The United States’ constitution has stood the test of time since its adoption in late 18th century. During 17th century, Americans were under colonial rule that denied them rights and powers to govern themselves. Then, Americans fought for their independence gradually by demanding their recognition and inclusion into the colonial government that had oppressed for quite some time.
Colonialists flooded the US in early 17th century from various parts of the world, majorly Europe because they were escaping religious persecution and in search of expansive land for agriculture. Under oppression, Americans made several initiatives in a bid to emancipate themselves and these initiatives culminated into independence in 1776.
According to Garrett, in 1765, 13 colonies met to discuss the violation of fundamental rights and in 1774 and 1775, first and second continental congress respectively resolved to have independence (12). In 1776, the United States got its independence and adopted a new constitution in 1787. This constitution has become the legal basis for the present government. Despite the fact that the formulation of the United States’ constitution dates back to more than 230 years ago, it is still remarkably viable in the modern government.
The preamble of the United States’ constitution envisages a perfect union of diverse states based on common defence, liberty, justice and tranquillity. Even though the preamble dates back to more than two centuries ago, it formed the basis of federal form of government that still exists today.
American government has a federal model of government that other countries are trying to emulate for it is a perfect union of diverse states. Garrett argues that the United States’ constitution has stood the test of time because it established federal government as it exists currently (19).
The existence of the federal government reflects viability of the United States’ constitution in modern governance. Therefore, current union of states has its basis in the United States’ constitution, which envisaged perfect union and how federal government functions and relates with central government.
The United States’ constitution is still viable in modern governance because it has an elastic clause that makes it flexible and adaptive to modern changes, which are consistent with new forms of governance. According to Section 8 of Article I, Congress has powers to make necessary amendments that are essential and consistent with the United States’ constitution.
The United States’ constitution is a legal framework that anchors several amendments and provisions in view of evolving legal issues of governance in the modern world. Wedes argues that, the elastic clause is particularly relevant to modern governance because it does not only give power to Congress to conduct necessary and appropriate amendments, but also ensures that the constitution is in tandem with dynamic needs of governance (p.1).
For instance, Congress has made several amendments in modes of taxation, regulation of commerce and security issues with regard to terrorism. Thus, elastic clause has made the United States’ constitution remain viable and reliable in current governance.
Moreover, the amendment process of the United States’ constitution is decidedly stringent to protect it from undue mutilation and changes that would make it lose its viability over time. The United States’ constitution has the first ten amendments that form basis of human rights, which are inalienable.
From independence, the first ten amendments have remained and are truly viable as they are provisions that stipulate inherent and immutable rights of every citizen in America. For instance, the first amendment to the United States’ constitution provides and guarantees freedom of expression, religion, association and petition. The first amendment assured Americans that the federal government will protect and secure their rights for posterity.
In addition, Garlinger states that, the fourteenth amendment to the United States’ constitution forbids any state from making or enforcing any law that restrict the privileges or deprive life, liberty and property (p.32). Hence, in spite of numerous attempts to amend the constitution, the amendments to United States’ constitution are central to human rights and have become the cornerstone in advocacy of human rights, thus still viable in the present government.
Supreme Court of the United States also has powers to review the constitutionality of statutes, amendments and treaties that congress makes to guarantee their consistency with the constitution. According to Prakash and Yoo, Marbury v. Madison (1803), did set a precedent, which gave powers to Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of congressional statutes and amendments (890).
Currently, Supreme Court still has powers to review and determine the constitutionality of statutes and amendments of the Congress. Thus, Supreme Court has a considerable role in ensuring that the United States’ constitution remains viable and consistent across all ages except few amendments that enhance its application in modern governance.
Although the United States’ constitution is over 200 years old, it is still highly relevant in modern society. The constitution provides a legal framework, which anchors several provisions and amendments that occur over a period.
The legal framework of the United States’ constitution has relatively remained constant for over 200 years, and is still relevant and viable because it is flexible in adopting new judicial and governing reforms. It is quite evident that the United States’ constitution been stable for a long period because of federal form of government, elastic clause, stringent amendment process and judicial review, all of which attest its viability and relevance in the modern United States.
Garlinger, Paul. “United States Constitution: The Amendments.” New York University Law Review 2.4 (2009): 30-34.
Garrett, Sandy. United States History, Constitution and Government. New York: Harcourt Publisher, 2005.
Prakash, Saikrishna, and Yoo, John. “The Origins of Judicial Review.” Chicago Law Review, 2003: 887-933.
Wedes, Samuel. “A Living Constitution, the United States Constitution: Does It Stand The Test of Time?” Government, 2006: 1-33.