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Constitution Essay Winner

Gabriel Karam
7th Grade
William S. Cohen School, Bangor

"A Solid Foundation Beneath the Maine State Constitution"

The Maine State Constitution states the fundamental principles of guaranteed natural rights to the citizens of Maine, and outlines the authoritative powers of the state government.  In multiple aspects, the constitution reflects virtues which are honored in the state of Maine; for example, in Article I, Section I, as similarly proposed in the Federal Constitution, it is stated, “[a]ll people are born equally and independent.”  In Maine, it is a core value that people are not to be valued or judged according to their race, gender, religious beliefs, etcetera.  The Maine State Constitution makes it apparent that no one is to be discriminated against, and that Mainers have the right to a trial by jury, as stated in Section 20 of Article I: “[i]n all civil suits…the parties shall have a right to a trial by jury.”  In an impartial democracy, a trial by jury is necessary.  The Maine State Constitution therefore states that every person in Maine is to be treated equally, and is guaranteed the right to have a trial by jury in any civil suit.

In Section 3 of Article I, it is evident that individuals are guaranteed to have religious freedom and tolerance.  In Maine, political leaders endeavor to be just to various religions, and to not allow bias towards any religious group in the state.  In Article I, Section 3, the text states, “[a]ll individuals have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God.”  It also states, “no person shall be hurt…in that person’s liberty…for worshipping God in the manner…most agreeable to…that person’s…conscience.”  Mainers are allowed the right to worship God however they please; it is not mandatory for any person in Maine to acquire new methods of worship.  However individuals believe or practice their faith, according to the Maine State Constitution, levels of respect and certain rights are vital.  For example, employment can not be granted or terminated based on religious practices.

In Articles II and III of the Maine Constitution, information concerning voting and distribution of political authorities is displayed.  For example, in Section 2 of Article II of the Maine State Constitution, it is stated that voters are exempt from arrests due to their particular political views on Election Day.  As in the Federal level of government, there are divisions, or branches of government in Maine.  There is the executive branch, which consists of the current governor of Maine and his Cabinet; the Legislature, which is composed of the State Senate and the State House of Representatives; and the judicial branch, which consists of the state level court system.  No political authorities are to interfere or be involved in another branch of government.  Due to the separation of powers, no individual or branch of government can obtain an excess of power.  Power in the government of Maine is evenly distributed.

The Maine State Constitution enforces fair treatment and just rules for the benefit of the people; for example, in Section 8 of Article IX, it is stated that taxes are to be imposed fairly, and are to be divided evenly throughout the state of Maine.  In Section 1 Article VIII, Part Second, Mainers who reside in any city or town with an organized government have the right to modify specific rules in charters, which do not apply to state and national levels of governments, so that the charters apply to our current society, and are relevant to necessary different lifestyles.  In Section 1 of Article VIII, it is stated that the state legislature shall require towns to support public schools.  This excerpt from the Maine State Constitution, along with numerous other examples, demonstrates Maine’s high standards.  The state of Maine is not only supportive of and encouraging towards the education and success of its residents, but also encourages natural, unalienable rights for every person in Maine, through the use of a solid foundation established by its constitution.

 

Brett Davisson
10th Grade
Wells High School, Wells

"America: A Limitless Land of Freedom, Opportunity, and Patriotism"

According to the American Politician John Jay, “The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon and choosing the forms of government under which they should live.”  The right to vote and decide our political leaders has long been a cherished right of American citizens, and is a defining factor in the lure and appeal of the American dream.  It is a precious component of the democracy that is the United States, and represents the freedom, rights, and voice that Americans have in their country.  It is critical that Americans are politically active to ensure that the United States remains a democracy, and is not overrun by tyranny.

Also known as suffrage, the right to vote is a fundamental principle of the United States Constitution.  It guarantees citizens the opportunity to express their concerns, and elect officials that will work to solve problems facing communities, towns, states, and the country as a whole.  It is very important that Americans have the right to vote because they are given the right to decide how their country is run, not a single leader.  The right to vote promises the citizens of a democracy that the will of the people is the supreme power, and that all men and women are given an equal voice.

Suffrage, a critical component of the U.S. Constitution, was given to all men in the 15th amendment, and to women in the 19th amendment, during the Women’s Rights Movement in the 1920’s.  It is the backbone of the American Dream, and goes hand and hand with freedom, liberty, and democracy, so long as the citizens to whom it is applied exercise this sacred right.  An old adage claims, “If you do not vote, you should not complain about the outcome.”  This is believed by most Americans because the right to vote is not something to be disregarded; rather, it should be honored and employed by all adults of the United States.

Living in a democratic state and having the right to elect public officials is a foundational element of the United States Government.  Many countries across the world, such as Middle-Eastern states Saudi Arabia and Brunei, have no suffrage at all, or only for men.  Women are denied the right to choose political leaders, as well as many other rights that are basic principles of the United States Democracy including the right to work, attend school, and show their hair.  Americans live in a seemingly limitless country where they have freedoms, rights, and privileges that millions are denied around the world.  It is important that Americans exercise their right to vote in order to keep our country running smoothly as a free and independent nation.

“Democracy,” as Robert Alan aptly notes, “is one of the most important principles for a better world.”  As most political leaders will declare, the right to vote is a unifying theme of a democratic state, and that is incredibly important that citizens exercise this privilege.  In order for American society to be run as a true democratic nation, all citizens must take it upon themselves to go to the polls, and express their opinion on the current affairs of the country.  The Patriots of the American Revolution fought and died for the right to govern themselves democratically and in the name of freedom.  There, United States Citizens must honor those that risked, and gave, their lives for the independence of the generations that would come after them, and elect honest, hardworking politicians that will keep America a super power.