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Letter to the Editor: Constitution isn't a perfect document

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Many letters to this newspaper seem to think the founding fathers had it all right when they wrote the Constitution. Wrong!

Other writers believe the Constitution was inspired by God. Well, that’s debatable. What is clear is that it was written by a group of privileged white men, who took care to preserve their own privilege.

The Constitution written more than 200 years ago denied people of different races, and women the right to vote. Over the years, the Constitution became so out of date that it had to be amended 27 times.

The Constitution of 1787 included a phrase that for purposes of representation in Congress, enslaved blacks in a state would be counted as three-fifths of the number of white inhabitants of that state. That no longer applied after 1865, when the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery was passed.

It took our leaders five more years to grant the right to vote to former slaves. Finally in 1870, the 15th Amendment prohibited denying the right to vote based on race, color, or being a former slave. Women were finally given the right to vote after the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920.

In 1919 the 18th Amendment prohibited the manufacturing or the sale of alcohol within the United States. After prohibition proved to be a failure, that Amendment was repealed in 1933.

The voting age was lowered to 18 after the 26th Amendment was passed in 1971, thus giving soldiers who were fighting in Vietnam the right to vote.

As you can see, the Constitution was never a perfect document because it had to be amended many times.

Beware of people who praise the founding fathers and the Constitution too much. Could it be that they want to take us back to an earlier day, when women and blacks were denied the right to vote?

JUDITH MESKO

Rocky Mount

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