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Us Constitution Then And Now Essay

1094 words - 4 pages

The United States government was founded on a written set of principles known as the Constitution. There have only been 17 amendments, or changes, since ratification. While the United States has evolved with time the role and function of the government, and the way the government guarantees civil rights and liberties, has also evolved. These changes have resulted from changing or broadening of the interpretation of the constitution. Although the core of the constitution has not changed, it has expanded and its interpretation has changed to keep up with societal demands.
Whereas the six functions of government, as articulated in the Preamble remain the same, the functions have extended to govern issues not a factor during the 18th century. However, the primary function of the government to maintain order has remained unchanged. Demonstrated through various avenues, these functions are open to interpretation. Throughout time, the government continuously adapted itself to provide various services and regulations to the public that it views as beneficial for the public good. Such services have grown to include food standards, consumer protection, health, and education among others. Examples of governmental function expansion since ratification of the constitution can be seen in the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, FEMA, and much more. Through FEMA, the federal government provides disaster relief funding to help communities struck by floods and tornadoes and other natural disasters. The Department of Agriculture put out the food pyramid, which helped people develop a healthy diet. The Department of Energy provides funding for research on wind energy. Clearly, food pyramids and wind energies were not governmental functions at the time of our founding fathers. Another example of government’s functional expansion is evidenced in the regulation of the economy. Since the Constitution was written the government has had a hand in the economy, however the proverbial hand has grown bigger and stronger. For instance, the Federal Trade Commission, FTC, came to be around 1913 and its rulings have had varying levels of impact to the economy. FTC rulings include: do not call legislation, funeral industry regulation, and antitrust rulings in the petroleum industry.
While the structure of the federal government was and still is the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch, those branches have each taken on many more responsibilities as needed to keep up with the progression of America. Put in place by the founding fathers, Federalism was intended to balance the power of the national and state governments so that the national government could not acquire too much power. The executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch still exist today as when first created, on a much larger scale. Extensive modification in the executive branch since the late eighteenth century has been...

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