Challenges to the U.S. Constitution

Challenges to the U.S. Constitution

The U.S Constitution is known for stipulating fundamental rights and freedoms to which every citizen is entitled; nonetheless, significant changes have been made to the Constitution since it was created in the 1780s. According to Corbett et al. (2017), the Constitution was initially overtly biased as it was based on the viewpoint that property rights were the key determinant of political participation, a perspective that made it impossible for many citizens to either hold office or vote. More importantly, the Constitution upheld the notion that whites were superior and could in no way be considered equal to blacks. Such notions indicate that the Constitution was itself a huge barrier to democracy in the U.S.

Thankfully, the period between 1790 and 1820 witnessed a number of events that occasioned necessary changes to the Constitution. For example, the passing of the Bill of Rights in 1971 served to dilute the seemingly “dangerous concentration of power that threatened the rights and liberties of ordinary U.S. citizens” (Corbett et al., 2017 p.213). Contrary to the previous years where the Constitution seemed to favor only the wealthy, passing of the Bill of Rights outlined ten fundamental rights to which every citizen was entitled, his/her ethnicity or socioeconomic status notwithstanding.

Sharp political divides were witnessed in the US between 1790 and 1820, one of the main causes being the French Revolution. The execution of the King of France in 1793 caused further ideological divisions between Democratic-Republicans and Federalists in the US, with the former interpreting the killing as an indicator of the need to eliminate oppressive regimes. In other words, the French Revolution posed an obstacle to effective implementation of the Constitution as it caused sharp divisions among U.S. citizens.  A good illustration of this outcome is the rebellion witnessed in 1794 following government’s enforcing of the federal excise law. Opponents of this move are said to have “tarred and feathered federal officials… [and embarking on plans] to form an independent western commonwealth” (Corbett et al., 2017p.222). The government addressed this unrest by lowering the tax.


Corbett, P., Janssen, V., Lund, J., Pfannestiel, T., & Vickery, P. (2017). U.S. History.

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