Ratification of Constitution

878 Words4 Pages
The Constitution has been operative since 1789 after the ratification of nine states (American Vision and Values, Page 52). Today many question the relevancy of a document 222 years old to our society. The Founders created a governmental framework, defining three branches and giving powers to the government and others to the states. It also guarantees the rights of the people. It took two and one-half years for the 13 colonies to ratify the Constitution. This ratification period was one of great debate and produced a series of essays complied into The Federalist. Authored by John Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay during the ratification debate in New York, they tried to get public support for the Constitution. Thus began the first defense of the Constitution and its original intent; which continued on when the US Supreme Court first convened on February 2, 1790. It was not until John Marshall of Virginia became the fourth Chief Justice in 1801 that the powers and role of the Court were clearly defined. Marshall took the Court from being the weakest branch to being one of the most powerful branches of government with its power to interpret the Constitution and laws passed by congress and the states. Many conservatives follow the philosophy of originalism to interpret the Constitution by the “original” understanding of its words and ideas. This does not provide for a modern interpretation which changes with the times. The “Living” Constitution is an opposing philosophy in which the Constitution is an evolving document which is flexible to the needs and values of society as it evolves. I agree with the philosophy of originalism and the belief that the Constitution is “fundamentally a rulebook for government” (Moore,... ... middle of paper ... ...nstitution philosophy we see no way to guide its evolution, limit judicial legislation, and keep partisan politics away from judicial appointments. Without guiding principles, such as the Constitution, the judicial system would not be able to be fair or serve justice equally. Benjamin Franklin, speaking before the Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, expressed the Constitution being “near to perfection” and “a blessing to the people if well administered”. He called for every member to “manifest our unanimity” and “doubt a little of his own infallibility” and “put his name” on the Constitution. I believe, with the Founders, we sincerely need the Constitution in its original interpretation of rights and responsibilities. It is our original benchmark of freedom; and as declared by Ronald Reagan the “best hope for Freedom on Earth”(The Great Debate, Page 180).
Open Document