Kicking A Lion

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What is a Constitutional Democracy?

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The United States of America is a constitutional democracy.

 

What does that mean? Basically, the government is designed to uphold the will of majority, but, at the same time, protect minorities. These constitutional protections of the powerless are an extremely important point in maintaining a balanced and fair nation.

What will follow is the exact wording of the amendments, then the explanation of the amendment.

Fourteenth Amendment: Citizenship Rights: Ratified July 9, 1868

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

 

This amendment was created following the Civil War, with the anticipation that the recently freed slaves would meet intense racial discrimination, particularly in Southern states. Note: “Nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Fifteenth Amendment: Race No Bar To Vote: Ratified February 3, 1870.

1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

 

This amendment ensures recently freed slaves (as this was immediately following the Civil War) the right to vote and be treated equally in the process.
Nineteenth Amendment: Women’s Suffrage: Ratified August 18, 1920

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
This amendment gave women the right to vote, thus eliminating inequality due to gender.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

 

Twenty-Fourth Amendment: Poll Tax Barred: Ratified January 23, 1964

1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

 

This amendment was designed to treat African Americans as equals by eliminating the poll tax, which could be a financial barrier to minorities.

Now, America, where are the protections of the last minority, the GLBT community?

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Written by kickingalion

November 10, 2008 at 4:45 pm

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