Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Make Your Own Constitution

We've spent two class sessions discussing the challenges involved in creating a governing document that satisfied everyone. If you could talk to the framers of the Constitution in 1787, what advice would you give them?

This post will be available for comments until Friday, October 17.



40 comments:

  1. I would try and stress the importance of how what we know is limited and the future in unknowable and things are bound to change so we must create the constitution with that in mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds like a call for a loose constructionist mentality, no?

      Delete
  2. I too would stress a system that can adapt to the unknown future, which indeed is, professor, a loose constructionist mentality. However, I'd say to set the rights that you know you want to be present. Don't know how easy that would be though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. If I had the opportunity to talk to the framers of the Constitution in 1787, I would tell them something similar to what Brandon said in his response. When the constitution was created, framers suggested that the Constitution does not need to be changed; however, I believe that with time, things change and certain areas of the Constitution become more essential than others. For example, the Constitution includes the theme of slavery; however, today that is no longer a major conflict as it was in the past. In our days, there are more relevant problems; therefore, the Constitution should be opened to some changes to provide a better government for individuals and to address current problems that are affecting our nation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If I had the chance to speak to framers, I think I would like to incorporate some womens rights. I believe the framers should have dealt with that right away, rather then have them protest for a little over a hundred years. I mean maybe our history would be slightly different if women had been apart of politics from the begining. I would probably mention (as mentioned above) about how the constitution should allow for change down the road because the future was unknown.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If I would be able to talk to the framers of the Constitution, I would suggest to verify and rethink 2nd Amendment of Constitution. It poses threat to the government from its citizens and caused a lot of problems recently in the U.S. with the right to bear arms policies and restrictions.
    Also words "separation of state and church" are not mentioned in Constitution, and many people misinterpret it, even calling it an invalid concept. I would bring up that issue as well.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Katherine Urena

    If I had the chance to share my ideas about the constitution to the framers in 1787, I would tell them about including women's rights to vote from the beginning of the ratification of the constitution. I think that if it is important for men to vote, and participate in elections, women also should be granted with this rights. Women were able to vote before 1776, but were prevented from having this rights and even after 1789 they could vote in New Jersey , but not all states provide this rights for women. As part of this nations and the fact that they helped in the American Revolution, as Nurses, soldiers maids and even secret soldiers in the war, were main reasons to give women the right to vote.This reasons were very important to include an amendment on the constitution since the Bill of Rights was presented.

    ReplyDelete
  7. If I had the opportunity to express my views towards the framers of the constitution in the year of 1787, (As similar with the previous comments) I would discuss about both genders having the same equal rights, such as women’s suffrage. Along with that, I would convey the importance of liberty, because during this time, many people were anti-liberty. I believe the framers should have had a better comprehension of realizing that people of any kind should obtain the freedom of speech, religion, and so forth. Lastly, we could join together to confront the complications of the weak central government which prevailed within the Articles of Confederation to make things much more convenient for all citizens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can you clarify what you mean by "anti-liberty?" Which groups or individuals described themselves this way?

      Delete
    2. In this case, anti-liberty refers to citizens opposing equal privileges. Many Americans stated that they were anti-liberty for many concerns, such as money. For instance, collecting debts was a huge concern during this particular time.

      Delete
    3. Can you provide any specific examples?

      Delete
  8. I would tell the framers that they need to consider not just those in the room with them , but all the people in America and make decisions based on the fact that not everyone was there to understand their reasoning and thought process behind the ideas they came up with. I would also say they need to realize that many people feared becoming overpowered by a government that's too strong, as that's what they just fought to escape. Therefore they need to be very clear about the powers of the government and what rights the people will always have.

    ReplyDelete
  9. If I could talk to the framers of the Constitution in 1787. I would tell them to incorporate an article on slavery. The only time slavery was talked about in the Constitution had to do with the 3/5 compromise. At the time there wasn't a high demand for slaves, until much later with the introduced of the cotton gin. Things could have gone differently, if there was article about slavery. Before it became an important factor to the south economy growth, and maybe stop the civil war.

    ReplyDelete
  10. In all honesty, I don't know what I would stress to the constructionist of the Constitution. I think when they created it, it was for the benefits of what they were going through then as a country. If I was there at the time without my present knowledge of the government today, I feel like as a woman, I'd be more concerned with my own rights. I would stress the importance of making all individuals feel like they deserve rights, to vote, to own property, to own themselves.
    I also think it would be important to make sure that the balance of power was being strictly put into effect.That also would show that the government is more about fairness and equality than having power and control.

    ReplyDelete
  11. One advice I would give to the framers is to give examples for some of their vague and open-ended statements such as the "no unusual or cruel punishments." It is almost impossible to define exactly what is considered a "cruel punishment" so the best option to give a example to at least give some idea of what that means. Personally, I feel that the death penalty is a cruel punishment so that can be one of the examples. The framers should also explain that these examples are not necessarily the only situations that should be considered but that they merely give a boundary or a better sense of their statements, so that similar situations can also be interpreted to be treated the same as the examples. So, if the death penalty is considered a cruel punishment, it can be interpreted that locking people in prison for the rest of their lives is also a cruel punishment.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Philip McElroy

    If I could speak to the framers in 1787, I would warn them about the essentially unchecked military power of the executive branch today. In its current form, the constitution grants congress the power to declare war, and gives the president control over the military. However the framers could not have envisioned a world with such advanced military technologies that a president can attack a country without ever actually invading it, or bombarding it with battleships. This has resulted in the executive branch becoming far more powerful in issues of foreign affairs then the framers could have ever considered possible.

    I would ask them to consider inserting a clause that states something along the lines of, "no military action, however limited, can be taken against a foreign state without (some form of) congressional approval"

    ReplyDelete
  13. If I could talk to the framers of the constitution I would tell them to never take anything on the basis of an assumption. They made an assumption that slavery would just go away with time and so they omitted making any direct mention of it in the constitution and before long slavery had a bit of a revival with the new and improved cotton.
    While I am far from being strict in my interpretation of the constitution the major issues should have been addressed and and put in writing. Although it would have been impossible to foresee the rise in slave labor again, it was a hot topic and should have been at least mentioned in the constitution.
    The framers made an assumption based on information they had at the current time but I would advise them against making assumptions especially when it comes to the rights and future of those who fall under the reach of the constitution.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Delela Serrieux
    I agree with Zachery, If I were to be part of changing or improving the Constitution I would have included the rights to women, having them have the right to be apart of political affairs instead for waiting down the line, see that they had a sure voice. I personally wish that everyone had an equal voice, men, women, no matter race or sexuality, wealth or knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
  15. If I could talk to the framers of the Constitution, I would tell them to be less practical and more of visionary people while they were creating the Constitution. For example, they believed slavery will eventually go away and no action will be required in the future. They did not envision the evolution of technology that required the rise of slavery in the near future. In addition, they failed to estimate the huge role of the women in the American society. Women weren't able to vote until the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. In other words, equality of sexes, color, race, etc., was not a concern to the framers but, if those were taken into consideration the American society would've been much stronger and prosperous.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I agree with my peers that it would be nice to include women and slave rights in the constitution for the future. However, I do not think it was possible at that time given the status of women and slaves. Instead, I would suggest to the framers of the constitution to focus more on spreading the powers of the government and state properly. I think checks and balances are essential to a strong nation.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. If I had the opportunity to talk with the framers of the constitution I believe I would stress the importance of the rights of the Native Americans. I think often times when we're talking about American history, we forget about them and all the atrocities that were committed against them, and still are being committed against them. I also feel like there should be a clause somewhere that talks about bodily autonomy.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Emmanuel Maldonado- If I could talk to the framers of the Constitution in 1787, I would advice them to redefine their notion of equality. They have just gained their independence and should grant everyone the same opportunities/rights. When establishing a new republic it is important to note that yes there is a past history that held divisions and or bloodshed but this is a fresh clean slate. I would change the whole three fifths of a person because the simple use of the word “persons” itself recognizes that these people are also human and aren’t any different from whites. And I’m also against the Native Americans not being taxed because although they were stripped from their land so were African slaves and they aren’t receiving any special treatment for their suffering so their should be no exceptions. I would stress equality for all.

    ReplyDelete
  20. After discussing the challenges and issues that people were facing in the past and reviewing the Constitution that was created in 1787, I have a few advices for the framers of the Constitution. If I had the change to share my ideas, I would tell that everyone should have the right to vote women and men. We should not limit someone’s rights based on gender or race. Everyone deserves freedom. I believe that everyone should have the same rights. Instead of focusing on limiting the rights of people, I would focus more on the government and responsibilities of government.

    ReplyDelete
  21. If I had the opportunity to talk to the framers of the Constitution I would not suggest they make any radical changes or additions. What I would do is ask them to add language to the constitution that allowed for the constitution itself to be brought up for amendments or additions every 40 years. Maybe this is too little of an amount of time to span between every time the constitution is thought about, however, my thought process is that today, many things that could have been in the constitution that would benefit us today are not in there.

    There was no Facebook or "online world" in 1787 and so there was no issue of online privacy, or the right to privacy in general. As well, there was no mention of equal rights for all sexes. There was also no mention of money not being allowed to influence politics. While these are issues we have now, in 40 years, we might have another set of issues we wish were addressed in the constitution.

    ReplyDelete
  22. If I had the opportunity to speak to the framers of the constitution I would suggest a few changes. I agree with many of my peers by telling the framers to include women's rights and slave's rights in the constitution. I believe that even though white men believed they were superior to everyone in the United States, that they were still inhabitants of the United States and had the right to vote and voice their opinions. There ended up being many influential women in history and years to come, they should have been included in the constitution to begin with. The framers should not have limited rights based on someone's gender and someone's race.

    ReplyDelete
  23. The Framers of the Constitution developed the United States constitution in such a way that it can be interpreted both loosely and strictly. This allowed the Framers to implement a system to change the Constitution if need be and allows the Constitution to adapt to any situation that might occur in the future. The implementation of Separation of Powers and the system of Checks and balances is also highly commendable. However my personal advice would reflect on the modern day United States Government. Ever since World War II, the Executive Branch has unprecedented power and influence. My advice to the Framers would have been to put more limits on the Executive Branch's power but perhaps it is necessary to have a strong Executive Branch nowadays. Therefore, rather than give advice to the framers, I would have commended them for their thoughtfulness on the depth in which the Constitution is structured.

    ReplyDelete
  24. If I could give advice to the framers of the constitution, I would have them change the constitution so that the rights written in the constitution apply to all people living in American land or living under American law. By changing the wording of the constitution so that all people, regardless of gender or race, were guaranteed equal rights, it could help with many problems such as having civil rights groups protest for decades to get the same rights as others living in American territory. I would also suggest the constitution more changeable, to account for unforeseen advances in technology or ways in which society thinks and functions. Whenever the Judicial branch must interpret the constitution, it must usually follow the writings of men who lived centuries before they did, and in that time many things could have changed. It would help America today if the constitution could be changed to adjust for the views of society at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  25. If I could talk to them, I would say anything that you think could ever be an issue, just write it down. Since at the time there were debates about strict vs loose interpretation, it would have been best to put everything they could imagine (not just what they knew to be true at the time), so that even if we believed in strict interpretation, everything would be there and that we'd be able to keep our country running smoothly. Also back then they had to know that's things would change over time so it would have been better if they didn't just jot down a few things and then assume that everything would fall into place eventually by itself. I know that there are different clauses that are designed to allow the constitution to be changed, but the way it's set up, its very hard to change or add to the constitution.

    ReplyDelete
  26. If I could talk to the framers of the Constitution in 1787, I would advise them to directly address slavery instead of regarding slaves as three-fifths of a person. I would try to explain that this is an issue that should not be put aside and interpreted loosely because if everyone in this new and thriving nation wants to be equal and portray liberty, then everyone should be able to live freely and have the ability to make their own decisions. Along with this, I feel that it would be important to mention equal rights and how they might pose problems in the future, which is related to the fact that African Americans should be given these rights and that society should accept them, instead of prolonging slavery for decades to come.

    ReplyDelete
  27. If I had the opportunity to speak to the framers of the Constitution in 1787, I would suggest incorporating and emphasizing women's rights. With limited rights given to women, inequality surrounded the people. Why can't women have equal rights? Men are not the only ones who live on this planet. Society includes everyone as a whole. The individuals should be protected under the Constitution, despite gender, etc. Rich white men received rights, but what happens to the women, the poor, and those who were not wealthy? I would probably say this trying to hold back my rage, however, I would want to sound persuasive as well. This Constitution definitely needed improvement and changes made. There was nothing in the Constitution regarding the rights of women, as it was the men who were protected under the rights of the Constitution.

    ReplyDelete
  28. If I could advise the framers of the Constitution in 1787, I would advise for the further development of the executive branch and the reasons for declaring war. Our nation has a history of becoming involved in wars, over unchecked reasons. These reasons have been speculated to be untrue and yet we still have gone to war. For example, the Tonkin Gulf resolution during the Vietnam War, was passed by Congress and authorized the president with whatever means necessary, to enact military action in Southeast Asia. President Lyndon B. Johnson called for an air attack on South Korea after hearing that Northern Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin had allegedly attacked U.S. destroyers without provocation. The U. S. Destroyers were claimed to have been reporting intelligence information to South Vietnam. However, the Northern Vietnamese attack was later proven to be untrue.

    ReplyDelete
  29. If I had the opportunity to speak with the framers of the Constitution in 1787, I would suggest rewording the Constitution and that it should be subject to change throughout the years if and only if it provides what the Constitution should provide. The Constitution did not provide more women's rights and throughout the years, women have fought to gain their rights.

    ReplyDelete
  30. If I could talk to the framers of the constitution, as stated by many others above, I would tell them to really emphasize the point that these laws are in place for the times that we currently live in and are subject to many different changes/amendments as time will go on. Technologies will improve, communication will improve, and this will lead to a very complex and complicated world. The black and white aspects no longer will exist as the world will surely grow to be very in-depth and elaborate. Laws need to be constantly reviewed and assessed regularly to make sure that they remain just for the appropriate times.

    ReplyDelete
  31. If i were there to give advice to the framers of the Constitution, i would first let them know that they should remove the term, "three fifths of all other Persons." By having this term written down in the Constitution, it shows that they are limiting basic human rights based on the color of your skin. Everyone of all skin color should be equal and this goes for men and women. Thus, i would also advise them to include the rights of women. Men and Women should allowed equal rights and these rights should be protected under the constitution.

    ReplyDelete
  32. If I could talk to the framers, I would warn them about the flaws in the early presidential selection process. Initially, the winner was to become president and the run up was to become vice president. This can and has caused several problems, especially since the rise of political parties. Candidates can vary greatly in their policies and compromise can become difficult. This was eventually amended.

    ReplyDelete
  33. If I had the chance to give advice to the framers of the constitution I would tell them to give equal rights to all Americans. All Americans meaning women and African Americans. During the years African Americans and women had to fight for their rights.

    ReplyDelete
  34. if i had the ability to go back in time and speak with the framers of the constitution I would argue to place more power directly within the people, at least if not the ability to remove members of the house. I think it is irresponsible for members of the house to jeopardize the state of the nation due to bi-partisan agenda. It is also the local residents who elect members of the house and should also be within our ability to remove them when they are unfit to represent us.

    ReplyDelete
  35. If I were given the opportunity to speak with the framers of the constitutuion I would try persuade them to be considerate of our future and that to do so a loose interpretation of the constitution is a must for they must be prepared for the unexpected. I would also try to convince them that equal opportunity for all is also a must because if we as a nation stand together we will be unstoppable.

    ReplyDelete
  36. XinNing Cheng
    If I could talk to the framers of the Constitution in 1787, I would advise them to be more specific about some of the rights mentioned and what are the exceptions. For example, the first amendment needs to clear out that you are only guaranteed freedom of expression only if it doesn't directly harm others. That would contradict the pursuit of happiness. In amendment 10, does they mean the state can exercise any power that's not delegated the federal government by the constitution? Wouldn't that question the purpose of the constitution, the federal government's power over state? Can both government loose interpret the constitution? The constitution should specifically mention if the rights stated pertain to people of both gender and all colors, the reason if denied. I also agree with my classmates on how they should think further about the future, because it is difficult to change the constitution.

    ReplyDelete