Since its foundation in 1787, The Constitution has been a major document that has shaped and molded the history of the United States. The Constitution has been cited time and time again in court cases, and it has been reviewed and amended 27 times (hey, our forefathers never claimed to be perfect). It was fought for by the Federalists before finally becoming the document in which it is fair to say our Supreme Court System still relies on today. It is a staple item in high school American History and U.S. History courses. But what are the most important things for students to take from the Constitution and its history?
1) The Bill of Rights. It is a majorly important fact that the first ten amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. They were put into effect in 1791, after being written by James Madison to ensure the people kept their power and the states did not lose all leverage in comparison to the federal government. The Constitution was the answer to the Articles of Confederation, in which the federal government had almost no power. With the introduction of the Bill of Rights, the anit-federalists were able to be assured that they would keep their rights as people and not become slaves to a federal government.
2) Prohibition. Most high school kids have heard of prohibition, or the outlawing of alcohol in the United States. However, if you mention to a student that prohibition was a part of the Constitution, they tend to give you a blank stare. Prohibition was the 18th amendment, and was later overturned by the 21st.
3) Slavery. Slavery is a major part of history in the United States of America. Most students have heard of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Underground Railroad. However, the thirteenth amendment abolished slavery, while the fifteenth gave people of all colors the right to vote. While these amendments did not immediately change the treatment of African Americans in the south, they were a major stepping stone towards getting to where we are today.
4) Over a hundred countries have used the United States Constitution as a model for their own government.
5) Without the Constitution, many of the rights we receive now would be denied to us. Without the Constitution in place, one would not have the right to a speedy trial, and could sit in jail for years before ever being tried. There would be no right to an attorney, or right to remain silent. Troops would still be being quartered in residential households in times of war. A cop could search your home for the simple fact that he wants to, no warrant required. Women could not vote. People of color could not vote. A national religion could be enforced. I could be arrested for saying I dislike our president or posting it online. Without the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, we the people would have no freedoms.