The Declaration of Independence of the United States was adopted by the continental congress on the year of 1776 on July fourth and it announced that the colonies which were at war with their colonizer Great Britain were independent. The main mastermind of the declaration was Thomas Jefferson and it was fueled by the effort of the congress to initiate independence talks with Great Britain before the American Revolution. After its completion, congress gave out the Declaration of Independence in various forms. Initially it was printed as a broadside that was circulated intensely and the document was widely read to and by the citizens of the thirteen colonies. It is important to note that the declaration was signed on August second although it is widely believed that it was signed on July fourth of the year 1776. The declaration asserted the grievances of the thirteen colonies against King George III and also by declaring that the colonies had been denied some of the fundamental rights by the British Empire (Bailyn, 1025).
One of the important facts of the Declaration of the Independence is its equality plea against the British Empire and also the fact that the declaration also is quoted as stating that all men are created equal and have certain rights which are unalienable. Although after the country attained its independence the Declaration of the Independence was ignored by the citizens of the United States, its importance has reverberated through the times and this can be attributed to the fact that it has a tendency of referring to the rights and freedoms of the citizens of the United States. It has precipitated a lot of inspiration for many entities in the United States today and this can be seen by the various movements of various groups which seek to further the interest of the people through their rights and freedom. This means that the various groups in the United States have been helped by the fact that the foundation that was laid by the Declaration of the Independence was strong (VanBurkleo, 464).
It is in this respect that the era of slavery was done away with and although there was a lot of battles which included the American Civil War, the government under president Abraham Lincoln was focused on ensuring that the wording of the Declaration of Independence was followed and this included the fact that the Declaration had asserted that everybody was born with certain unalienable rights and this included even the slaves who had been denied their freedom. It is in this respect that Abraham Lincoln is considered the greatest president of the United States of America (Hall, 1021).
It has influenced a lot of civil activists and civil activity and this can be evidenced by the fact that the activities seek to further the interests of the people through letting the government know that it has various watchdogs which are concerned with the rights of the people. One of the most memorable movements was the Black Supremacy movement which was founded on the principles of the alienable rights of the people. The movement was precipitated by the fact that the blacks were being discriminated in various fronts and there existed Whites only social places. The movement was also concerned about the limited opportunities that were afforded to the Blacks and this sparked off one of the best movements in the world with the pioneers being such icons as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jnr (VanBurkleo, 464).
The United States Constitution
The constitution of the United States of America is the law that governs the entire country and it lays a basis for the legal existence of the United States. It is the basis under which all legal frameworks of the country exist and this include the Federal Government of the United States. The constitution defines and draws the border between the three arms of the government and this include Legislative branch which has a bicameral congress, the executive branch with the president heading it and a judicial branch which is headed by the Supreme Court. The constitution also reserves various rights for the various states that make the United States of America. It is one of the oldest and shortest constitutions in the world (Bailyn, 1025).
The United States constitution was adopted on the seventeenth September of the year 1787 by the convention of the constitution which was held in Philadelphia in the state of Pennsylvania. It was ratified later in the United States around all the states. It has been amended twenty seven times and the first ten amendments were referred to as the Bill of Rights. In actuality The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was the first constitution document of the United States. After the United States constitution was ratified by nine states it replaced The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. It is very influential in the United States law and also the country’s political culture. The handwritten copy was penned by Jacob Shallus and it is in display even today at the National Archives and Records Administration located in Washington DC (Kersch, 392).
The constitution has influenced the United States in some very special ways which include the country being recognized as a sovereign country during its initial stages of the country. Its importance has not faded over the years and this has seen to it that the country is recognized as a sovereign country by all people in the world. It is also associated with the feeling of belonging to a major country in the world and its various amendments have been very instrumental in ensuring that the rights of the people are protected and also that the freedom of the people is highly respected. This means that the government is prohibited by the various enactments of the Bill of rights to interfere with the rights of the people and also the freedom of the people (Mason, 362).
The constitution has played a very important role in ensuring that the government activities are always in line with the requirements of the people. This means that the government is dedicated to the needs of the people and this is very important for the economic aspects of the country. This has ensured that the country has the largest economy of the world and the economy has been growing steadily over the centuries. This means that the constitution has played a very important role in ensuring that the country is prosperous due to the dedicated nature of the government and the people of the United States. The constitution also relates to the fact that human life is very important to the county and that is why the government takes it as a very serious responsibility to protect human life (Levy, 3000).
United States Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights in the United States is the name that is given to the initial ten amendments to the constitution of the United States. They were championed by James Madison and he proposed them to the congress in 1789 and after a series of amendments they eventually enacted on 15th December 1791. Another important person in this respect is Thomas Jefferson who was the major propend of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights forbids congress from coming up with legislations that respect a religion establishment, forbids the government and other authorities from infringing the rights of the citizens to own arms and also forbids the federal government from depriving the citizens any rights without the process of law. In case of criminal prosecution the criminal is protected by the Bill of Rights and it is required that the criminal must be indicted by a jury and that the process of trial should be as quick as possible. In general the Bill of Rights is seen as protecting the individuals from the government and this has had a very strong effect on the modern world today (Bailyn, 1025).
It has enabled the people to have a stronger in voice in demanding their rights and this has led to numerous crashes of the authorities with the civilians. The civil activists have had a strong foundation of their course and this means that the Bill of Rights has been very instrumental in ensuring that there is equality in the country and that racism has had a very negative reception in the country. The Bill of Rights has also enabled the people to interact with various governmental institutions without having any fear. This has been seen as one of the best way of enhancing democracy in the country (Mason, 362).
People have also enjoyed more rights and this means that they are protected by the Bill of Rights from their rights being infringed by certain institutions of the government. This means that all the levels of government which include Federal Government and Local Governments have a responsibility of upholding the statutes of the Bill of Rights. This means that the government has to follow a given procedure when dealing with the people and this also means that the government also takes it as its responsibility to ensure that the rights of the people are protected from being compromised by other entities. This also means that the government has various mechanisms which seek to protect the rights of the citizens (Hall, 1032).
However, there have been controversies which have been as a result of conflicting ideologies and interpretation which have led to heated debates of whether the country’s citizens are given too many rights that they are misusing them and also using these rights to inhibit the rights of other people. A good indicator is the gun laws which have elicited a lot of debate especially between the Republics and the Democrats. Gun laws have been a major concern because there has been an elevation in the crime rates in the country and while some politicians think that enacting more gun laws will reduce the crime levels of the country other politicians view this as an infringement of the people’s freedoms. This means that the government has a responsibility of ensuring that there exists a good legal framework which addresses some of the rights which the citizens seem to be abusing. This will be very helpful in ensuring that the people are contained in various ways so that many vices will be eliminated. As of now, the American people are one of the freest people in the world and this means that the people have the freedom to do anything they feel like and also they will be protected against the law by various laws which have been highlighted in the Bill of Rights. This has led to the rise in crime rates of the country and the government is concerned about the rising rates of crime in the country. However, activists see the Bill of Rights as being very instrumental and very beneficial to the people of the United States although there have been cases of gross violations of human rights in some instances (VanBurkleo, 464).
Bailyn, Bernard, Ed. The Debate on the Constitution: Federalist and Antifederalist Speeches, Articles, and Letters During the Struggle for Ratification. Part One: September 1787 to February 1788
Mason, Alpheus Thomas and Donald Grier Stephenson, ed. American Constitutional Law: Introductory Essays and Selected Cases (14th Edition) (2004)
Hall, Kermit, ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. Oxford U. Press, 1992. 1032 pp.
Levy, Leonard W. et al., ed. Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. 5 vol; 1992; 3000 pp
Kersch, Ken I. Constructing Civil Liberties: Discontinuities in the Development of American Constitutional Law. Cambridge U. Press, 2004. 392 pp.
VanBurkleo, Sandra F.; Hall, Kermit L.; and Kaczorowski, Robert J., eds. Constitutionalism and American Culture: Writing the New Constitutional History. U. Press of Kansas, 2002. 464 pp.