This brief paper discusses the ways in which the Constitution supports the Revolution and the ways it negates it; it also discusses slavery in connection with it. (2.5 pages; 1 source; MLA citation style)
The constitution was written as a means to unite a loose confederation of states into a nation, and as such it was an experiment unlike any other in the history of government. Because it was necessary to find a means to compromise so many different ideas, it supported some revolutionary ideas and negated others. It unfortunately also allowed the southern states to retain their slaves, thus setting in motion a conflict that would not be resolved for another 80 years.
The idea of the Revolution was that the American colonies should be able to govern themselves. They were separated by 3,000 miles from the government in England, and felt that they should have the right govern themselves. They also believed that every man should be able to determine his own future; the principle of equality is stated in the opening words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal…”
The Constitution did establish a self-governing nation, true, but the men who wrote the document were members of white, and wealthy: they were members of the elite. There were no African Americans, women or Native Americans among them. (Faragher, p. 197).
... they heavily maintained the principles of the United States Constitution, protected individual liberties of Americans, and provided equality of economic opportunity for all ... and domestic exchange. Furthermore, Jackson wanted to protect the common man from a powerful institution which was only led by few ...
So, although the idea was to create a nation that was truly representative, an elite framed the Constitution itself.
In addition, the Revolution was fought because the colonists didn’t want to have to live by laws they didn’t create. But in forming the new government, the Constitution of necessity constructed a representative democracy, in which one person represents many others. This would seem to run directly contrary to the reasons the Revolution was fought in the first place.
However, the Constitution does support the basic idea of the Revolution, which is to create a new nation.
Slavery was made a part of the Constitution because it was necessary to keep the states united and the process of creating the country moving forward. Among other things, the South, with its scarce population, wanted slaves counted as part of their population for purposes of representation, but excluded for tax purposes. They also wanted protection for the international slave trade, and the return of fugitive slaves from free states. All of these provisions are part of the document, though the word “slave” does not appear anywhere. Many of the delegates were upset by the inclusion of slavery but “…agreed with Madison, who wrote that ‘great as the evil is, a dismemberment of the union would be worse.’” (Faragher, p. 198).
The Constitution, though not perfect, has one great advantage: it is constantly evolving. The “Founding Fathers” wrote it so that it could be modified as the country grew, and that is possibly its greatest strength.
Faragher, John Mack, Buhle, Mari Jo, Czitrom, Daniel and Susan H. Armitage. Out of Many, Volume 1: To 1877. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000.