What problems with the US's original documents, changes in society, or needs of marginalized groups led to later amendments to the documents?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The first goal in the Preamble to the Constitution is the idea of remaining committed to "forming a more perfect union."  This fundamental goal suggests that the Constitution is a document that can respond to the demands and needs of its particular time period.  In assessing that American democracy is an ongoing experiment, the Constitution presented itself as being able to show strength through pliability in the conditions that would be featured in American society.  The results of the Civil War in which the North had defeated the slave- owning South was one of those conditions. Specific changes that needed to be enshrined in the Constitution resulted in the ratification in the 13, 14th, and 15th Amendments.  The suffragist movement in America that spanned over seven decades did much to cause change in the way people viewed women, and thus pass the 19th Amendment.   American society endured another change in thought when it came to examining the role that young people played in society.  While eighteen year olds were able to fight and die in the Vietnam War, the argument became accepted that they should be able to to vote for the leaders that might choose to commit them to such entanglements.  In this, the Constitution reflected social changes in thought through the adoption of the 26th  Amendment.  In these instances, previously marginalized groups helped to change the thinking of American society.  These changes resulted in new amendments being adopted in the hopes of "forming a more perfect union."

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