The constitution is considered the law of the land and everyone across the nation must follow those laws. While the constitution is considered the national law, each state creates their own set of laws that follow the constitution. The original intent of the constitution was to create a government that puts the power in the hands of the people and establishes a system where power is divided. A living document is a document that is designed to draft the roles and responsibility of the laws for a limited amount of time frame. The document can be reconstructed to benefits the time which it pertains to. The framers created these laws, the constitution, to help with their everyday needs and lifestyle, but what works for one generation does not always work for the next. As new problems arise in the United States, the American constitution should be interpreted as a living document. “A constitution, intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs.” (John Marshall).
Originally the constitution was written as ten amendments, called the bill of rights, but as time progress more amendments were later added. During the 18th century, guns were used for hunting and means of protection, to maintain these rights the 2nd amendment was established. According to the 2nd amendment, “A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Anyone apart of the army or armed forces could keep their weapons, but the amendment also states that bearing arms is the right of people. Citizens do have the right to bear arms, but they do not have an absolute right to purchase weapons legally.
The 2nd amendment does not limit the number of firearms a person may possess, or restrict what types of firearms are considered legal for citizen ownership. While the 2nd amendment cannot be taken away from the people it can be modified to place restrictions on firearm purchases. Anyone eighteen years of age or older can legally purchase an AR-15 gun and consider the gun as means of protection. A person younger than the age of eighteen can illegally purchase a firearm in the United States.
According to the constitution, the national government (Congress) and the federal government (states) have their own powers according to their jurisdiction. Congress had to create separate restriction for the purchase of guns and different states require different background checks to help prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. According to Section I of amendment 13, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subjected to their jurisdiction”. Before and during the time of the framers, slaves were used as free labor to work the vast lands of the southern states. The 13th amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865, almost fifty years after the slave trade was abolished, but the selling and purchasing of slaves in the United States continued. Slave labor provided profitable products, such as cotton, that could be traded with other countries or within the country. Indentured servants were considered as another form of servitude or slavery. Indentured servants worked four to seven years until their debts for passage to the New World were paid. Years could be added as punishment for breaking any rules set by the employer. Slaves and indentured servants were forced to under conditions and were treated horribly by their employers. Indentured servants, unlike slaves, were protected by laws that kept them from becoming slaves. Female slaves were forced to have children with other slaves or their master to produce children. The children would then be used as slave labor or sold to another plantation owner. Servants were given living quarters along with freedom while employed, while slaves were still considered slaves even in death. An example of servitude today could be child labor and forced adult labor. Children are forced to work long hours in potentially hazardous and unsanitary conditions to provide for their family. Workers would lose limbs or even their lives because of dangerous machinery or harmful chemicals. Sometimes wages provided to the worker are low because of their employer’s greed or racial mindset. To protect these rights Section II of amendment 13 gives congress the jurisdiction to enforce this law with the “appropriate legislation.” Congress created laws stating that children between the ages of fourteen and eighteen need a work permit and can only work four to six hours. Congress, along with the states, create their own minimal wage law, and it is illegal to pay someone less than minimal wage.
The framers, before declaring the United State an independent nation, were under the jurisdiction of the English crown. The king or queen created the laws, punishments for undermining the law, and their word is law. The framers wanted to create their form of government were everyone is reprinted and can participate. From this mindset the idea of share powers, term limits and who can participate in the government sprung forth. Only older white men were given the right to vote because it was socially unacceptable for anyone for anyone who wasn’t a white male to vote. Women were considered property, African Americans were slaves, and Native Americans were considered Americans. Years later after slaves were freed, the 15th amendment allowed for African American men to vote on the belief that “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” shall not interfere with a person’s right to vote.
The 19th amendment allowed for women’s suffrage and finally 26th amendment states American citizens right to vote, eighteen or older, shall not be denied. “The Congress shall have the Power to dispose of and make all needful Rule and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so constructed as to the Prejudice any Claims of the United State.”
The American people have the right to rid themselves of or modify the American constitution as along as the outcome benefits the people, majority and minority. The constitution was originally ten amendments, but seventeen more amendments were added over the course time. By adding or modifying the constitution, congress can promote the general welfare of the people and possibly prevent problematic incidents from accruing.
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