Law Essay Example: A History of American Law

2021-07-21 22:08:06
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846 words
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Harvey Mudd College
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Essay
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Every single country requires the use of a constitution as a way of unifying the form of ruling in the state. A constitution acts as a map for the government to follow during their reign. It also serves as a regulator that inhibits the government officials from using too much power to lead. The American constitution was first drafted in the year 1777 but came into effect in 1786. It was made up of 7 articles which divided the government into various sections. The National government was splitinto three forms namely judicially, executive and legislature. Apart from the national government, there are also state or town governments. One unique aspect is the allowance of the constitution for amendments that were made possible through the introduction of section seven. This essay explores the use of article seven to bring change to the law of American with the growing political, economic and social aspects of the country.

During the colonial era, the United States practiced slavery. The constitution included clauses where slavery was allowed by the government.1 However, under the rule of Abraham Lincoln, he was able to help introduce the 13th amendment to the constitution. Although it was under various criticism from members of the Congress that supported slavery, the president at that time gave orders to his representatives to ensure that the bill passed, and in 1865, the Congress voted for the bill.2 However, even with the national government passing this law, some of the states still practiced slavery and were yet to implement this policy. As the country continued growing politically, leaders at the time saw the need to allow even the former slaves the rights to equality. The 24th amendment allowed every person to vote no matter their economic state.3

The United States through various amendments has helped ensure that the freedom of citizens. The government had the power to deny their citizens their freedom to assembly, speech or even religion. Through the 1stamendment, the government designed policies to reverse this power. It ensured liberty in the social life of its citizens.4 At times the soldiers would violate the rule of privacy since they would invade residents homeswithout the agreement of the home members. However, this came to change with the introduction of the3rd amendment which prohibited these soldiers from doing so.5 In the colonial era, any criminal that was apprehended did not have any rights. However, with the 6th amendment, these offenders had the right that allowed them to receive a fair ruling.6

As mentioned, the first constitution gave too much power to the ruling government. The amendment of the constitutionwas a way of ensuring reduction ofpowers. The 4th amendment ensured that the government could not take the citizen's property.7 The 5th amendmentensured that the government compensated citizens when they took their land to prevent the lower growth of theeconomy and increase the number of poor people in the society.8The poor state of the country led to the introduction of the 10thamendment that gave the government the mandate to collect taxes.9 The 16thamendment was passed to allocate more power to the state to receive more taxes and therefore help the country grow.10

In conclusion, it is true to state that any country that is interested in taking significant steps towards economic, political and social changes requires havinga constitution that is flexible. The constitution of America is unique in that it allows the government and legislature to make changes to the country if need be. For instance, laws that supported racism, slavery and discrimination were eradicated through the introduction of new amendments to help stop this problem. The constitutional amendments have also improved the country socially through theintroduction of abill of rights for the citizens. Finally, the changes to the constitution also allowed the government to help the nation grow economically through theintroduction of taxation.

 

Reference

Friedman, L. M. (2005). A history of American law. Simon and Schuster.

Magness, P. W. (2016). A Club to Beat Down the Tariff: The Political Economy of Tax Swaps and the Interest Group Origins of the 16th Amendment. Browser Download This Paper.

Mason, A. T., & Stephenson, G. (2015). American constitutional law: introductory essays and selected cases. Routledge.

Richards, D. A. (2014). Conscience and the Constitution: History, theory, and thelaw of the Reconstruction amendments. Princeton University Press.

Vorenberg, M. (2001). Final Freedom: The Civil War, the abolition of slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment. Cambridge University Press.

Williams, N. V. (2006). SIXTH AMENDMENT: RIGHT TO COUNSEL. Contemporary Supreme Court Cases: Landmark Decisions since Roe V. Wade, 210.

 

Endnotes

1Friedman, L. M. (2005). A history of American law. Simon and Schuster.

2Mason, A. T., & Stephenson, G. (2015). American constitutional law: introductory essays and selected cases. Routledge

3Richards, D. A. (2014). Conscience and the Constitution: History, theory, and the law of the Reconstruction amendments. Princeton University Press.

4Friedman, L. M. (2005)

5Mason, A. T., & Stephenson, G. (2015).

6Williams, N. V. (2006). SIXTH AMENDMENT: RIGHT TO COUNSEL. Contemporary Supreme Court Cases: Landmark Decisions since Roe V. Wade, 210.

7Richards, D. A. (2014)

8Friedman, L. M. (2005).

9Richards, D. A. (2014)

10Williams, N. V. (2006). SIXTH AMENDMENT: RIGHT TO COUNSEL. Contemporary Supreme Court Cases: Landmark Decisions since Roe V. Wade, 210.

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