The ideas of justice and freedom are rooted in the American founding documents. The Constitution of the United States was written in 1787, approved in 1788, and began to operate in 1789 (Novotny, 2020). It is a complex document that can be considered from the liberal, revolutionary, and conservative perspectives. Overall, the Constitution of the United States is crucial to developing the country’s democracy, establishing laws, and protecting the fundamental rights of citizens.
A couple of years after the Revolutionary War, the country’s leaders began to fear that it was on the verge of collapse. It was decided that a Grand Convention will be organized, where state delegates will work on the revision of America’s first Constitution, the Articles of Confederation. The Convention assembled in May 1787 in Philadelphia, and, after three months of debate, the Constitution was kneaded into its eventual form (National Archives, 2021). In September, it was signed by 38 delegates; however, for the document to become law, it had to be ratified. According to History.com (2021), five states ratified the Constitution in December 1787, and in June 1788, after its ratification by the ninth state, it was agreed that government under the document could begin. The Constitution’s creation was an extraordinary achievement because the delegates were able to overcome their differences and contribute to the formation of a powerful central government. The document’s significance and global impact are evident as it helped America become what it is today and defined other countries’ approaches to law and constitution-making.
The role of liberalism in the American Constitution cannot be overestimated. As stated by Kaufman (2019), liberalism, on the foundations of which the Constitution is built, helps it strengthen the political spirit of the nation and meet the political needs of society. The concepts that became the document’s basis are the core concepts of classical liberalism, which has such benefits as civil liberties, economic growth, and individualism, and such drawbacks as limited governmental control and regulations. When it comes to liberal democracy, its advantages include an emphasis on equality, increased tolerance, and balanced power of the government. However, there are such disadvantages as a lack of management of internal and external affairs and market inconsistency.
The revolutionary nature of the US Constitution was in it becoming distinguished from the government, while, in the English tradition, the document was very much related to it. In addition to that, the Civil War, as per Lincoln’s words, led to “a new birth of freedom” for the country (Beeman, n.d.). Consequently, as was decided during the drafting process, one of the Constitution’s purposes was to secure this new liberty’s blessings. The purpose of the revolutionary approach was in the document helping create a fundamental law, in accordance with which a powerful but free state could be governed. The Constitution’s ambiguous nature, however, lies in the fact that it promotes revolution with its essence but encourages change with methods less radical than those suited for a revolution.
Constitutional conservatism, in its modern sense, is maintaining a balance between principle and good sense. As noted by Welty (2018), it means the conservation of constitutional values and the simultaneous upholding of libertarianism and belief in the necessity of compromise. This means that liberty is emphasized and fundamental human rights are promoted. Moreover, when it comes to the American law system, many believe that liberal democratic law is not sustainable without conservative traditions such as continuity and stability. Therefore, it is important to conserve the US Constitution: the values it defends are central to the direction in which the country wishes to move.
To conclude, the Constitution of the United States is a crucial document combining liberal, revolutionary, and conservative features. All of these played a significant role in the establishment of the core values of the American nation, defining the direction of its further development. The Constitution of the United States is critical for establishing laws, guaranteeing citizens’ fundamental rights, and developing democracy and liberalism.
Beeman, R.R. (n.d.). The Constitutional Convention of 1787: A revolution in government. National Constitution Center.
History.com. (2021). Constitution.
Kaufman, E. (2019). The new legal liberalism. The University of Chicago Law Review, 86(1), 187-215.
National Archives. (2021). The Constitution: How did it happen?
Novotny, H. (2020). Understanding sovereignty and the US Constitution: A view from the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention. Undergraduate Review, 15(1), 234-255.
Welty, D. (2018). OPINION: Constitutional conservatism differs from typical right. Daily Toreador.