Constitution -- is it still relevant?Is the constitution still relevant today?

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amarang9's profile pic

amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I sympathize with discussion1984's post because any country, including our own, is steeped in bureaucratic obstacles, thus making it difficult to challenge the powers that be, whether that challenge is in support of, or objecting to, the constitution.

However, litteacher8 is correct that the Constitution's relevance (as the document of our national ideology) is based on the fact that it is a living document. Not to mention, you can see aspects of the Constitution every day. It has established precedents such as the right to vote for women and free speech. Granted, the United States might have come to embrace these obvious rights without a constitution. But, the fact that we have a document that legally backs these precedents gives the Constitution technical as well as ethical significance. The fact that it is a "living document" is important. Not only can we add to it, we can take previous amendments away; while successful, it is not complete - just as the country itself can theoretically always get better. It reflects that idea that country and constitution are works in progress.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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With Czars appointed and by-passes of Congress, the US Constitution is being ignored.  If the U.S. Constitution is no longer relevant, then these actions by those in power and any others can be made with impunity.  The purpose of the writing of the Constitution was to protect against dictatorship and usurping of power. Is this country not supposed to be a democratic republic?

As for the 2nd amendment, one may want to ask some of those who survived the chaos and anarchy of Katrina only because they had weapons to defend themselves how they feel.  By  the way, poster #13, the US Dept of Homeland Security is buying up ammunition for large automatic weapons. What are they worried about? Thomas Jefferson wanted Americans to be able to defend themselves against whatever was necessary such as government that became too oppressive; then, they would be able to overthrow this government.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Constitution is still relevant today because we allow it to remain relevant.  We believe in the legitimacy of the Constitution; we honor it and feel it should be adhered to.  This makes it relevant.

It remains relevant in that we think that it should control our system.  Therefore, when we perceive things as being against the Constitution (as with many people who are upset about "Obamacare") we feel strongly that they should be rejected.  

We do not all agree on what the Constitution means, but we constantly refer back to it as support for our political points of view.  This shows it is still relevant.

tinicraw's profile pic

tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The Constitution of the United States is the most important political document to the world because it is the first of its kind, it has withstood the test of time, and the logical balances between three distinct powers is revolutionary! My only fear is if Americans change it too much through amending it, we will lose its intended meaning or the true power of it eventually. I also fear that someone will draft another one in the future, eliminate its vital functions, and discard it altogether. I sure hope that doesn't happen.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

The constitution is absolutely still relevant today. We cannot, as a country, discount its importance simply because it is an old document that has rarely been ratified. I will admit, that I am not an expert in the constitution, but I think we can compare the constitution with a business contract. The constitution is a contract between our lawmakers, law enforcers, and etc. and the American public. This contract is what distinguishes our country from other less democratic countries.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

One of the reasons the Constitution of the United States is still relevant is that it is a "living document" because it was written with the possibility of amendments, and because the courts are always re-interpreting it.  That way it can be written in the 18th century and still meaningful today.

User Comments

zamrznuti's profile pic

zamrznuti | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I generally side in favor of the constitution, but I think this time I'd like to list a few points for both sides.

On the pro side, the contitution is a flexible document. It can be amended to fit the changing needs of our nation. Our republic, as outlined in the constitution, allows for careful deliberation to prevent rash actions from being taken. The framers created a series of checks and balances to prevent any enfringement on the rights of minorities and most corruption of government(if you believe as I do, as the framers did, men are generally selfish). A few of the cons mentioned above state issues with laws, but laws can be made on all subjects. The constitution itself defines who has what power and gives us basic rights. Federal laws and state laws should be considered separately.

On the con side, the system outlined in our constitution inevitably leads to gridlock. Our modern world communicates faster and faster while our politicians sit in Washington debating over issues for weeks, months or even years. Many also think the president should be directly elected and the electoral college done away with as it can produce different results than a popular vote. Some think the entire system flawed because of the unequal representation in the Senate (2 per state).

Overall I wouldn't say our system is outdated, but many are unhappy with our government and want change. Whether you want this change within the terms of the constitution or outside of it is up to you.

frizzyperm's profile pic

frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Parts of it are still relevant, but I think the American people revere it with such worship that they refuse to believe it could be improved.

For example, The 2nd amendment right to bear arms in order to able to form a militia is clearly not relevant today, which should (but won't) allow Americans to reduce the massive, unnecessary arsenal of privately held firearms.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

I can't believe that this is relevant to the 21st century. The Constitution was a magnificent effort and a brilliant creation. It is priceless, but it is not perfect, nor can it see into the future. It needs to be modified and updated as time goes by.

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melodybro | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

No it isn't . OPEN YOUR EYES.


There are SO MANY regulation on guns , and people being taxed for stupid things. The Amendments don't apply to modern day. Now we can be held for questioning without a lawyer , and we can't plead the 5th . Read up on your facts , and look at the bills the goverment is trying to pass . We are bound to repeat history look at us right now.

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iyonah0819 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) eNoter

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The Constitution is very much relevant today. It is nearly cited in every presidential election and in every political choice as well.

discussion1984's profile pic

discussion1984 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

I'm going to say "absolutely not." In my view, we live in a de facto world, which always underly de jure claims. People can talk about the constitution all they want, but the truth is that it is so incredibly difficult to access that it's meaningless. You need lawyers, and lawyers cost money. Most won't even take your case. You need time, and when I say "time," I mean at least a decade to follow through with a constitutional claim. Even if you got those two, you have to beat the state or a huge corporation that has endless resources and money. And the truth is that it's impossible to win that way. Inspirational cases that you hear about on the news and in the media about the little guy who won are always in the interest of the state for the purpose of myth making as part of nation-building. For instance, claims about the government abusing some ethinic group and then the ethnic group winning a constitutional case is all about manufacturing the idea that groups are respected constitutionally in the state, and that they are part of the history and identity of the country. But I can assure you that there are more cases of governmental abuse and unconstitutionality that happen almost daily but will *never* be brought before any court, much less won.

To me, the constitution is a myth. It's the lie that we have rights to keep us complacent.