What the Constitution really means

During the course of Unit two we have really gotten to focus a lot on the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. These are the foundations of our government and they shape who we are and what we know very strongly. A term for the Amendments and the Declaration of Independence would be “Framing the Constitution.” It is really important that we focus on these two items before going any farther so that way we know exactly what the government is going off of.

The first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights. These amendments were set so that the National Government would be restricted. To me the most important amendments for the United States would be the first fourteen. A few of these are Freedom of Speech, Civil Trials, Election of President and Vice President, and Rights of Citizens. I think that the most efficient amendments would have to be the first amendment, Freedom of Religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition, and then the fourteenth amendment, Rights of Citizens. In the first amendment it states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance.” It is important that the Government respects everyone’s religion and speech. But even though every citizen has their own opinion about everything doesn’t mean they can just go out and do whatever. Each citizen is still responsible for their actions. A case was put up not too long ago about a woman named Kim Davis. She works the government and gives marriage licenses out. Mrs. Davis is against gay marriage but one day a gay couple came to get their marriage license from her. They didn’t know that she was against gay marriages so the couple had no idea what was about to happen. Kim Davis did not give the couple a license because of her beliefs. But even though this is against her belief it is her job to give these out. It is part of the government not just herself. If Kim Davis wants to work for the government she needs to abide by the laws and do what she is told. Yes she has her own beliefs and opinions but once she steps foot into her office it is her job to follow the rules and do whats right. Kim Davis should have known that this was coming. If she didn’t want to give out gay marriage license then she should find another job more suitable for her.imgres

The fourteenth amendment states that, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” This amendment ensured the Civil Rights Act in 1866. It says that no matter what gender, race, or religion you are, if you are born in the United States then you are a true citizen. It also means that you are equal with everyone and you are granted equal protection.

imgres-1The main thing that granted equal protection was the Declaration of Independence. In class we had to memorize and analyze a part of the Declaration of Independence so we would know exactly what it is saying. We memorized “We hold these truths to be self Evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from from the consent of the governed.” This was written so that everyone could be equal and all colonies could be independent.

What we learned in Government class for this unit was very important for the foundations of the amendments. The Declaration of Independence led us to start our own country which led to the Constitution. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

-Sarah S.

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About SaintsGOV16
We are students in Dr. Ostroff's sections of U.S. Government at All Saints' Episcopal School in Fort Worth, Texas. (www.aseschool.org).

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