Discussion: Voices of Democracy
The documents created at the inception of American democracy trace their lineage to the Magna Carta signed by King John of England in 1215. The Magna Carta was written by King John’s Barons to protect their rights and property from the King. They forced the King to affix his seal to the document under threat of civil war. The American colonists believed they were the inheritors of those rights from the King of England and as a result the Magna Carta was an inspiration for the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, wrote about every man’s fundamental right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The framers of the United States Constitution sought to design a system of government that would help make the ideals of the Declaration of Independence a reality. Today, United States Supreme Court justices refer to the Constitution as “the supreme law of the land” for guidance as they attempt to adjudicate modern-day conflicts. Much of the influence and authority of the Supreme Court rests in the interpretation of the original concepts and principles of the Constitution.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Review the Declaration of Independence in this week’s Learning Resources. Focus on the democratic principles outlined in the document.
- Review the transcript of the Constitution of the United States in this week’s Learning Resources. Consider the relationship between the principles summarized in the Constitution and those detailed in the Declaration of Independence.
- Review the article “Magna Carta and Its American Legacy” in this week’s Learning Resources. Think about how the Magna Carta influenced concepts and principles in founding documents of democracy.
- Peruse the Supreme Court of the United States website and review arguments for current cases.
- Select a democratic concept or principle that is represented in the Declaration of Independence and/or the Constitution.
- Think about where and how your selection appears in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, and how it might be used by a Supreme Court justice in a Supreme Court case. If you live outside the United States, how do you think this democratic principle might affect the court system in your country?
This is the question:
Post an analysis of the democratic concept or principle represented in the Declaration of Independence and/or the Constitution you selected for this Discussion and an explanation of why you selected it.Explain how the concept or principle might be used by a Supreme Court justice in a modern-day Supreme Court case to adjudicate a current conflict.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learn