How does the Constitution of the US contradict or come in conflict with itself?

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The most blatant contradiction in the US Constitution involves prohibition of alcohol. In 1918, following the aftermath of World War I, Congress passed the Eighteenth Amendment, which outlawed the sale of beverages containing alcohol content greater than 1.28%. It was ratified by two-thirds of the states the following year. In 1933, however, prohibition was overturned by the ratification of the Twenty-First Amendment.

The prohibition movement developed for decades before its effects took place. The American Temperance Society formed in 1826 and became the hub of the movement. The ATS also played roles in the abolition of slavery and expanding women's rights. But once prohibition was implemented it created underworld criminal networks that profited off bootlegging, leading to the repeal of the Amendment.

Other changes within the Constitution raised questions of consistency, such as the topic of taxes. The Sixteenth Amendment gave Congress the power to implement and collect an income tax without apportionment among the several states, which was forbidden in the original Constitution. This amendment was ratified in 1913 after a few decades of controversy.

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Perhaps the most obvious contradiction in the Constitution is the contradiction with regard to slavery.

In the Constitution, all Americans are given the right to various liberties.  For example, the Fifth Amendment guarantees that "no person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."  This idea is clearly contradicted by the existence of slavery.  Every slave was deprived of his or her liberty by slavery.  Many were deprived of life and none really had any right to property.  Of course, slavery is not explicitly made legal in the Constitution, but it is implicitly accepted in such things as the fugitive slave clause and the three-fifths compromise.  Thus, the Constitution conlicts with itself by both allowing slavery and guaranteeing personal liberty.

 

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