The American Constitution: The Declaration Of Independence And The Constitution

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Prior to the United States independence, settlers suffered greatly at the hands of the British Monarchs. Even after aiding Britain to win the French and Indian War, the British army’s threatening presents was still on American soil. Additionally, settlers were forced to house, feed and aid them. This grievance and a series unjust taxes levied on settlers resulted in the American Revolutionary War 1775. Settlers felt their civil rights and liberties were being diminished by the British monarch and decided that would not be tolerated. While the Declaration of Independence and the constitution formed a clear contrast between Britain and the United states government, it is Bills of Rights that empowered its citizens. This document codified the…show more content…
This was the case during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency when he engaged in World War 1 in 1917, after Unites States ships were continuously attacked by the Germans. Though the United States prided itself on being democratic and very liberal, it enacted two acts that opposed its constitutions foundation. The first act was the Espionage Act 1917 which prohibited citizens from speaking or publishing materials against the government (World War 1 Propaganda and Civil Liberties, 1917-1918). As one of the United States most controversial laws, it went against the first amendment which gave United States citizens the right to freedom of speech, expression, and press (Cornell University Law School). The following year President Wilson strengthened the Espionage Act by signing the Sedition Act, which provided penalties and fines for those who openly criticized and spoke ill of the United States government (World War 1 Propaganda and Civil Liberties, 1917-1918). In essence, the United States choose security at the cost of its citizen’s civil…show more content…
In his article “Preserving civil liberties in an age of terrorism” Ivan Eland stated that actions by the government that infringes on civil liberties stretch and abuse its power. Furthermore, time and resources could be spent on more effect measures to prevent terrorist attacks than mass surveillance (Eland). Eland is referring to the United States government spying on its citizens. The government is empowered to do this through The Patriot Act 2001. Signed by President George Bush it allowed the government to use tools available to them to monitor citizen’s communications to obtain information (United States Department of Justice). The problem with such legislations is that it empowers the government to infringe on citizen’s right to privacy by tapping into their private lives. The Patriot Act directly violates the fourth Amendment which states citizen are protected against unwarranted searches and seizures by the government. Robert Bork in his article “Civil Liberties After 9/11” puts it perfectly stating civil rights of United States citizen are being systematically broken down and must be taken seriously.
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