The U.S. constitution and its notable 27 amendments are the foreground for this country and how it would be ruled. America was in a whirlwind of change in 1789 as people were experiencing freedom from the tyranny of England for the first time in their lives. The framers of our Constitution knew that in order to have a stable and efficient nation our expectations and rules had to be set to protect the rights of the individual. The Bill of Rights and its additional amendments to the Constitution were written to ensure equality for all in changing times. It has been more than 223 years since and we still adhere to these principles our country was laid upon. Although every amendment plays a significant role and affects every citizen in the U.S., I believe the most preeminent amendments to be ratified are the 1st, 19th, 13th, and 22nd.
I find the 1st amendment to be the one of the most significant of all 27 because it bestows upon us several of our basic liberties. According to this amendment from the Bill of Rights, we have freedom of religion, speech, press, petition, and assembly. Without it we would lose our sense of belief and expression. America would not be a democracy without the say and perspectives of the people. If the citizens were unable to criticize the government, it would be impossible to regulate order. I believe that the ability to state your opinion and hear those of others as well is crucial to the respect of human dignity.
Next, I believe the 19th amendment is equally as liberating and provides the necessary opportunity for all. This amendment finally gave women the right to vote and states that “The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” As a woman, I feel that it is unjust to discriminate me solely on my gender. Just like a man, a woman can have intelligence, good character, right judgment, and a yearning to help make decisions for her country. One gender should never be taken as superior over the other, we are all human, and we all deserve the same rights. The 19th amendment of women’s suffrage was a huge accomplishment and was a significant step closer to uniting our country.
At the end of the Civil War the 13th amendment to abolish slavery was ratified. To me, this amendment opened the eyes of Americans. Treating another human being as less than a person and just as a use of profit and revenue is an abomination. People, no matter what race or background, should never be forced against their will and treated as property. But where is freedom and equality in terms of slavery? There is none. All it does is exploit and dehumanize human beings. I am relieved that our country has recognized this.
In 1951, the 22nd amendment was ratified which made permanent a tradition that has profound influence on the philosophy of government in the United States of America. This amendment outlines the limitation of service as President of the United States to two terms. Without this drawback, the president may hold too much power and could become a tyrant. I think that having a limitation of terms per president reduces possible corruption in our government. Additionally, with every new president comes new policies and ideas that could benefit our country.
Although I am still young and have a lot to learn about how our government and country works, I have noticed a few discrepancies. If I could propose a 28th amendment it would be to require that laws apply equally to U.S. citizens and members of Congress. Congress members are exempt from policies and laws such as social security, health reforms, and avoid persecution of sexual harassment. I believe that it’s inequitable and completely unfair that members of congress don’t fall under the same laws as all the citizens of the U.S. We should not have an elite that is above the law. In order to have an equal and just government and country, we must confront issues such as this one.
“Constitutional Convention and Ratification, 1787–1789 – 1784–1800 – Milestones – Office of the Historian.” Constitutional Convention and Ratification, 1787–1789 – 1784–1800 – Milestones – Office of the Historian. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2014.
“First Amendment Rights.” Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2014.
“19th Amendment Adopted.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2014.
“13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery (1865).” Our Documents –. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2014.
“28th Amendment.” Snopes.com: Winds of Change. N.p., 02 Oct. 2013. Web. 02 Sept. 2014.