Throughout modern history, many governments have attempted to best serve their citizens. So far, the longest surviving government structure has been Democracy. This comes as little surprise as Democracy experiments with policies to best serve it’s citizenry. It is a trial and error approach, or a scientific experiment, if you will.
The US Constitution and the US Bill of Rights are founded upon the principle of “living documents”, allowing policies to change in order to meet the greater good of the people. Yet the framework of our government remains intact. Amendments are designed as legal and legitimate alterations of our founding papers, promoting a growth of governmental understanding of ever changing needs. This would not be the case if our Democracy was not built upon this scientific theory.
Even with the founding principles of “all men are created equal”, our founding papers were not suited well enough to promote that notion. Prior to the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868, our founding papers were interpreted as only granting freedom to Caucasian males. Blacks and women were not accorded with the same equality of freedoms as that of a Caucasian male. As science has not proven Caucasian males to have a superiority, thus it has proven that other ethnicities or gender are equal in all respects to Caucasian males. Thus our Constitution was amended to preclude the exceptions, reinforcing the notion that “all men (mankind) are created equal”.
The 18th Amendment is another experiment, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors. This experiment was to be a solution to the nation’s poverty, crime, violence, and other ills and was embraced by tens of millions of Americans. Unfortunately, Prohibition not only failed in its promises but actually created additional serious and disturbing social problems throughout society. With the failure of the prohibition experiment, the 21st Amendment corrected this wrong.
Our founding papers are founded upon the belief that human reasoning is enough to govern its citizenry, and we have been experimenting with this notion ever since. Our Democracy is based on laws to protect the well being of its citizenry, not to promote religious or monarchial doctrines. Our government is based upon scientific experimentation to best serve the people, not to subjugate non-Caucasian males.
Prior to the 14th Amendment, States alone determined the qualifications of Citizenry, prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without due process, and requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people. In 1833, though many State’s Constitutions, are modeled after the United States Constitution and federal laws, those state constitutions did not necessarily include provisions comparable to the Bill of Rights. Thus after determining the experiment of States Rule failed, the 14th Amendment was ratified to provide equal freedoms to all American citizenry, regardless of which state one resides in.
Yet the Constitutionalists of today and the Tea Party Movement want to take us back to only the original Constitution and Bill of Rights. They choose to ignore the progress made of the other Amendments, which have proven to be beneficial to the American populace. They deny that our Democracy is based on what George Washington termed the “Great Experiment”. They denounce the notion of a “Living Document” and scientific experimentation of governorship. They rely on their interpretation of the intention of the founding fathers, not based upon fact or evidence, but rather out of beliefs. This is an anti-intellectual argument thrust upon the intellectual experiment that human reasoning is the best basis for any government. They deny that our Democracy is based on the “greatest experimentation of government”. Their claims to the original intent of our Founding Fathers is not founded in the same intellectual ideals of our Founding Fathers, and thus are hypocritical at best.