How do cultural and political forces help shape a state's constitution?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cultural and political forces help to shape a state’s constitution because the constitution is created by a democratic process and can be amended by a democratic process.  Whenever the people get to vote on something, cultural and political forces will come into play.  Therefore, cultural and political forces will help shape constitutions because the people get to vote on the constitution.

State constitutions are typically created by some sort of democratic process.  Because of this, the people have an influence on what the constitution will end up looking like.  Because the people have influence, their cultural beliefs are likely to be represented.  For example, the Texas state legislature is only allowed to meet every two years for a limited amount of time.  The legislators’ salaries are also limited by the constitution.  We can argue that this is because Texas voters do not trust government very much and do not want it to have much power.

 Once constitutions are made, they can also be amended.  Amendments are typically affected very strongly by political and cultural forces.  For example, voters in the state of Idaho amended their constitution in 2006 to ban same-sex marriages or civil unions.  This was done because Idaho is culturally very conservative and because there was a political backlash against the movement for gay rights that was then increasing in power.  Idaho’s conservative culture, perhaps bolstered by political worries over the election of President Obama, also led to a 2012 amendment to enshrine the right to hunt and fish.

In these ways, we can see evidence that cultural and political forces help to shape state constitutions.  This happens because these constitutions are created democratically, which means that the people will have a chance to express their cultural and political beliefs through their constitutions.