What the U.S. Constitution means to me

By: Brooke Brannan (first place) • Rachel Lay (second place) • Emily Brimer (third place)

Brooke Brannan

Jerry Bauer, Vice President of the Morgan County Bar Association, Brooke Brannan, Bobby Bonjean, Essay Contest Committee Chairman (left to right).

Jerry Bauer, Vice President of the Morgan County Bar Association, Brooke Brannan, Bobby Bonjean, Essay Contest Committee Chairman (left to right).

The U.S. Constitution is the greatest writing arrangement ever to be composed in the U.S and ranks high up on the list around the world. Modeled after the English Bill of Rights and the infamous Magna Carta, a charter of liberties presented to King John to guarantee the rights and privileges of the English citizens, the U.S. Constitution is the foundation to America. Philosopher John Rawls explained the “basic liberties” in his book A Theory of Justice. He explained all citizens must have these rights; political liberty to vote and run for office, freedom of speech and assembly, liberty of thought and conscience, freedom of personal property, and freedom from arbitrary arrest, all of which the constitution protects.

That being said, the constitution is also full of contradictions. It states “all men are created equal” but viewed slaves as ⅗ a person, and similarly forgot to include women until 1920. The second amendment is another controversial piece of the constitution. It protects the right to bear arms, but the amendment was written almost two hundred thirty years ago, when a gun can provide safety from the wilderness. Today, that protection is not needed. We have driven the wild from most parts of our country and replaced it with concrete cities. Yes, there are still places in America where a gun might be needed if the owner lives in the country or the forest, but an automatic rifle would not be a necessity in those situations, a simple shotgun would suffice. In addition, the second amendment was drafted when the only gun available was a single shot musket.

The weapons available today are much more technologically advanced, the Founding Fathers would not have allowed American citizens to have possession of such killing machines. Furthermore, a revision in this amendment would not take away guns, just provide a more thorough background check to those wanting to purchase one.

The constitution has provided a strong foundation for our country for over two hundred years, don’t fix what isn’t broken, right? It has administered protection to America and is doing its job, but everything else is improving, developing more and changing for the better in the U.S, shouldn’t the set of laws we all live by move forward as well? Nonetheless, one thing that should never change is the first amendment. The First Amendment protects people’s right to freedom of speech and expression. It is what makes America so different, we can practice any religion we choose, and are entitled to our own opinions. Citizens of America are able to feel protected and safe inside the country, but also feel as if they are free. Many times, we hear new stories from around the world where people punished and maybe even killed for being a part of a certain religion, or voicing their opinion. This just highlights how lucky we are to live in a country where we can be our own person.

In conclusion, the U.S. Constitution is a very important component to our country, and serves as the foundation to this very nation who strives for greatness. The citizens of this society are eminently fortunate to live where their “Basic Liberties” will be protected and will always be involved in their everyday life. There are some disputed aspects of The Constitution, like the second amendment, which gives the right to bear arms. But overall The Constitution has guaranteed our safety and made sure our rights will forever be protected under its law.

Rachel Lay

Jerry Bauer, Vice President of the Morgan County Bar Association, Rachel Lay, Bobby Bonjean, Essay Contest Committee Chairman (left to right).

The Constitution was established by our founding fathers on September 17, 1787. The Constitution guarantees basic rights for all American citizens. The Constitution gives me freedom of speech, freedom to choose my religion, and the opportunity to vote and be the greatest person I can be. The Constitution helps America today by guiding the government and the citizens of America. Our country has benefited greatly because the Constitution gives freedom and opportunities to all Americans.

The right to freedom of speech has let me express my opinions. In other countries, citizens can be punished if they express their own opinions. Being able to express my opinions is a wonderful opportunity to have. People are able to write to newspapers and have their opinions printed. Having these rights today has let many

people express who they are and what they agree and disagree on.

The right to choose my religion has let me be a part of an amazing faith. Religion is big part of my life. Choosing my own faith and talking about it with others is very important to me. Religion is a time spent with God and my family. I am allowed to go to church every Sunday and be proud of who I am and the religion that I am a part of.

Another way the Constitution is important to me, is that I will have the right to vote. Having the right to vote in the future will allow me to have my say on government matters. I can’t wait to vote for the first time! In other countries, women and girls are not allowed to have a job, go to school, vote and have basic rights that American women have. Being a teenage girl and seeing how the Constitution has let women vote is very empowering to me.

The Constitution has also given me many opportunities. In the future I will be able to bear arms, if I choose to do so. Being able to bear arms will allow me to protect myself from possible danger. I will also be able to have a job where I can be treated equally to all other men and women. I will be allowed to speak up and join organizations that are important to me.

These are ways that the Constitution is important to me. The Constitution has greatly benefited all the citizens of America. I am very lucky to live in a country where men and women are treated equally. I am very grateful to have these rights every day.

Emily Brimer

Jerry Bauer, Vice President of the Morgan County Bar Association, Emily Brimer, Bobby Bonjean, Essay Contest Committee Chairman (left to right).

The Constitution: America’s Roots to What Really Matters What does The Constitution mean to you? To me, it is a standing beacon of freedom that has roots all the way back to when our country was just beginning. It is a glimpse into the past and how timeless values still hold great meaning to this day. The constitution is the upholder of old and precious values. Even as we move on into new territory or wage another war, the Constitution stands as the law of the land because it can adapt. The Constitution means making our country the best it can be.

First, The Constitution means freedom. Our founding fathers risked everything to bring freedom to their country and their fellow Americans. Even before The Constitution was signed, the brave men who signed The Declaration of Independence suffered for their country. Fifty-six ordinary men who risked everything for the sake of freedom. These men were motivated not bygreed, or fame, or power. They were motivated by freedom and love for their country, and thatis part of what The Constitution means to me.

Second, The Constitution still has relevance despite being written and signed in 1787.

The Bill of Rights were an original part of The Constitution, but they are still unquestionable laws to live by. No one would question the basic freedoms set in The Constitution because The Constitution is our founding father’s way of insuring the freedom and rights of all American citizens. The Constitution means upholding the simple and ancient values ingrained in humans.

Third, The Constitution can adapt as our country evolves. We live in a time where almost every aspect of our lives are changing before our eyes. Even in this period of constant growth and evolution, the Constitution is always relevant. Article 5 of The U.S Constitution details the amendment process, including how to add more. A potential amendment must be either proposed and win a ⅔ vote from congress or by a constitutional convention called for by ⅔ of the state legislatures. We are constantly advancing culturally and technologically, and The Constitution advances with us. The Constitution means adapting to keep the U.S safe and fair.

Fourth, The Constitution means protecting U.S citizens. The general wellbeing of U.S citizens is something that our founding fathers took very seriously. We are protected by not only by our military, but also by the Bill of Rights. Our rights as citizens are preserved by many aspects of our government and our constitution. Whether it is through the court system or through voting, our rights are protected. The Constitution means protecting U.S citizens in every way possible.

Finally, The Constitution has many meanings. The Constitution means freedom, righteousness, protection, and adaptation to me. It may mean something completely different to you. The Constitution has many different meanings to many different people, but what it really comes down to is making our country the best it can be. That is what the Constitution really means, and I think that is something we can all agree on.

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