Revolution and Constitution
The British occupation in America was marked by abuses and power control. Like other countries colonized, the laws have been in favor of the citizens of the colonizers and less favoring the citizens of the colonized country. The basic rights of the Americans were impaired as a result of controlling the government by the colonizers. The oppressions, however, did not last that long. Several Americans have fought for their freedom concomitant to their rights. The colonists, on the other hand, have finally addressed the cries of the Americans.
There are various grievances raised by the Colonists against the British government. Eventually, these grievances have been inculcated in the Constitution in order to secure it and ensure obedience from the Empire. Furthermore, the provisions expressly stated in the Constitution in response to the grievances were for the purpose of establishing and protecting the rights of the American citizens.
The first of the major grievances of the Colonists is the respect to life, liberty and property. This grievance has been inculcated and expanded in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. By virtue of the provision, the Constitution has explicitly provided that the state cannot deprive a person of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law (U. S. Constitution Online, 2009). From the words of the Colonists, the life, liberty and property of the Americans were never surrendered to the Empire and so it should not be taken from them without their consent (Murphy). The Constitution, on the other hand, has expanded the right to include rights against self-incrimination, double jeopardy, indictment by grand jury, just compensation, and due process. Notably, Fifth Amendment is covered by the Bill of Rights.
The second major grievance states, “they have a right peaceably to assemble, consider of their grievances, and petition the king; and that all prosecutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for the same, are illegal” (Murphy). These particular rights have been expanded and stated in the First Amendment. Under the provision, the Congress is not authorized to curtail the rights of the citizens to peaceably assemble and petition the government. In addition, the Constitution has expanded the right to include right to expression, press, and of religion (U. S. Constitution Online, 2009). Notably, under the Colonists version, acts curtailing the right to assemble and petition the king are considered illegal (Murphy).
Remarkably, the citizens’ right to legislation and representation has been raised by the Colonists as the third major grievance (Murphy). In the version of the Colonists, they have included the commercial activities and taxation. But the important right considered in the Colonists version is the right to representation. Under the Constitution, the right to representation is best expressed in the right of the citizens to vote. By voting, the citizens can actively participate in legislation by choosing their representatives. Furthermore, the right of the citizens to vote has been an expression of respect as to the role of the citizens in the political aspect.
The last grievance would be the independence of the constituent branches of the legislature (Murphy). As to the Constitution, the principle has been applied in the three branches of the government. By virtue of Article 1 to 3, each branch has been specifically defined. The unique duties and responsibilities of each branch have also been specified. More importantly, the three braches exist independent of each other. Hence, the principle of checks and balances has been established.
There has been various grievances raised by the Colonists, however, only four has been stated. It can be observed that the four grievances stated have been dealt with by the Constitution. In addition, the Constitution did not only expressly establish the rights; instead, it even expanded the scope of the rights. Finally, provisions have also been added to preserve the freedom that the citizens ought to enjoy in a democratic country.
Murphy, G. Uncle Fed’s Tax Board. (2004). Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.unclefed.com/EduStuff/HistDocs/resolves.html
U. S. Constitution Online. (2009). The United States Constitution. Retrieved March 16, 2009 from http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html