A constitution written in the 18th century does not work in the 21st century. Discuss with reference to the USA.

A constitution is either a written (codified) or unwritten (uncodified) body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state is acknowledged to be governed. Generally, a constitution is only written after a major event. In the case of America their constitution was written in 1787, after the American Revolutionary War came to a close.

There are a number of issues with America’s constitution which make it, arguably, unfit for the 21st century. The most apparent issue with the constitution is the overall ambiguity that it’s based upon. Take for example the eighth amendment which forbids the federal government from imposing cruel or unusual punishments on American citizens. However, what’s classed as a cruel or unusual punishment? Many have argued that capital punishment can be seen as a cruel punishment, which has led to some states, such as Illinois, abolishing the death penalty altogether. Though, despite eighteen states abolishing the death penalty so far, there has been no move to amend the constitution to include the death penalty as an example of ‘cruel punishment’.

Another example of an ambiguous amendment is the first amendment which protects the right to free speech as well as freedom of religion. However, how far this amendment applies has been questioned on numerous occasions. For example, Texas passed a law which prevented flag desecration (burning of the American flag), however the Supreme Court overturned the Texas law due to it violating citizen’s first amendment right as flag desecration is seen as an expression of belief, which the first amendment protects. This has led to numerous calls for flag desecration being outlawed via a constitutional amendment, however just like the eight amendment this would be incredibly hard to achieve. This is purely due to how difficult it is to amend the American constitution.

The American constitution’s amendment process is long and difficult, which is mainly due to it...
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