Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Constitutional Amendments

While I think my favorite amendments are in the Bill of Rights, excluding those first 10 amendments, I know that the thirteenth amendment is extremely important. Section 1 of the thirteenth amendment says, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

This is my favorite because it should have been inherent in the Constitution from the beginning. How can one say they live in a free country where the individual’s rights are valued when their countrymen are in bondage simply because of the color of their skin? The thirteenth amendment is concise and to the point. It made all former slaves citizens of the United States. While I think it took much longer than is should have to have an amendment like this ratified, I am glad it finally was. The thirteenth amendment paved the way for the civil rights movement.

I do not like the sixteenth amendment. This is not because I think that taxes are wrong, as I know they are necessary for the functioning of a government. However I do believe that this amendment gives too much power into the hands of the National Government. The sixteenth amendment says that “the Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census of enumeration” (emphasis mine). These vague terms with all-encompassing implications, while good intended, seem too easily manipulated. Taxing income also seems to almost punish those who succeed in their businesses.

Thus I am so grateful for the thirteenth amendment, and I think its implications were huge. At the same time I do not appreciate the sixteenth amendment.