August 1, 2022
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The above quote is the preamble to the Constitution of the United States. Every American, particularly those who vote, should read it (at least once). It is the basic instrument of our government and the law of the land.
In terms of history, the Constitution was drafted by/at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and ratified by 2/3 of the states (as provided in the Constitution and became effective in 1789). The Constitution provided for a national government of three independent branches: executive, judicial, and legislature. One of the conflicts that arose at that time concerned the makeup of the legislature. The dispute was resolved by the so-called Great Compromise, establishing the present arrangement whereby the states are equally represented in the Senate while the House of Representatives is represented in proportion to their populations.
The Constitution was signed by 39 delegates (a great trivia question). I recognized only four signatures: Ben Franklin (PA), Alexander Hamilton (NY), James Madison (VA), and George Washington (VA). The ratification process brought on intense debate and conflict. This was resolved when it was agreed to amend the Constitution with the inclusion of a Bill of Rights. A total of 42 amendments were proposed but were subsequently reduced to 12. Two (2) failed ratification and the remaining became the first 10 amendments, today referred to as the aforementioned Bill of Rights. Unquestionably, these were major and significant additions to prevent government abridgement and to insure the fundamental rights of individuals.
Here is what I would consider some of the key amendments. Read #10 carefully.
“…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
Amendment 13 (1865):
“Neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”
Amendment 14 (1968):
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States …”
Amendment 15 (1870):
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
Amendment 16 (1913):
“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes from whatever source derived …” Ouch!!
Amendment 18 (1919):
“…the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States…for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.”
Amendment 19 (1920):
“The right of 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.”
Amendment 21 (1933):
“The 18th article of the amendment to the Constitution is hereby repealed.”
Amendment 26 (1971):
“The right of citizens of the United States who are 18 years of age or older to vote shall not be denied or abridged…”
Exit the objectivity of the above material. Enter my take on the Constitution. I believe the intent of the framers was to protect the rights of the people, and not the government and/or elected officials. Unfortunately, most officials and some of the Justices have chosen to ignore the intent and instead reinterpret many of the laws of the land. The framers obviously were concerned that an expanded government would encroach upon the rights of individuals. An objective review of the Constitution clearly indicates their concern that government expansion would adversely affect the rights of individuals.
How lucky we are to be Americans. As I noted at the top, everyone should take the time to read our Constitution. It is a brilliant document that has fortunately and understandably withstood the test of time.
Note: I have decided to discontinue the closeout note for these articles on offensive or defensive basketball suggestions since work on the second edition of “BASKETBALL Coaching 101” is now in full swing.
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