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History : Amendments - Research Paper Example

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“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”. Those words, which form part of the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America and are quoted in almost every United States History textbook, begin the document that forms the basis of our nation…
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Download file to see previous pages At the time, James Madison, who did most of the drafting work, and those who ratified the Constitution, were more concerned with putting a working federal government into place and providing it with the power to strengthen the nation as a whole (Davidson & Stoff, 1998). Therefore, they proposed within the Constitution five basic principles: popular sovereignty, limited government, and federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances (Davidson & Stoff, 1998). Comprising only seven articles, much was left out of the Constitution, however, and thus began the search to include what the people of the United States felt that they were due. George Washington, at the end of the Constitutional Convention, conveyed the statement that he did not expect the Constitution “to last for more than 20 years” (Mintz, 2007). However, it has managed to survive for far longer than that, partly due to the fact that it was so broad and open to interpretation, but also because the Founding Fathers left provisions in it for flexibility and the changing times that they knew where bound to occur. The authority to amend the Constitution is derived from Article V of the Constitution itself (National Archives). ...
It is worthwhile to note that only the first method has been used thus far in American history; the second, while a viable option, has no provisions in the Constitution, and is therefore more does not cover many details, such as who should set the agenda for such a meeting, how the delegates should be chosen and other questions, making this more of a gray area that would undoubtedly cause delays to whatever amendment that was trying to be proposed, and could hold up ratification indefinitely (Davidson & Stoff, 1998). Once the amendment has been proposed, it must be ratified, either by three fourths of the state legislatures, or by three-fourths of the states meeting in special conventions (National Archives). Up to this point in history, only the 27th amendment has been ratified by state conventions, but it is important to point out that the choice of ratification method is actually up to Congress; like the never used method of proposing amendments, there is also a seldom-used method of ratifying them as well (Davidson & Stoff, 1998). Amendments became necessary to the Constitution almost immediately after its ratification. As stated previously, much was left out of the Constitution, and it was a hotly contested item among those that ratified the original document whether or not a Bill of Rights was needed at all. As stated before, the tasks that had been set out for the Founding Fathers in proposing and ratifying a Constitution had not always taken such things into account. However, there was a demand from the states for greater individual liberties, as well as a demand for specific limits on government powers beyond what was ratified in the Constitution (The Bill of Rights ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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