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25 May 2014

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Chris

I just wanted to dispute your characterization of the 3/5 Compromise. Your comment re: African Americans was both anachronistic (obviously, nobody used that term as we now use it during the era) and factually incorrect. While all slaves were, of course, Africans by ancestry, not all Africans were slaves. Any free blacks in America were, according to the Constitution, to be counted as full citizens.

This is not to whitewash the prevailing attitudes in the South, which, day by day, were continuing to get worse and worse for the black population. Nor was the North much better in many regards (though the people who had the least racist attitudes tended to be concentrated in the North, of course).

Of course, if you're referring to the fact that the 3/5 compromise is still technically in the Constitution, then you do have a narrow point. However, its not a very valid one, since there are no 'all other persons' anymore, after the 14th Amendment.

Thomas

As someone from Europe, I have to say that we always find the utter, often fanatical reverence that America has for its constitution fascinating. I mean - I'm quite a neurotic person, and used to be quite obsessive about sticking to principles, so I can understand why - in a Roman-esque way - by pointing to the constitution as this glorious foundation of the state, you can assure that you are as virtuous as your historical idols ever were...

But I don't feel like it actually gives you any more security in the laws of how the land is governed than we have in Europe. Things are ruled constitutional or unconstitutional by a Supreme Court that is heavily politicized. The document is open to interpretation, especially when it comes to new technology - the Founding Fathers would have accused the NSA of searches and seizures without a warrant, but it's still supposedly seen as constitutional as time permits

I think it's a good document, mostly, but more lipservice is paid to it than actual service

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