From the time that the Constitution was created with the American founders until the industrialization era of the country with the progressives; the Constitution has been of great importance. This document provides for us basic personal liberties and the institutions in which these liberties are protected. Over a span of nearly 150 years the Constitution has played an important part in the changes made within America, but also in ensuring that even as change occurs through time personal liberties will always be protected.
The American founders felt that liberty was an individual possession. As Thomas Jefferson said in July, 1774, “The god who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them (Jefferson).” In saying this Jefferson showed that life and liberty go hand in hand and cannot be separated. Without one the other would become obsolete. Jefferson felt that by being given life, god gave us liberty as well. Shortly after Jefferson said this, America began to separate from Great Britain in 1776. A few short years later the American Revolutionary War which lasted until 1781 when the British surrendered at Yorktown. With the surrender of the British, America was able to become its own independent country. Also in 1781, the first constitution was created, the Articles of Confederation, and did not protect basic personal liberties.
It was not until the creation of the United States Constitution in 1787 and the first ten amendments in 1791 that basic personal liberties were granted. This also established the federal court system which was intended to help protect these liberties. Just prior to 1789 many state courts had already overturned legislative acts that infringed upon individual state constitutions. Founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison felt that this was where the Supreme Court would assume its role in the Constitution. Hamilton and Madison had expressed the need for judicial review in federalist paper no. 78. In this paper, Hamilton made two important arguments for the need of judiciary review among the court systems. The first argument he made was that the judicial branch needed to have some independence among the other two branches of government. The second argument that Hamilton made was that the judicial branch needed to have power to be able to strike down laws that are passed by congress that it deems to be “contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution” (Hamilton). Hamilton was able to express that by giving the judicial branch independence from the executive and legislative branches through judicial review that the Court was expressing the will of the people as a whole instead of only a part.
While Madison felt that constitutional interpretation must be left to the reasoned judgment of independent judges, rather than left to the political process (Hughes). It was not until 1803 that the Court saw changes in judicial review with the case of Marbury vs....