The Bill of Rights As the U.S. Constitution Living Document: Analytical Essay

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Is the U.S. Constitution a living document or a black and white document? That has been a question for centuries. I personally think that it is a living document and that is changes with the country. If you can add information to it than it can adapt to your current situation. People argue that the constitution is black and white because the founding fathers who wrote it could not have possibly think that the country would change the way it did. People say that it is living because of how the Amendments still apply to the country now as much as it did then (Bomboy, 2018).

The Bill of Rights is in the Constitution and the Amendments were and always will be in the Constitution. The Bill of Rights gives us all of our rights and Amendments. Without it we would most likely still have slavery, would not have private property, would not be able to say no to quartering soldiers, and we would not have the freedom of speech. We could have have the freedom of petition, religion, or assembly. The Bill of Rights is a very important part of our country (Hamish, 2014).

The Constitution is a living document because it changes with our country. Even though most of the Amendments were made a long time ago does not mean that they do not apply anymore. Like slavery for example just because it was abolished in 1865 does not change anything for today. You cannot buy somebody and say you are my slave do this and that or get tortured. People do not understand that and think it is a black and white document (Hornburger, 2014).

The U.S. Constitution could be a black and white document. This is why, the Constitution has not been changed in so long that it should not be considered a living breathing document. The last time it had something done to it was in 1992 and it is now 2019. It has been 26 years since anything has happened in addition to the Constitution (Martinez, 2015).

The Constitution could be a living document because people do not like to understand that the Constitution does not deserve to be called a black and white document because of the fact that the Constitution was written so long ago. The Constitution was first written in 1787 and people say that some old guys could not possibly have predicted the way the country was going to evolve like it did. I agree with that, but the country still stands under the Constitution and the rights it gave us a U.S. citizens (Strauss, 2010).

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Without the constitution we would not be able to do anything really. Here is a list of 10 things that we are able to do with the constitution. 1. You get to vote in the upcoming election (if you are 18 and registered.) 2. You can go to any church you choose. 3. You can say (and write) what you want. 4. You can own a firearm. 5. You can gather in a group and participate in a protest. 6. Your property cannot be searched without a warrant. 7. You cannot be forced to testify against yourself. 8. You cannot be discriminated against. 9. Your required pay income tax. 10. You can have an alcoholic beverage (if you are of age) (Charter College, 2019).

If the constitution had stayed the same as when it was first written in 1777 then all laws after the 10th amendment would be rendered useless. This could cause problems because slavery would still be a problem and there wouldn’t be equal rights. These two problems alone could cripple America but, there is also probably going to be more problems in the near future. There is also the fact that there are some useless amendments that were added to the constitution, as David A. Strauss says ”The most important amendments were added to the Constitution almost a century and a half ago, in the wake of the Civil War, and since that time many of the amendments have dealt with relatively minor matters.”. I agree with this quote because most but, not all of the amendments added to the constitution after the civil war have been minor (Zycher, 2016).

I think that the amendments added to the constitution should be important and the amendments that deal with stuff like when the president's term begins should be on separate documents. Another example of this is when the congressional pay raise is. It is amendments like this that should be put onto another separate document because it does not have to deal with the people. Instead, it has to deal with the government like President, and judges. Also if the constitution is kept the same as when it was first made then it can prevent bad amendments from being passed such as if a president somehow gets an amendment to pass where once president they serve until death. This could be extremely devastating to our country if something like this happens (Carter, 2018).

This is why it is very hard to pass an amendment though and it has to go through a ⅔ vote in both houses which is usually very rare. This would be very hard to rig to help pass a law such as the president serves until death. This could change our country into a dictatorship and this is possible but, it would just be very hard to do. This is one of the pros of having the constitution stay the same as it was written. Also though it is very hard to get the actual amendment passes because not only does it need a ¾ vote in both houses but, it also needs a ¾ vote from the states or 38 states. This makes it as close to impossible as possible but that means it could still be possible (Bialik, 2018).

There is also another problem with having the constitution as a living document. This problem is that someone can undo any amendment. For example, someone can try and prohibit the freedom of speech amendment if it got past the two-thirds vote. This would have severe backlash and instead of peaceful protests, you might have people start to riot. Also, people would be getting made because they were previously given the right to say what they want and that is now prohibited (Thornton, 1991).


  1. Bomboy, S. (2018, March 28). What does it take to repeal a constitutional amendment? -National Constitution Center. Retrieved from
  2. Hamish, M. (2014, February 19). What if the Constitution was Never Written? Retrieved from
  3. Hornburger, J. G. (2014, January 22). If We Had No Constitution and Bill of Rights – The Future of Freedom Foundation. Retrieved from
  4. Martinez, M. (2015, March 29). What would happen if we didn’t have the bill of rights? Retrieved from
  5. Strauss, D. A. (2010, September 27). The Living Constitution | University of Chicago Law School. Retrieved from
  6. Charter College. (2019). 10 Ways the U.S. Constitution Affects Your Life. Retrieved from
  7. U.S. Constitution. (2010, August 10). Constitutional FAQ Answer #93 - Retrieved from
  8. B. Zycher (February 16, 2016) Precisely why should the Constitution not be a ‘living and breathing’ document?, Retrieved from,
  9. J. Carter, (May 14, 2018) Justice Scalia explains why the ‘living Constitution’ is a threat to America retrieved from,
  10. Bialik, K. (2018, May 11). Majority now say Supreme Court should interpret Constitution for today. Retrieved from
  11. Thornton, M. (1991, July 17). Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 157: Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure. Retrieved from
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