The Constitution was written to Secure Liberty for All Americans. Do You Agree or Disagree with This Statement?

In this paper, I will argue that the US Constitution was not written to secure liberty for all Americans. Firstly, I will argue that the framers of the Constitution systematically excluded non-white male citizens, such as African-Americans and Native-Americans, and women. Secondly, I will argue that the Constitution was inherently a slavery-saving and slavery-supporting document. Thirdly, I will point out to the fact that the Constitution was written by people who owned slaves, and thus, they could not logically have written a document aimed at securing liberty for all individuals. Fourthly, I will examine the Racial Contract theory and conclude that the US Constitution is a racial contract meant to keep all the non-white Americans subdued. I will therefore conclude that the US Constitution was not written to secure liberty for all Americans.

In this paragraph, I will argue that the Constitution was systematically drafted to exclude all people who were not white male residents of the United States. Firstly, we can take the example of African-Americans. The Constitution formally included the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The first 10 amendments also included various civil and political rights. However, as seen Dred Scott v. Sanford particularly stands out as in it, the Supreme Court emphatically proclaimed that the black person had no rights that the white person was bound to respect. Secondly, as per Watson, the legal regime the Constitution established and encouraged the decimation of Native Americans. Watson explained this by stating that the Native Americans could occupy land in the USA but they could not have titles to it since the their “right of occupancy” was subject to the US “right of discovery”. Thirdly, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) explains that, while the Constitution granted the right to vote for white men, the same was restricted for Indian-Americans and Black Americans. Fourthly, Jensen pointed out that women could not vote until the 1920s due to the entrenched patriarchy. Therefore, overall, it seems that the US Constitution excluded entire classes of people, and thus, it was not written to secure the liberty of all people.

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In this paragraph, I will argue that the Constitution was an inherently a slavery-saving and a slavery-supporting document. Firstly, Fredrick Douglas noted this in his speech “What to the Slave is the 4th of July” The Constitution drafters did not to stop or limit slavery practice, as explained by Professor Finkelman. Secondly, Wise explains that the Constitution drafters went included a provision in the Constitution that supported slavery explicitly in the third clause of Section 2 of Article IV. Moreover, Wise elucidates, the effect of this clause was legitimizing slavery in the entire territory of the United States by requiring runaway slaves to be returned to the states they had escaped from. Bibby, writing for the Wall Street Journal affirms that, a slave had to be returned regardless of the state they had escaped to, whether it was a free or slave state. Thirdly, as Finkelman explained, while a large part of the Constitution was deliberately ambiguous on the issue of slavery, it was operationally pro-slavery. For instance, the establishment of militia to quell insurrections in Section 8 of Article 1, although it did not mention slavery, implied that militia was to be later used as slave patrols. Fourthly, according to Blackmon, slavery continued into the 20th century in the form of convict leasing. Therefore, overall, it seems that the US Constitution did not aim at securing the liberty of all the people in the United States.

In this paragraph, I will argue that the Constitution was drafted, approved, and applied by the people who owned slaves. Firstly, Finkelman explains that out of the fifty-five delegates to the Constitutional Convention, almost half of them owned slaves in varying numbers, while Thomas Jefferson was openly racist and often cast aspersions on the intelligence of Blacks. It seemed that such people naturally wanted to keep the status quo as Bibby explains. Secondly, Furstenberg pointed out that George Washington, the first holder of the largest office (the Presidency) that the Constitution had established, owned more than 100 slaves. Thirdly, as Bernie Sanders noted while addressing students at Liberty University, the institutions that the Constitution had created such as Congress and the Supreme Court abetted, and, in some cases, openly supported slavery. Therefore, overall, it seems that the Constitution supported slavery and it could not have been claimed to be a document that aimed at liberating people. 

In this paragraph, I will argue that the US Constitution was an expression of the Racial Contract. Firstly, as explained by Mills, the Racial Contract was a tacit agreement between White people to abuse non-whites for the social and economic benefit of the whites. In the modern times, the best example of the Racial Contract is the US Constitution. Secondly, Mills explained that the drafters of the US Constitution established it as a way of preserving White Supremacist society in America. This was apparent in the exclusion of African-Americans and Native Americans from the citizenship in the early days of the United States. This is also a point that the Waldstreicher of The Atlantic makes. Thirdly, according to the Heritage Foundation, by Article 1 Section 2 proclaiming that non-white people were three-fifths of the White males, and thus, denigrating them to a sub-human status further confirmed racial contract theory. Therefore, overall, it seemed that the US Constitution was nothing more than a document that affirmed the Racial Contract, and thus, it could not have been aimed at liberating other people.

In this paper, I have argued that the US Constitution was not written to secure liberty for all Americans, and therefore, I disagreed with the statement in the title. Firstly, I argued that the Constitution systemically excluded African-Americans, Indian-Americans, and women from the political process. Secondly, I have argued that the Constitution was arguably a slavery-saving and slavery-supporting document. Thirdly, I have argued that the Constitution was written, applied, and enforced by the people who supported slavery, and thus, who could not logically have advocated liberty for slaves. Fourthly, I argued that the US Constitution was a modern-day manifestation of the Racial Contract. Therefore, I conclude that the Constitution was not written to secure liberty for all Americans whether or not it ended up doing so because that was not its original intention.

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