Framework of the Constitution
The Constitution of the United States of America has stood the test of time. The Founding Fathers' forethought as they deliberated and worded the Constitution, amendments by Congress, and judicial review by Supreme Courts over the years have helped the Constitution endure. Although the "fount of all authority,"1 it has also proven to be flexible, capable of meeting the different interests of generations of Americans.
In 1787, the Constitution's authors philosophically pondered what constitutes good government. Many delegates believed the document which emerged from the Constitutional Convention had established sufficient 'checks and balances' - governmental power divided between the federal government and the States, and the powers assigned to the federal government divided among the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches. Federalists debated the merits of a strong federal government, but anti-Federalists claimed a too powerful central government would usurp state sovereignty. In 1791 in response to anti-Federalists' fears, ten amendments (the Bill of Rights) were added to limit the Federal government's power, and to protect individual citizens' liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to trial by jury with counsel, private property and the privacy of their homes.
"By liberty, was meant protection against the tyranny of the political rulers."2
Amending the Constitution to meet the needs and demands of "the people" helped the Constitution endure. After the Civil War, three amendments were added. The Thirteenth Amendment, in 1865, abolished slavery and involuntary servitude; in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified with the purpose of protecting any person within a state's jurisdiction from being deprived "of life, liberty, or property without due process of law," [or denied] "the equal protection of the laws."3 The Fifteenth Amendment, in 1870, prohibited federal and state governments from abridging a citizen's right to vote "on account...