Essay Example. European Influences on the United States Constitution

Published: 2023-02-15
Essay Example. European Influences on the United States Constitution
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  United States Europe Constitution Civil rights
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 694 words
6 min read

The constitution of the United States defines fundamental laws, principal organs of the federal government, and fundamental rights for American citizens. The United States wrote constitution, however, was the product of political compromise after a contentious debate on issues such as slavery, representation, and states' rights. Since the declaration of independence in 1776, the United States constitution has progressively evolved as the supreme law of the country. Currently, the US constitution is the basis of democracy, and critical concepts such as American citizenship, civic responsibilities, and the rights of the citizens. American citizens, thus, should protect and uphold the US constitution since it safeguards the country's sovereignty, besides being the source of their fundamental rights and responsibilities.

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The constitution and its European influence support American citizenship, among other components. The rights and responsibilities of American citizens stem from the constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. As enshrined in the supreme law, no one should deprive the citizens of fundamental rights that God, the creator bestowed to humanity. Initially, the idea that all citizens are equal originated from the Europeans, but the US later introduced it into its constitution during the enlightenment era. This European idea has influenced the provisions of the US constitution, particularly about citizenship, and human rights. The current constitution state that all the US nationals are equal and have a right to acquire citizenship from their states jurisdictions as long as they are living within the country (United States Constitution. Art. II).

The ideas of John Locke, an English philosopher, shaped the sections of the US constitution about citizenship and citizens' responsibilities. According to Locke, humanity is naturally independent, equal, and free, and thus no citizen can be deprived of this freedom (32). However, humankind has a responsibility and an obligation, per moral, divine, and natural law to support the human race and care for each other. In Locke's political theory, every individual has a right to own property. The same people, however, should be willing to surrender some of their natural rights to a central authority which protects their individual property (Locke 9).In this case, the US has incorporated Locke's idea into its constitution by establishing state and federal government to take care of citizen's property. During drafting the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson said that all people are equal, including Americans and colonialists (Jefferson 1). Jefferson borrowed an idea from Locke's political theory that people should unite against rulers that violate their liberty to protect their rights.

The US constitution has its foundation in the English Bill of Rights of 1689. The act declared human liberties and rights besides the due processes for settling the succession of the crown in England. Also, it stated that it is illegal for the king or the authority in power to suspend laws without the consent and approval of the legislature (English Bill of Rights. Act 1). Just like the king of England, the US president cannot suspend laws without the approval of parliament and cannot deprive the citizens of their liberties, rights, and freedom (US Constitution. Art. I).

Conclusively, the US constitution upholds the citizen's fundamental liberty, rights, and responsibilities. Thomas Jefferson borrowed political thoughts of European philosophers such as John Locke and information from historical documents such as the English Bill of Rights (1689). The nature and powers of the government have its foundation in the English Bill of Rights and political thoughts of European philosophers. Therefore, the components of citizen's rights and American citizenship has its support in the constitution and the European political ideas.

Works Cited

English Bill of Rights (1689). "An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown." Antonin Scalia Law School | Scalia Law School, 2013,

Jefferson, Thomas. "Declaration of Independence: Right to Institute New Government | Exhibitions." Library of Congress, 24 April. 2000, Accessed 15 September 2019.

Locke, John. The second treatise of civil government. Broadview Press, 2015, Accessed 15 September 2019.

US Constitution. Index Page - The U.S. Constitution Online -, 2019, Accessed 15 September 2019.

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