In 1987, Americans celebrated the bicentennial, or 200th anniversary, of the signing of the Constitution of the United States. This document, which has served as "the Supreme Law of the Land" for more than two centuries, is the world's oldest written constitution still in use.
The United States Constitution is a system of basic laws and principles that defines the rights of American citizens and sets limits on what the government can and cannot do. It provides the framework for the federal (national) government and establishes a system of federalism, by which responsibilities are divided between the national government and the states' governments.
One of the important principles on which the Constitution is based is the separation of powers, which divides power between the three separate branches of the federal government. The legislative branch (represented by Congress) has the power to create laws; the executive branch (represented by the president and his advisers) has the power to enforce laws; and the judicial branch (represented by the Supreme Court and other federal courts) has the power to dismiss or reverse laws that it determines are "unconstitutional."
Why the Constitution Was Written
When the United States won its independence from England in 1781, a majority of Americans felt a stronger allegiance to their individual states than to their new country. Most people did not wish to create a strong national government, far away from their homes, over which they felt they would have little or no control -- they had just fought a long and bitter war to free themselves from such a government. In response to these suspicions, leaders organized the new American government according to a document known as the Articles of Confederation. The Articles gave each state a great deal of independence and represented little more than a league of friendship between them.
The main purpose of the Articles was to establish a system by which the states could co-operate if they needed to defend themselves against a foreign enemy. The Articles established a Congress that could raise an army and a navy, but only when the states gave permission. Congress also had the authority to issue and borrow money and to handle foreign and Indian affairs. Congress could also pass laws, yet it did not have the power to make the states obey them. Nor was it able to control citizen uprisings, such as Shays' Rebellion, which occurred from 1786 to 1787. Farmers in western Massachusetts staged violent protests against their state government. As a result of this and other similar revolts, many people began to feel that a stronger national government might be necessary after all.
In 1786 leaders in Virginia passed a resolution calling for delegates from the 13 states to meet in Annapolis, Maryland, to discuss the nation's problems. Their goal was to amend (change) the Articles to make the national government more effective. But only twelve representatives from five states attended this Annapolis Convention, so they resolved to call another meeting the following year.
The Constitutional Convention
On May 14, 1787, delegates from twelve of the states (all except Rhode Island) began to gather in Philadelphia, and the Constitutional Convention opened in Independence Hall on May 25th. In attendance were many remarkably talented scholars, philosophers, war leaders, and politicians. Alexander Hamilton, representing New York, was largely responsible for arranging the Constitutional Convention. Benjamin Franklin, representing Pennsylvania, freely offered the incomparable wisdom of his 81 years. Gouverneur Morris, also from Pennsylvania, headed up the committee that actually wrote the Constitution. George Washington, from Virginia, took the chair as president of the convention. And James Madison, also from Virginia, earned the nickname "Father of the Constitution" because time and again his brilliant ideas and tireless energy kept the convention moving toward its goal.
Almost immediately after the convention opened, a struggle developed between the delegates of the large and small states as to what form the new government should take. The more populous states supported the Virginia Plan, which proposed that representation within the government should be based on the size of a state's population. The plan was designed to give states with large populations a proportionately large share of decision-making power. Less populous states, however, supported the New Jersey Plan, by which every state, regardless of size, would have the same representation within the government.
The convention came to a standstill until the delegates from Connecticut devised an ingenious way to settle the dispute. The Connecticut Compromise (also known as the Great Compromise) called for the creation of a bicameral (two-house) legislature, or Congress. One of the two houses of the new Congress (the House of Representatives) would be elected according to the states' relative populations. The other house (the Senate) would give equal voice to each state no matter what its size. Once this breakthrough had occurred, the delegates agreed more readily on most of the remaining issues.
On September 17, 1787, the Constitution was signed by 39 of the original 55 delegates. Several had left the convention altogether. Three others — Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts and George Mason and Edmund Randolph of Virginia — refused to sign because they lacked confidence in the document's ability to rule the nation. But although no one realized it at the time, the document the delegates signed that day not only gave rise to the government of a new nation, but became a symbol of hope for oppressed peoples all over the world.
Ratifying the Constitution
The Constitution was signed by most of the delegates who created it. Yet the task still remained for the states' governments to approve it. The Constitution itself specified that 9 of the 13 states would have to ratify the document before it could become effective.
Delaware had the honor of being the first state to approve the Constitution on December 7, 1787. But the remaining drive for ratification was far from easy. In three of the largest states — Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia — the contest was close. And the founders knew that the new government would have no chance of succeeding without the support of these large states. So they mounted a campaign in defense of the Constitution by publishing a series of essays in New York newspapers. These essays, which came to be known as The Federalist, were written under the name Publius, a pen name adopted by the authors James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay.
People who opposed the Constitution, known as anti-federalists, launched a campaign to defeat ratification, believing the Constitution would make the national government too powerful. But mostly they objected that the document did not contain a bill of rights, which would guarantee citizens certain privileges that the government could never take away from them. Anti-federalists published their own series of essays, under such pen names as Brutus, to discourage ratification.
In response to the opposition, John Hancock at the Massachusetts ratifying convention proposed that a bill of rights be added as the first group of amendments to the Constitution. Ratification in Massachusetts and almost all the rest of the uncommitted states depended on the understanding that adopting a bill of rights would be the new government's first order of business.
On June 21, 1788, the Constitution went into effect when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document. New York and Virginia followed suit soon thereafter, thus ensuring the new government would have the support it needed to succeed.
Amending the Constitution
The first Congress to conduct business under the authority of the new Constitution met in New York City on March 4, 1789. The issue of a bill of rights was proposed at once, and the new government began following constitutional procedures to change, or amend, the document. According to the Constitution itself, amendments must be approved by at least two thirds of the members of each house of Congress and by three quarters of the states. (There is also an alternate amendment process that has never been used.)
In 1791, the first ten amendments, collectively known as the Bill of Rights, were added to the Constitution. These ten amendments define and protect the rights of the American people. Each of the 16 amendments that followed over the course of the next two centuries reflects, in its own way, the needs and desires of the ever-changing American society. The power to amend the Constitution is the primary reason the document has been able to survive the turbulent changes throughout the past two hundred years.
L. Sandy Maisel
Professor of Government
Copyright © 2003 Grolier Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.
Republic Day is an important day for the people of India, so we are celebrating it on January 26, 1950 every year. Come, through this essay, make our children aware about the history associated with it. These are written in very simple words, which will be able to easily understand the children, and it will be available on the Internet for different purposes with the word boundaries. Here you can find some essays on republic day in English language for 100 words, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300 and 400 words.
Essay 1 on Republic Day (100 words)
January 26, 1950, is celebrated every year with great fanfare this year, because India's constitution came into existence on this day. On this special day of January 26, 1950, the Indian Constitution replaced the Government of India Act 1935 as government documents. This day has been declared a national holiday by the Government of India. People of India celebrate this great day in their own way. On this day, parade is organized on the Rajpath (India Gate) of New Delhi in front of the President of India.
Essay 2 on Republic Day (150 words)
Since India first achieved its constitution, since January 26, 1950, India is celebrating Republic Day every year. Republic Day is very important in Indian history because it tells us about every struggle with freedom. On the same day in 1930, those who fought for India's independence had given this undertaking in Lahore with Ravi river to get the complete independence of India (Full Swaraj). Which was correct on August 15, 1947
On January 26, 1950, our country was declared a universal, secular, socialist and democratic Republic, that is, the rule of India itself, no external power would rule over it. With this announcement, the flag was hoisted by the President of India on the Rajpath of Delhi, along with the parade and a celebration in whole of India with the national anthem.
Essay 3 on Republic Day (200 words)
Republic Day is also called on 26th January which is celebrated every year. This day matters to every Indian because on this day India was declared a Republican country and at the same time, after the long struggle of independence, the 'Constitution' was received. India became independent on August 15, 1947 and after half a year it was established as a democratic republic.
After the independence, on 28 August 1947, a draft committee was asked to draft the constitution of India's permanent constitution. On November 4, 1947, the draft of the Indian Constitution was dated. In the house under the chairmanship of BR Ambedkar. It took almost three years to fully prepare, and finally, with the implementation of the clock awaiting the end of January 26, 1950, the promise of complete Swaraj was also honored.
In India, Republic Day is celebrated as a national holiday, when people celebrate this great day in their own way, such as watching news, participating in school discussions, or any competition related to India's independence Participation in. e.t.c. On this day, a big program is being organized by the Indian government on the new government's Rajpath, where the President of India is organized on the Indian flag after the inauguration of the parrot cannon and after the national anthem.
Essay 4 on Republic Day (250 words)
Every year India celebrates its Republic Day every year on 26th January as the Constitution of India came into force on this day. We celebrate this as a national festival and this day has been declared a national holiday. Apart from this, Gandhi Jayanti and Independence Day have also been declared a national holiday. On January 26, 1950, after the Indian Constitution was enacted, our country became a democratically republican country.
On this great day, a great parade is done by the Indian Army, which generally starts from Vijay Chowk and ends at India Gate. During this time, the President is given with the display of state-of-the-art weapons and tanks by three Indian Army (land, water and navel), which is a symbol of our national power. After the army parade, all the states of the country are presenting their culture and traditions through the glance. After this, like the colors of our national flag (saffron, white and green) by the Indian Air Force, rain like a rain from the sky.
On this day students celebrate this festival by performing various activities while performing parade, sports, drama, speech, dance, singing, essay writing, social campaigns, playing the role of freedom fighters in schools on this day. Every Indian should pledge to make and make their country peaceful on this day. And finally each student goes home happily with sweets and snacks.
Essay 5 on Republic Day (300 words)
Every year in India, January 26 is known as Republic Day which is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm by the people of India. It is celebrated to give importance to the importance of being a universal democratic republic, which was declared on 26th January 1950 after the implementation of the Constitution of India. It is celebrated with the British rule to remember the historic independence of India. Gazetted holiday has been declared by the Indian government all over the country on this day. This is celebrated by students in schools, colleges and educational institutions throughout the year.
The Government of India organizes a program every year in National Capital, New Delhi, where a special parade is organized at India Gate. In the morning, people are gathering on the Rajpath to see this great event. In it, three armies begin their parade from Vijay Chowk, in which various types of weapons and ammunition are also done. Army bands, NCC cadets and police forces display their art through various arts. In the states, this festival is celebrated very well in the presence of the Governor.
To show the existence of "unity in diversity" after independence in India, different states of the country also display their culture, traditions and progress through special prayers. Public dances are presented by people by singing, dance and instrumental instruments. At the end of the program, flowers of three colors (kesar, white and green) are done by the Air Force, which displays the national flag in the sky. To show peace, there are some colorful balloons left in the sky.
Essay 6 on Republic Day (400 words)
Our Mother India was the slave of the British rule, during which the Indian people had compelled to comply with the laws made by the British rule, after the long struggle by the Indian freedom fighters, India attained independence on August 15, 1947. Sixteen years later, India implemented its constitution and declared itself as a democratic republic. About 2 years 11 months and 18 days on January 26, 1950, our Parliament passed the Indian Constitution. With the declaration of itself as a sovereign, democratic, republican, people of India celebrated Republic Day on January 26th.
It is a matter of honor to celebrate Republic Day for people living in foreign countries and Indians. This day has special significance and it is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy by organizing many activities and people. People often wait to be part of this day. The preparation of the Republic Day celebration begins at least one month ago and during this period, the movement of people on the India Gate is prohibited for safety reasons so that any kind of criminal incidents can be stopped before the occurrence. . This ensures that the safety of the people present there is also on that day.
On this day, special arrangements are made on this festival in the capital of all states and in the national capital New Delhi. The program begins with the flag by President Rohan and the National Anthem. After this, exhibition of parade activities, state exhibition, award distribution, march past etc. by three armies is exhibit. And finally the whole atmosphere revolves around "Jana Gana Mana Gan".
School and college students are very excited to celebrate this festival and start preparing for it a month ago. On this day students are awarded prizes, awards and certificates for outstanding performance in academia, sports or other areas of education. Families celebrate this day with their friends, family and children and participate in programs organized at social places. Before 8 a.m. in the morning, the program on Rajpath gets ready to watch on TV. On this day everyone should make a promise that they will protect the constitution of their country, maintain the goodwill and peace of the country and help in the development of the country.