The United States Constitution impacted the development of American freedom in a number of different ways. It established the basic format for that freedom which has only been altered in the ensuing centuries by amendments and landmark Supreme Court rulings. In doing so, the Constitution provided the scope of the limited focus of American freedom which was far from freedom for all regardless of gender, race, and economic status. In fact, one can successfully argue that prior to its numerous amendments and to the Supreme Court cases that affected various interpretations of the Constitution, this document impacted American freedom by establishing the boundaries of the federal government and by establishing the superiority of economically viable Caucasian males.
The aforementioned thesis is probably best supported by a brief examination of the document that preceded the Constitution, the Articles of Confederation. This document had a number of weak points that were directly addressed by the drafting of the Constitution. Specifically, the latter document was created to establish a strong central, federal government which could help to preserve the freedom of the country and of the privileged Caucasian males who were considered its citizens worth preserving. The Articles of Confederation required a unanimous consensus of the states to do virtually anything . In the event that the country was attacked by a foreign nation, for instance, each state had to agree on the terms of raising a militia and how best to defend the freedom of its citizens. From an economic perspective, each state had its own currency which made...
The drafting of the Constitution helped to address virtually all of these issues that pertained to states' rights which were so important to the Articles of Confederation. In doing so, it helped to preserve the freedom of Americans by providing a strong stabilizing force to oppose any potential attackers in the rest of the world, both physically and economically.
The American freedom developed by the Constitution was somewhat dubious in that this document helped establish the fact that some people were more free than others. For instance, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights made it clear that whatever lofty ideals were engraved within them regarding liberty and justice did not pertain to Africans and African-Americans who were enslaved. In fact, the Constitution was specifically worded so as to permit the slave trade to continue 2.The former document specifically states that slaves factored into the new nation as 3/5 of a human being -- meaning that they were obviously barred from the rights of freedom, fair trial, and other privileges bestowed upon those who were considered men. Still, this fact actually substantially affected some Caucasian males who were property owners, and who would utilize this point to oppose the Constitution. These men were opposed…
Jefferson, Thomas. 1780. "Thomas Jefferson on Native Americans." www.norton.com http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/foner2/contents/ch07/documents04.asp.
Martin, Luther. 1788. "Luther Martin on Slavery and the United States Constitution." www.norton.com. http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/foner2/contents/ch07/documents09.asp
Swindler, William. 1981. "Our First Constitution: Articles of Confederation." American Bar Association Journal 67(2). 166.
1. Luther Martin, "Luther Martin on Slavery and the United States Constitution." www.norton.com, http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/foner2/contents/ch07/documents09.asp
2. Thomas Jefferson, "Thomas Jefferson on Native Americans," www.norton.com, http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/foner2/contents/ch07/documents04.asp
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