Constitution Of The United States: Our Living Constitution

933 words - 4 pages

The United States Constitution has been governing our way of life for over 200years. Throughout its time it has been viewed in many ways to make our lives easier. Ithas been the legal structure of our political system, establishing governmental bodies,determining how their members are selected, and prescribing the rules by which theymake their decisions.The Philadelphia Convention, which was later called the ConstitutionalConvention, began on May 25 1787. The 55 delegates that framed the Constitutionarrived at Philadelphia's Independence Hall, which was then known as the PennsylvaniaState House. This gathering brought together almost all of the nation's most famous men,including George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and BenjaminFranklin. At least one delegate from each state attended, except Rhode Island. During theconvention many issues discussed but the issues that brought more debate were,congressional representation, slavery, presidency, and federal courts. After many monthsand votes the details were finally settled and a committee was assigned in September toput the final results in and submit it to the people for ratification. They approved the texton the Constitution on September 15, and on September 17 all but three of the remainingdelegates signed.Before the Constitution could take effect it had to be ratified by at least ninestates. This nearly failed due to anti-Federalists, who opposed any sort of centralgovernment. Also many people thought that the Constitution did not safeguard theirJuarez2rights. Delaware became the first state to ratify, on December 7, 1787. Pennsylvania,New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, and South Carolinafollowed it. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify, thusmaking the Constitution legally effective. But without ratification by New York andVirginia, they doubted that the Constitution could succeed. Virginia finally ratified fourdays later, so did New York on July 26, North Carolina in 1789, and Rhode Island in1790. James Madison studied history and political philosophy, which probably made himthe best candidate elected to the first Congress. Once in Congress he pushed a series ofproposals that became the first ten amendments, also known as the Bill of Rights. Theseamendments basically guard freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom ofreligion. They also guarantee a fair, open, and speedy trial for people accused of crimes,prohibit cruel and unusual punishments, and provide many other protections against atyrannical government. These amendments were ratified by the states in 1791.For more than two centuries justices, scholars, and people on the street havedebated the proper method of interpreting the Constitution. They've seen it asconservative and liberal, interpretive and non-interpretive, and activist and non-activist.There are those who debate that the wording of the in many instances the wordsthemselves provide no guide whatsoever...

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