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The Founding Ideals of the Country: Civil Rights and Liberties

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In his speech at the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin said, “Sir, I can not help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.” Franklin believed the constitution to be the great framework of our nation, protecting the liberties of his people, though they were men of error. Despite some struggles with equality, the Founding Fathers strived for and successfully formed a country based on the ideal of liberty.

America was a nation with flaws in equality. Throughout history, the public was divided into groups. Whether based on wealth, social caste, race, and even gender; they were unequal. When the colonists sought to root this ideal of equality on American soil, they prided themselves in shunning European social systems; without regard to the ranks below “freemen.” These people were those laboring in colonies through slavery. In addition, women were also struggling with equality, post-revolutionary period. Viewed as inferior to men in terms of society, they remained minor to men. However, these people were not living under a government protecting their rights. They were living in a time in which natural justice itself was flawed.

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Additionally, the Founding Fathers promised to create a lasting republic based on liberty. Not directed to a particular race, privilege of society, or member of religion; the Constitution gave us a core set of principles directed to all, equally. The Bill of Rights specifically protected these basic rights and freedoms of its citizens. Guaranteeing fundamental rights including freedom of speech and religion, the right to bear arms, and protection against violation by the federal government; these are just a few of the civil liberties enforced through the Constitution. In addition, the Declaration of Independence expanded the civil liberties of Americans. Presenting colonists grievances against Great Britain, Thomas Jefferson’s initial words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator…” spoke to the people, providing them with words unchanging over passing time.

Finally, the Founders were far-seeing and framed an enduring set of principles to uphold a lasting republic. They wanted to build a republic best suited for human nature, allowing American’s privilege of governing themselves. Today we are a country where power is given to the government by its citizens. Through this, parties are able to form and operate freely while media and debate remain independent. In our country’s first presidential inaugural address, George Washington said, “the destiny of the republican model of government is deeply…stalked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” Washington wanted Americans to follow principles of integrity, dedicating understanding to the solidarity of our country. Through this, the ability to self govern is still present today.

From the first Frameworks of our country to the virtuous characters of people today, American’s strived for a country with an abiding foundation. Whether this came from struggles within the ideal of equality, or through the unchanging values present in both the Constitution and Declaration, our Founders successfully formed a nation around the ideal of liberty.

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