The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

The Constitution Should Be Revised for our Modern Nation

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/14/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,120 times Debate No: 24277
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)




Resolved: The U. S. Constitution should be revised for our modern society.

First round is for acceptance.
Second round is for arguments.
Third round is for first rebuttals.
Second round is fro second rebuttals.
Third round is for conclusion.

Definition of terms:

Revise- to amend or alter: to revise one's alter something already written or printed, in order to make corrections, improve, or update: to revise a manuscript.

Modern-characteristic of present and recent time; contemporary; not antiquated or obesolete.

Nation-a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own.



This debate looks interesting, so I'll accept it.

I accept all of the pro's definition other than "Revise", due to it's multiple meanings, some of which don't refer to the resolution. I substitute it with this:
1. To prepare a newly edited version of (a text).

2. To reconsider and change or modify [1]
This definition is very specific to the resolution, but if my opponent wants to just accept one of the two definitions that's fine with me as I accept both.

I also propose that we define "Should" as:
Should: used to state that something ought to happen, be done etc [2]

And as "ought" is used in the definition, Ought is defined as:
Ought: Used to indicate obligation or duty

Works Cited:
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for this debate and accept his additional definitions.

My argument will be centered around three reasons for the revision of the Constitution:
1. The age of the constitution
2. The difficulties of the current amendment process

I will offer some examples of how the Constitution could be improved.

The Age of the Constitution
Recently the nation of Iceland updated its constitution. their constitution was written in 1944. Ours was written in 1787. We have added amendments to the constitution 27 times, however many of the amendments of recent times were rather insignificant compared to such examples such as the 1st, the 15th and the 19th. The Founders of our nation could not have foreseen the nation we would be today. They did not know about big business, lobbyists, or the environmental issues we face today, just to name a few. it is remarkable that this constitution has led our nation for as along as it has, but it is time to make some major changes. The Founding Fathers knew themselves that this was an imperfect document. Thomas Jefferson is quoted as having written that the Constitution should expire every 19 years. "The earth belongs always to the living generation." This resolution does not even call for the complete expiration of the Constitution as Jefferson suggested. Instead, it calls for us "o reconsider and change" as in the definition presented by my opponent.

The Difficulties of the Current Amendment Process
Of course the Constitution can be updated through the amendment process. One of the main problems with his current process is that the people are do not have to be directly involved in the process. The amendments are drafted in Congress, and then must be approved by 3/4 of the state legislatures, or can be put to a vote by the people. Generally, it goes to the legislature. Four amendments that have been approved by Congress, one dating all the way back to 1789, have still not been ratified by the state legislatures. In the recent revising of the Icelandic Constitution, the government used social media as well as conventional methods to draft the new constitution. The United States should follow suit and put the power back in the hands of the people.

Several Examples of Where the Constitution Has Room for Improvement
While my argument does is not centered around specific issues in the Constitution, I will list some potential examples of ways in which the constitution could be improved besides improving the amendment process.

  • The power of the Supreme Court is checked in that nominees must be confirmed, however once they are appointed, there is nothing to prevent Supreme Court Justices from exercising judicial activism. This could be added to the Constitution.
  • Some people argue that amendments like marriage equality and pay equality should be added to the Constitution. This would be discussed during the revision process.
  • Several other topics include: Universal health care, a limit on taxes, and a limit on the power of the federal government.
The U. S. Constitution, although a great document, is not perfect. There is still much room for improvement, as there will always be. To say that we have reached perfection is to be incorrect: complete perfection is unachievable. This is why we must look at how we can best revise our great document to help it be as great is it possibly can.



I would like to thank my opponent for instigating the debate, as it's a unique resolution that I've not yet been able to debate yet. As my opponent has the burden of proof in the debate to show that the US government has the obligation to revise the constitution, I will open with a case that shows the US government is currently under no such obligation. As the main argument on the round will be over pro's BoP, I will spend more time negating his arguments than constructing mine, as the former is all I need to do to negate the resolution.

Contention 1: The Constitution is Open to Adaptations
Subpoint A: The Amendment Process Allows the Constitution to Adapt with the times
The main reason that the government is under no obligation to revise our Constitution is that the founding fathers designed the Constitution to adapt with the times by giving it the ability to change its stance through state and Congress-ratified amendments[2] . This flexibility allows the Constitution to change with the times in order to better uphold the will of the people, and this ability to change is what keeps it a stable document today[2].
Subpoint B: This Flexibility Means There is no Reason to Change the Constitution
This flexibility means that there is no moral or practical reason to revise the entire Constitution because if there would be an immoral or otherwise wrong act that the Constitution upholds, it can be revised or eliminated through the Amendment process already. This is evident in the cases of the Constitution's adding amendments that abolished slavery and made discrimination illegal[3]. Because the Constitution possessed the ability to change different elements within itself at any time in order to uphold the will of the people, there is no obligation to revise the entire document, and the resolution is negated,

That is my sole contention, and I look forward to the beginning of rebuttals.

Works Cited:
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent states that: "This flexibility [in that there is an amendment process] means that there is no moral or practical reason to revise the entire Constitution because if there would be an immoral or otherwise wrong act that the Constitution upholds, it can be revised or eliminated through the Amendment process already" My forcus for this rebuttal will focus on the followi point: It is more effiecient and effective to create a revision comittee elected by the people than it is to do it all through the amendment process.

Partisan Politics Makes a Revision Through Congress Impossible
My opponant has contended that there is no need to make major changes to the constitution because the current ammendment process works just fine. However, the National Journal has said that Congress is the most partisan it's ever been. This would make the process of going through and rewriting the constitution through Congress an impossible task in today's political atmosphere. A comitee, voted on directly by the people without the interference of political parites or corporate money, who's sole purpose is to reevalutate the Constituion would solve the problems much better.

It would also be much more efficient to a committee modled after the original body of the Second Continental Congrewss. To have a group of people just looking at the various problems in the Constitution all at once would very good. It would also not take precious time away from Congress to look at all of these various issues. I have already provided some examples of aditions/revisions to the current Constitution, and these, among others, would have to be considered.

I look forward to my opponants response.



I thank my opponent for his rebuttal, and I look forward to the challenge. I'll split my rebuttal into three sections to make further refutations as efficient as possible.

Pro's R2 Argument:
Age of the Constitution:
My opponent claims that because our constitution was written hundreds of years ago, this automatically means we need to revise it. His justification for this claim is that Iceland revised their constituion after 60 years, and because they did it we should do it to. However, not only are America and Iceland vastly different countries with vastly different populations who have different worldviews, but their constitutions are different as well, and there's no reason to assume that because there were flaws with the Icelandic Constitution that needed revising then the American Constitution needs to be revised as well. His secondary justification for the revision is that Thomas Jefferson stated that the Constitution needed to be expired and re-written every 19 years. However, my opponent negates this himself immediately afterward by stating " This resolution does not even call for the complete expiration of the Constitution as Jefferson suggested". Even though he can state that soem nations decided to change their constitution, it does not provide us with an actual reason that the age of the document hinders its performance. Furthermore, with the amendment process, time does not provide as huge an obstacle as my opponent suggests: "The Constitution (as liberals are fond of pointing out) is not frozen in the 18th century. It must be able to change with the times, and the Founders anticipated this and provided for it. ... The way our Constitution adapts to changing times is through amendments to its text. It was a constitutional amendment that ended slavery--not the Supreme Court. It was a constitutional amendment that gave women the right to vote--not the Supreme Court."[1] Because the Age of the Constitution does not provide us with the Obligation to change it, this argument fails.

The Difficulties of the Amendment Process:
My opponent's argument in this section is that because the Amendment process is difficult, it needs to be revised. However, it was designed to be difficult to ensure that every amendment would need to be widely accepted by the people so a minority wouldn't be able to pass biased or unwanted amendment. "Though the Founding Fathers rightly provided an amendment process, it was made difficult on purpose, so that the Constitution would have continuity and not be subject easily to change by short term popular sentiment. This has been effective in that there have been only 33 amendments sent to the states for ratification, and only 27 have passed, though there have been thousands of proposals."[2]. Because the amendment process is difficult on purpose to protect the Constitution's validity, this argument fails.

Several Examples of Where the Constitution has Room for Improvement:
In this argument, my opponent simply provids room for improvement. However, as the Constitution already possesses an amendment process that is designed to improve the docuemnt, there is no reason to revise or redraft teh entire constitution. Because there is already a solution to these improvements, this argument fails.

Pro's R3 Argument:
Partisan Politics Makes a Revision Through Congress Impossible:
My opponent's argument here is that because the two parties oppose each other, it is impossible to pass an amendment. However, an amendment is supposed to be difficult by nature (see my argument against R2), and my opponent has not been able to prove that it would be impossible to pass an amendment. He was able to prove that Partisan Politics is a problem (his site looks a little sketchy as far as specific details), he cannot prove that it is impossible to pass an amendment, especially when a bill like National Healthcare is able to pass when it is strictly against Republican politics[3].

I'll spare the audience from having to read a repetition of the "amending is supposed to be difficult" argument, and get straight to the committee. He adressed this in the above section as well, but I just thought it would be better to adress it in one area. My opponent is trying to propose some kind of miracle government branch which wouldn't be affected by political or corporate ties. However, not only is it impossible to not be biased towards one political system or party or religious ideal, but my opponent has not been able to prove that the constitution needs revising. Because it is impossible to find a completely unbiased human so his suggestion is impossible, and because he cannot prove that the Constitution requires revising, this argument fails.

My opponent's main argument in this debate is that the Amendment process is difficult to use, and so because we cannot rely on it we need to revise the entire constitution rather than use the amendment process. However, because I have proven that the amendment process is difficult on purpose and my opponent cannot prove that it is impossible, my opponent has not been able to prove that there is any reason we need to revise the entire constitution. As such, his BoP is unfulfilled, and the resolution has been negated.
Vote Con :)

Works Cited:

Debate Round No. 3


I would like to thank my opponent for several challenging arguments in the previous rounds. Since his arguments are contingent on the assertion that the amendment process in our current constitution is not flawed, I would like to devote this round to proving that it is flawed. If the amendment process is flawed, then revising the constitution through this process would be a flawed process.

My opponent has stated that the constitutional amendment process was meant to be difficult, and while this may be true, it was also meant to be democratic. The way in which the current process is set up, approximately 3.8% of the population can reject a proposed amendment. How is this possible? It takes 12 states disapproval to block a constitutional amendment. One combination of the the twelve states could include the 12 smallest states. These small states total populations are only 3.8% of the total population. [1][2] It is undemocratic for this small percentage of the population to override the opinion of 96.2% of the population.

This inequality is a fundamental flaw in the amendment process. Any attempt to change such an amendment process through the current system could be voted down by this tiny minority. This is why the process must be changed. Although the other flaws in the constitution are important, they cannot be resovled until this underlying problem is fixed.

I believe this argument fulfills my BOP: I have shown that the amendment process is fundamentally flawed, thus we must revise the Constitution in other ways to fix this.


1. Can this process possibly considered democratic in nature?

I look forward to my opponents response.



On proving the amendments flawed:
I never made the statement that the amendment process doesn't have its flawed (nothing is perfect, so everything has its flaws), I simply stated that there wasn't a current reason why the amendments are flawed enough for the government to be obligated to fix it. Therefor, poining out a single flaw cannot overturn my argument. The pro's job is not to point out a single flaw (as even his suggestion is flawed enough to not work so we don't have a substitute system yet), but to prove that the amendment process or the constitution is flawed enough to assert an obligation to change the system. Thus, pointing out a single flaw that does not carry a large weight (as I will prove in the argument below) does not fulfill your BoP.

Paragraph 2:
democracy [dɪˈmɒkrəsɪ]
n pl -cies
1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) government by the people or their elected representatives
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a political or social unit governed ultimately by all its members[1]

A representative democracy does not work in a way where 51% of the people are required to pass legislation. It's simply where representatives have a hand in managing the country so it can be based on the will of the people, that's why the amendment requires a 3/4 majority rather than a 51/49. That's why your first source (which is a questionable at best) is irrelevant. Your second source was less on the unfair majority, and more on how it is interpereted in modern times. "the proper response is not to reject the Constitution but to work within it by trying to persuade fellow Americans to share our views of constitutional possibility and by supporting presidential candidates who will appoint (and get through the Senate) judges who will be more open to better interpretations"[2].

Paragraph 3:
Even if you choose disregaurd the fact this process is in fact democratic as the US is a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy, his entire plan revolves around the fact that all of the smallest states will unanimously side with one another for no apparent reason while every other state rules on the other side. This is in direct contradiction with his Parisan Politics argument, which states that politicians develop their stances based on parties, not sizes.

Paragraph 4:
As this is a single reason, and the reason is both irrelevant as it's completely democratic and it's unlikely as it requires a sinlge situation that contradicts his earlier statements.

1.) Absolutely. Check the definition of democracy above. Because America is a representative democracy, we work on the number of representatives in congress rather than the direct number of citizens in America. Due to the hundreds of millions of citizens in this nation, we can't expect every single one to vote in order to decide what does and does not pass. That would cost too much, and the average citizen isn't aware of political implications of certain legislation.

Works Cited:

Debate Round No. 4


The idea of democracy is that power rests in the hands of the people. Why do we have a representative democracy and not a direct democracy? Because it would be such a slow process to have a direct democracy: Everyone would have a chance to vote on everything. In a representative democracy, we elect leaders to vote for us. In some ways this is already taking power away from the people, but that is the choice we make in favor of progress. A remarkable amount of things can get done in a dictatorship because only one person is making the decisions. It is just that those decisions are not always good.

Because our system is set up this way, we should embrace any chance we get to put the power back directly into the hands of the people. Unfortunately, there are elements in our modern government that are dictated by the Constitution take the power away from the people when it would be just as easy to put the power into the hands of the people. The issue of such a small percentage of the population change the course of the nation is not putting the power in the hands of the people. By basing whether an amendment passes on whether 3/4 of the states rather than on weather 3/4 of the popular vote approves something takes power away from the people. Doing this means that the vote of someone who lives in a large state matters less than that of someone who lives in a small state. Supposes there are two states. In one state there are 100 people. In the other there are 1,000. Under this procedure, the vote of the person in the big state is 10 times less important than that of the person who lives in the small state. If we revised the process so that the only thing that mattered was that 75% of the total population wanted an amendment, then everyone's votes would matter equally.

My opponent has said that the amendment process is not flawed enough for the government to be obligated to fix it, however this flaw gives the power to a small percentage of the people. That is a very large flaw. In fixing this flaw, nothing is lost, except that equality is gained.

Another example of this inequality in a different, yet similar sense is the electoral college process in our current constitution. This process is yet another way in which the power is taken from the people. Even if a majority of people agree on something, it does not matter because of the electoral college. This is yet another flaw in our constitution.

My opponent contends that the flaws in the Constitution are not big enough to warrant a revision, however, this is not the case. In fixing these flaws, our nation will progress. Refusing to fix these flaws hinders progress.

I once again thank my opponent for this fascinating debate.



TheOrator forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Magicr 6 years ago
I would also like to encourage people to vote for argument based on the arguments presented.
Posted by TheOrator 6 years ago
Very sorry that I forfeited the last round, I just logged on to counter it, just to realize it was over :/

Although I definately lose the conduct vote, the rules never said that a forfeit results ina full loss. So even though there is still a good chance that I'll lose due to dropped arguments, I'd urge the voters to vote on the arguments themselves rather than the forfeit.
Posted by Magicr 6 years ago
I forgot to post my sources as part of my argument in round 4 so I am posting them here. I hope this does not cause any inconvenience.

Sources for Round 4:

3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by FlameofPrometheus 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: Con summed up the entire arguement into "Pro be changed" And Pro fell right into that by provideding a statistic. Con quickly removed the whole arguement around the 3.8 By showing the defintion of democracy. After that Magicr (Pro) gave a speech ( while im for ) the speech seemed to lack factuality since TheOrator had won the " Real world " arguements. Conduct goes to Pro sice neither was actually rude but con forfeited the last round.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for FF. Arguments to con because pro never fulfilled BOP and con sufficiently negated the resolution. Con had negated all of pro's arguments, yet pro keeped repating them. For example, pro tried to show that 12 of the smallest states could overturn an amendment, which was undemocratic. Con proved that the 12 smallest states can not get along because of party differences, and pro used the same argument again. Also, some of his arguments were illogical. Iceland=/=US. Con wins arguments.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct to Pro for forfeit. I might get around to voting on arguments later though.