The Constitution of the United States
The United States Constitution has been in place for two-hundred forty years. So how has it lasted as long as it has? Now, obviously, our government has a lot of room for improvement, and there are lots of issues that we face, but when you look at the revolutions in nations since our own, it is clear that the people of America have led a relatively quiet existence with a relatively benign government(www.usconstitution.net).
The Constitution was written during the Philadelphia Convention, now known as the Constitutional Convention, which occurred from May 25 to September 17, 1787. It was then signed on September 17, 1787. The deputies that were sent to the Constitutional Convention were appointed by the legislatures of the different states. There was no limit to how many deputies could be sent from each state. Rhode Island was the only state to decide not to show. They thought that the national government had no right to interfere with states’ rights.
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We all know that the United States Constitution is very important, but what does it do? It creates a government that puts the power in the hands of the people, it also separates the powers of government into three branches, sets up a system of checks and balances that ensures no one branch has too much power, divides power between the states and the federal government, describes the purposes and duties of the government, defines the scope and limit of government power, prescribes the system for electing representatives, establishes the process for the document’s ratification and amendment, and outlines many rights and freedoms of the people(constitutioncenter.org). If you think about it, the originally written Constitution didn’t last very long. It only lasted for roughly four years. But instead of completely scrapping the entire thing when something went wrong, all they had to do was add an amendment. In fact, at the National Constitution Center, on glass panels above the Center’s main exhibit, there are empty panels for any future amendments. If in the future, the United States government decided to create a new amendment, it would have to go through ratification. To ratify an amendment, two-thirds of the House and Senate approve of the proposal and send it to the states for a vote. Then, three-fourths of the states are needed to approve of it. To date, 27 Amendments have been approved, six have been disapproved and thousands have been discussed(www.lexisnexis.com).
The United States didn’t start with the Constitution either, there were other documents before it. The Articles of Confederation was the main one that led to the creation of the Constitution. It was ratified in 1781 and gave the Congress of Confederation, the legislative branch at the time, the power to wage war, conduct foreign affairs and regulate the economy.