Political Trust & Distrust 19

Free course. One or two paragraphs per day.

Constitutions are like fortresses. Even the best fortresses will fall apart if they are not constantly defended from attacks and the ravages of time.  In the case of constitutions, it falls to each of us, and the leaders we elect, to make sure our Constitutions are well defended and are adapted to changing times.

There has been a constant battle, right from the start, between those who would preserve, and those who would weaken, the foundations of our Republic. By way of example, just eight years after the Bill of Rights was ratified, Congress passed a Sedition Act in 1798, out of fear of a war with France. The Sedition Act was utterly contrary to the 1st Amendment: it permitted the prosecution of individuals who voiced or printed what the government deemed malicious. Fourteen Republicans, mainly journalists, were prosecuted. Some imprisoned. In another example, the first attempt by a politician to choose his voters (it should be the other way around) took place in 1812 with the first gerrymandered voting district. Slavery was permitted in many states until its abolition in 1865 per the 13th Amendment, following a bloody civil war. Jim Crow laws took away many liberties meant to be guaranteed to formerly enslaved people and their descendants. These examples are just a few from many throughout our history. There will be more. 

Excerpted from Political Trust & Distrust, Part 1 of 2

Image: Fort Knox, Kentucky. Photographer unknown.

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