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Robin Cooper

APUS History
3rd Period
August 30, 2010

Essay Topic: “There is little dispute that the foundation of American Democracy can be
found in both the Declaration of independence and the U.S. Constitution. Which of the
two documents do you think is the most “relevant” for the 21st Century World?

I think the U.S Constitution is a more relevant document than the Declaration of
Independence is for the 21st century world. Our Constitution changes just like our
country does. The Constitution has amendments that have given us guidance for the
changing times that our country has gone through in the past and that we are going
through today. All of the amendments have a historical story behind them. The
Constitution changes as our world changes, from the 18th century to the 21st century.

The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of
the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
Government for a redress of grievances.” This amendment protects our right of freedom
of religion, press and expression. It was ratified December 15, 1791. The First
Amendment was written because citizens demanded a guarantee of this basic freedom.
Without the First Amendment, religious minorities could be persecuted, the government
might interfere with religion. This amendment is relevant in our 21st century world
because it protects the right to worship as a member of any religion we want, anywhere
we want and any time we want. The request in July 2010 to build a Muslim mosque two
blocks from where the World Trade Center was blown up September 11, 2001 is
protected by this amendment. Some people think that it would not be right to let the
mosque be built there, but the Constitution protects the right for them to build it
anywhere they want, even near Ground Zero in New York City.

The Twenty-Second Amendment states that the President can not serve more than two
consecutive four year terms. This amendment was passed after President Franklin
Roosevelt was elected to four consecutive terms. When he refused to run again after his
second term, George Washington had set a standard that all other presidents had
followed. President Franklin Roosevelt ran and was elected for his four terms: 1932,
1936, 1940, and 1944. According to historians, he was reelected to a fourth term because
most people thought it might not be good for us to have a new president while we were in
the middle of fighting World War II and Congress was determined once the war ended, to
make sure ensure that Washington's self-imposed two-term limit become law. The 22nd
Amendment passed Congress on March 21, 1947. It was ratified on February 27, 1951.
Changing presidents helps us to get new ideas and attitudes in office and makes sure that
America has only 8 years of the same administration, for better or worse.