by Wesley Ford

From the year 1789 to the present, the Constitution has served as the basis of our democracy. More than just a legal document, the Constitution has become a champion of the spirit of liberty and a symbolic shield against government encroachment. Yet, many people seem ready to throw it to the wayside, discontent with its charter and its message. Why are so many willing to turn their backs on the most fundamental document of our founding?

The framers of the Constitution were concerned with protecting citizens’ liberties while also recognizing the need for governmental authority to prevent anarchy. The six original articles established the roles and responsibilities of the federal government, while the first 10 amendments, or Bill of Rights, explicitly forbade the government from infringing on fundamental rights. The version of the Constitution ratified was a product of compromises between the framers’ varying concerns, striking a balance between governmental flexibility and protecting the rights of the populace. Understanding that the needs of the country would change, they also established a process for amending the Constitution.

While not without its flaws, the Constitution is fundamentally a great document. The governmental structure established by the Constitution has endured for over two centuries. The amendments contained within the Bill of Rights have been invaluable in protecting citizens from the predations of government and have helped to establish the United States as “The Land of The Free“.

Yet, throughout the history of the nation, there have been debates over the meanings conveyed in the Constitution. The actions of the legislative and executive branches often push the boundaries of their constitutional mandate, checked by the power of judicial review. Controversy has arisen recently over the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen (pertaining to the right to carry) and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (pertaining to abortion rights), with primarily those on the political left angry that the court overturned the precedents which they supported, leading to cries of judicial abuse of power. This is a symptom of the deeper disregard many have for the Constitution.

This attitude arises, however, not from some inherent flaw in the text of the Constitution, but simply because some are too arrogant to recognize its authority, too proud to recognize the wisdom of the framers, and too impatient to amend it.

Critics of the Constitution argue that its doctrine is antiquated and does not reflect current conditions. Some, for example, point to the use of the word “Militia” in the second amendment as proof that guns were never meant to be used by private citizens, only by the tri-corner hat wearing musketmen of the 18th century. They argue that guns are a liability in the urbanized world that we inhabit today.

This argument, for one, ignores the wisdom of the framers who undoubtedly knew the destructive power of firearms, even the ones available at the time. It was because of this power that they realized the citizenry should be armed. They trusted the discretion of the average man in using that destructive power against threats to the republic, foreign or domestic. The framers were not subtle in their intentions either, stating, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

This has not stopped politicians from attempting to regulate the time, place and manner in which citizens can exercise this right, up to the point of effective total gun bans in certain jurisdictions (as evidenced by the New York law overturned in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen). Yet, much anger is directed at the courts when legislation clearly violating the Constitution is overturned, and the court is accused of overstepping its authority for reversing the judicial activism which established the precedent in Roe v. Wade, which was inherently an attempt to bypass the legislature in legalizing abortion under the guise of a “right to privacy” not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the Constitution.

It is clear that some believe achieving their political priorities is warranted by any means necessary. The justification provided for their actions is that the process to amend the Constitution is too slow, and that, presumably, controversial measures, such as gun control, would never meet the requirement of three out of four states passing the measure to amend the Constitution.

This shows an ignorance, or perhaps a disregard for the founders’ intentions. The Constitution was not made to be easily amended, because the framers did not wish for all change to occur at the federal level. Issues not addressed by the federal government, such as abortion, were meant to be handled by the states. The strict majority required to pass an amendment was instituted to ensure that issues as fundamental as gun rights would only be changed with the consent of the nation. If the framers wanted to create a “living document”, in which parts of the Constitution could be nullified through brute majoritarianism at any point, they would not have included an amendment process.

Politicians should focus less on changing the Constitution and focus more on understanding it. We need to realize that the framers were intelligent enough to strike a balance between authority and liberty better than anybody else has proposed, that it would be unwise to regard their safeguards against tyranny as no longer necessary (as if politicians are inherently more virtuous than they were in 1789), and that it is not permissible to advance our own desires at the expense of violating constitutional law. Politicians need to realize that it is not their duty to create policies for the whole nation, but rather their duty under oath is to “support and defend the Constitution” and to use the proper channels when they believe change is required.

Despite the turmoil, the recent court proceedings demonstrate an encouraging trend; one that will hopefully return us to a stricter interpretation of the Constitution, a return to fair play in politics, and a return to liberty as the framers intended.

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“The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription.” National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration,

“Constitutional Convention Begins – History.” History,

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Mangan, Dan. “Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade, Ending 50 Years of Federal Abortion Rights.” CNBC, CNBC, 24 June 2022,, Ariane de. “Supreme Court Allows New York Gun Law Placing Restrictions on Concealed Firearms to Remain in Effect Pending Legal Challenges | CNN Politics.” CNN, Cable News Network, 11 Jan. 2023,