Constitution is the supreme law of United States. The document became effective in 1789, and since then, it has undergone 27 amendments to meet the ever-changing needs of the people. The initial ten amendments were called the Bill of Rights, which protects individual freedom and justice and limits government powers. The other 17 amendments protected civil rights and transformed government processes and practices. All the amendments to the constitution are added to the document. The constitution also states that the main role of the American government is to serve the people.
Strengths of the Constitution
The Constitution plays a crucial function to protect the citizens’ rights. According to Amar (2008), the 14th amendment saw Americans experience a fresh dawn of justice and freedom. The amendment stated clearly that all persons, either by birth or adopted, are American citizens and should be accorded equal protection. The Bill of Rights allowed the Americans to assemble and express themselves without restrictions. Additionally, freedoms to exercise religion, right to bear arms, right to privacy among other central rights were to be protected from encroachment by the states.
The US constitution puts in place three arms of the government that function separately. The three branches: the legislature, executive, and the judiciary, cannot assume the function of each other. The independent functioning of the three makes it a strength of the constitution. The legislature makes laws, the executive formulates policy and the judiciary interprets the law. Checks and balances ensure a balanced system for the government and the people and that no arm takes on excess power (Casper, 1988 p.211).
America should keep the strengths of the constitution as they allow for cohesiveness in the country through the Bill of Rights and ensure the three arms of government perform their roles effectively to serve the people.
Weaknesses of the Constitution
The US constitution has been criticized over time. Some of the constitution sections are considered archaic and cannot be applied in the 21st century. Averagely, the parliament should revise the constitution after two decades because generations change and so are human needs. The government should put new laws and institutions in place to meet the needs of the people. Archaic provisions can also be difficult to change, for instance, the right to bear arms, making America one of the few nations that still apply the right.
The constitution has also been criticized for ineffectively executing the right to equality. It has been established that more focus is accorded to free men than all Americans including, women and slaves. Up to date, some Americans, especially black Americans, still face discrimination based on their races, which should not be the case since the Bill of Rights stipulates equal protection to all persons regardless of their native land or color.
The weaknesses existing in the constitution should be changed so that America becomes an equal society where citizens can coexist without vices like inequality and discrimination. The government and people should uphold the law of equal protection without partiality.
The strengths of the constitution play a crucial role in enabling a larger population to accept it and make the document a unifying symbol for the nation. The constitutional provisions have also led to a stable policy, which is important for today’s society. Additionally, changing the weaknesses to become strengths will make it easier to meet the ever-changing society’s needs and offer equal protection to every citizen making America a safe place to reside.
The US constitution has stood the test of time and has been used as a point of reference by many countries across the globe. Despite the shortcomings in the document, it remains an item of respect and unity. The founding fathers described the constitution in the preamble as a document for all Americans to promote their general welfare. Therefore, as the constitution undergoes updating, it should be to make better the lives of all American citizens.
Amar, Akhil Reed. The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. https://doi.org/10.12987/9780300127089
Casper, Gerhard. “An Essay in Separation of Powers: Some Early Versions and Practices.” Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 30 (1988): 211.
The constitution of the United States of America As Amended (PDF), July 25, 2007.