America's Oldest Blueprint: The U.S. Constitution

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In regards to the interpretation of the United States Constitution, President Woodrow Wilson once said, “The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straightjacket. In its elasticity lies chief greatness”. After the document’s ratification in 1788, controversies arose as to how the document should be interpreted in regards to its malleability. President Wilson, along with many others, believed that the Constitution was simply a blueprint that could be molded by the American government to solve present day issues. On the other hand, others, such as Thomas Jefferson, believed that the document should be followed word for word, and that the government could only do what was blatantly stated in the Constitution1. The United States Constitution is an overall elastic document that can be loosely interpreted and revised in order to meet the requirements of a changing nation. The Constitution was created with the power to propose amendments in order to establish a government that would be able to endure over time and meet the needs of the general welfare2. Article Five of the Constitution reads, “The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments”. This article states that amendments may be proposed by two-thirds of the legislature and then ratified with three-fourths consent in order to change the constitution, allowing the national government to be able to deal with modern issues. For example, the Thirteenth Amendment helped to subdue the 1860’s slavery feud after the Civil War between the North and South by abolishing slavery3. Without the ability to amend the constitution and abolish slavery, the national government would not have had the power to end the disagreement between the states, resulting in a chasm between the North and South. Through the Amendment process,...
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