The Rights Of The People

What ideals of American Democracy can be found in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble of the Constitution? What are these documents trying to tell the world? Has the U.S. remained true to these ideals?

The Constitution and Declaration of Independence guarantee us the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today, however, we need to ask if the government really gives those rights.

The Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution are very important documents to all the citizens in the United States of America. They both contain statements about equality among all people. Equality for women falls under this category. For a 130 years after the Constitution was written, women in most of the United States could neither vote nor hold political office. It took time and effort for women nation wide to gain this basic right of citizenship.

During most of the nation's history, social and economic discrimination against women also was both accepted and legal. Not until 1971 did the Supreme Court rule that a law based on classification by sex violated the "equal protection" clause of the 14th Amendment. Today women have come a long way and have the same rights as men. If women continue to strive for total equality ( everyone has the same equal rights), then some day we might be able to be considered equal with men and no longer totally discriminated against.

Segregation is another huge problem in our society today. For years, America has been a country of segregation. In other words, blacks and whites were divided. Most of the discrimination was directed towards blacks. Schooling was the same way. All white schools were top quality. They had the best books, and most highly educated people. All black schools on the other hand were located in the poor housing parts of town. Their books were passed to them when they no longer were good or needed. The teachers were educated, but most of them had only tenth grade education. Laws were later passed, and schools, restaurants and water fountains were no longer segregated. Although segregation ended in 1954 after the case of Brown vs Board of Education, we still have people who think that whites are superior and are to be separated from blacks, and this may never change.

The Declaration and the Preamble to the Constitution guarantee us the rights of basic equality and are very important to all citizens in the United States. Some day, hopefully, every one will be considered equal to everyone no matter what they look like, but until then we have to keep striving for equality.

Lindsey Itell
Jason O.
Austin S.
Terillie H.

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