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The Declaration Of Independence And Constitutional Law

1909 words - 8 pages

In order for one to understand American Constitutional law, one must first look to the Constitution; and therefore, look to the federal government established in the Constitution. The federal government is purposefully divided into three branches: the legislative branch that makes the laws, the judicial branch that interprets the laws, and the executive branch that puts the laws into effect. Article VI, Clause 2, sets up the Constitution as “the supreme Law of the Land;” and therefore, legislators, judges, and presidents must comply with the standards set in the Constitution. Judges, then, have the function to interpret what the Constitution means and have the responsibility to ensure laws adhere to the Constitution. Thereby, the Constitution coupled with the Supreme Court justices’ interpretation makes Constitutional Law. However, one must look further than the established government and the Constitution to understand American Constitutional Law. Not only must one have and understanding of the Constitution itself, but also have an understanding of the Declaration of Independence; which if the base for the Constitution and government. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the importance of how correctly understanding the principles of the Declaration of Independence are essential to understanding the American Constitution.
Trying to understand the Declaration of Independence can quickly become one of the most difficult tasks that a person can set for him. Nevertheless, it is necessary to understand the principles inherent in it; for in them lay the grounds for which the American Constitution. The Declaration, singularly, has a significant impact depending on its interpretation. To say the least, a numerous of American leaders have founded their ideas on the Declaration. As Berry Bell says the Declaration has been the platform for “political programs from James Monroe to Andrew Jackson to Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt to Martin Luther King. Evidently Lincoln, more so than others, upheld the view of the Declaration to its original purpose of securing people’s rights on the basis of the governed. Lincoln stated that it if were not for the Declaration the states would not have been able to declare its freedom from Great Britain, but also, would not have been able to “secure our free government, and consequent prosperity.” Lincoln proceeded to move closer to the Declaration’s principles because he felt that to do other wise would strip the Constitution from its moral base. Also referring to the principles of the Declaration, Lincoln drew for a verse in the Book of Proverbs – “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver,” – and said that “the assertion of that principle[s], at that time, was the word, ‘fitly spoken’ which has proved an ‘apple of gold’ to us. The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it. The picture was made, not to conceal, or...

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