions for the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, the constitution's founders guaranteed that no arm had more power than the others.
- The explicit structure of separation of powers specified what each component had control over and how disagreements in authority were to be resolved.
- The constitution created a self-regulating government with a system of checks and balances that may rectify any excesses of anyone in government.
- Another significant advantage was the establishment of the Bill of Rights as the first set of constitutional changes.
- It aspired to defend individual liberties and guarantee that power resided in the people themselves. After all, Abraham Lincoln's enduring description of democracy was a 'government of the people, by the people, and for the people.' Such rights as freedom of speech, religion, press, right to assembly, etc., confirmed the purpose of a constitution that opens with the words 'we the people, indicating that the state and government are nothing without the individual citizens.
- The convention had an extensive debate, and the ultimate text was such that it aimed to address the majority's concerns to a large extent.
- Amendment principles were codified so that majority rulings always prevailed due to this action.
- This was to avoid a situation where a tiny group of individuals may choose to suit their selfish goals.
- There have been 27 revisions to the constitution, demonstrating it to be a flexible framework that might be altered to coincide with the prevailing political and social views. That has enabled the eradication of slavery, for instance.
Weakness of the US Constitution:
It should be remembered that the United States Constitution was not created precisely. In reality, the document's creators must have recognized its flaws because they incorporated provisions for future amendments. In other words, although it has its advantages, it also has serious problems, and many of these flaws are still the subject of heated political discussion today.
- One problem is that some of the constitution's most vital features are also most vulnerable. The amending procedure is one such illustration.
- A two-thirds majority in both legislative chambers was required to modify the constitution. Subsequently, the propositions are transmitted up to all state legislative houses, and the amendment only stands if accepted by three-fourths of all the state houses (38 states of 50). (38 states of 50).
- This is frequently a lengthy and challenging procedure. While the amending of a constitution shouldn't be easy to minimize misuse, the process may be streamlined for greater efficiency.
- Also, many individuals have criticized the constitution as being too complex to understand. Even with the 27 Amendments, the US Constitution is the world's smallest written constitution, clocking in at just 7591 words.
- The original text was a modest 4,400 words, and that left numerous ambiguities that legal experts and courts remain struggling to interpret to this day.
- In reality, many terminologies and concepts that have now come to be linked with the constitution and American principles are not contained in the statutes. Examples include (surprise) 'democracy', 'separation of Church and State', the number of justices selected to the Supreme Court, etc.
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