Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
The Constitution protects the rich and privileged in America. The general American outlook on the constitution is that it serves as a guideline for serving justice in the country. It was meant to ensure tranquility and peace for U.S. residents. Sadly, both the way it was written and the time period make it unable to fulfill its promises…for a certain group that is.
It supports those who are better off in life and “deserve” to have their rights protected more. It is biased in a way that naturalizes inequality making it harder to detect. This goes against the entire theory of the American dream and manifest destiny. What must still be taken into account though is the intentions of the writers/signers of the constitution. The work put into the document was as good as they could get it, but not perfect, which is to be expected.
With only 39 men had signed it, of course, a wide range of social statuses will not be accounted for. There was simply no diversity to gain more viewpoints on. Their best bet was getting a general outlook on popular beliefs/opinions and taking it from there. Their efforts were adequate for that time but it still would not be enough to account for the major bias problems toward the wealthy.
One of the biggest giveaways that bias is present in the constitution is when you look at the seven articles that compose it. The title of each of these articles revolves around government aiding “resources”. None are based on human rights. Under each article is branches that surely cover some of this topic but the fact that there is no official segment dedicated is a sign that the people with power are being much more favored over others.
Along with bias to the rich, women’s rights are another matter abused by the constitution. The right to vote was not passed until 1919, and just the basic equal rights amendment wasn’t until 1972. The thought that it took around 200 years just for there to be a statement to “prove” that women and men are equal is simply horrific. Imagine how it would be for low-class women, to further this to the worst case, low-class women (and men) of color. No matter where you look, a fault can be found in this document, and correcting these faults has proven to be a difficult process.
The primary author of the constitution was James Madison. Madison’s political beliefs fit under the party known at the time as Republicans. He established this political party with the help of Thomas Jefferson, another prominent figure in the writing of the constitution. They both held to the “agrarian” vision. This means that they believed that the economy should be centered around agricultural work rather than industrial (Hamilton’s vision).
All of the men who signed the constitution came from around the same social status. Although they were not rich, they were very well off money-wise compared to the general public. This is a big hint as to why the document is so biased. The root of this bias can be found in the people who wrote it. Madison being the main writer was also likely one of the wealthiest of the group. The entire way this plan was thought through points at an unfair result. With no influence of the poor, how would equality thrive?
The goal was to establish basic human rights, and the constitution was going to be responsible for this action. But what went wrong? What made the result stray from the perfect vision? The answer lies in the fact that there is no “correct” way to get a sense of what represents equality or not. The idea of having a rule book that everyone is content with is nice but sadly unachievable. Striving for the best is as close as you can be and yet, the document still fell short.
To improve the constitution from the start, the writers needed to look outside of their lives. Including other citizens and making them feel as though they were a part of the process would have changed a lot. That exact action would have helped in meeting their ideal goal of manifest destiny being the heart of the country. To be fair, even if this had happened, without a doubt more things would need to be tweaked. But at least there would have been that chance for equality to show through even just a bit more.
A factor that drastically affects the ability to amend the constitution is the fact that the process is very difficult and time-consuming. To even get the amendment to be proposed, ⅔ vote of approval must be met from both houses of congress. Then it must be ratified by at least ¾ of all states. While many other countries will have new amendments passed every few years, the U.S. has done nothing since 1992. Thomas Jefferson himself wrote a suggestion to James Madison asking that the amendments “expire” every 19 years to make change easier. If this idea had gone through, our current problems with inequality would be less significant.
Supporters of the constitution and how it was written could use the excuse that the constitution is not directly causing the problems because they were issues before the document arose. This is definitely a good argument and that has some truth to it but there is another way of looking at it. The point is that since inequality between rich and poor was already a problem, the rise of the constitution should have done more to ensure some progress would be made to resolve it.
Much of the content in the constitution revolves around the political organization. This is not to say by any means that this topic is unimportant, but rather to highlight how human rights play a much smaller role. These political/government-related ideals are necessary and do earn their place as the top priority, but the lack of “interest” shown towards promoting a society where everyone is equal is lacking.
Overall, the constitution is something that has great influence over North America, both good and bad. For its time, it was the best solution but as the world has modernized, rules must follow suit. We cannot continue to feed into the biased ways and change is necessary. There is no way to ever achieve a flawless society where everyone is happy, but starting to make adjustments to keep that goal in mind is the first big step in holding the good intentions left by the founding fathers.