This semester, the Buckley Program held a high school essay contest with the topic: If you could propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, what would it be? The following essay by Holden Whaley, a freshman at Xavier High, won 2nd place.
The Change I Hope to See
To have a fair democracy every vote needs to count for the same amount, allowing each person to have the same voice in our government. This is essential to any indirect democracy as it is built on the social contract theory. This theory states that the people of a nation give a smaller group of people the right to govern them, if they respect the will of the people. As Abraham Lincoln said, it’s “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”. This in turn means that democracy is based on the popular will of the people, as not everyone will agree. However, in America, that is not always the case; while most elections and votes are won by majority rule, the presidential election does not always work this way. The system for electing a president in America is known as the electoral college, and due to several factors, it sometimes allows a president to win without amassing a majority of the vote. In my opinion, if someone can win without a majority, the system is unfair. So, if I could propose an amendment to the United States constitution, I would propose that the electoral college is abolished in favor of the two-round system.
This semester, the Buckley Program held a high school essay contest with the topic: If you could propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, what would it be? The following essay by James Heavey, a junior at Greenwich High, won 3rd place.
Sec. 1 The length of a term in the House of Representatives shall now be four years
Sec. 2 No person shall be elected to Congress if they surpass the term limits. The term limits shall be 2 terms in the House of Representatives, totalling 8 years and 2 terms in Congress totalling 12 years. In total, one person may only serve in Congress for 20 years.
Sec. 3 A Congressional Advisory Resource Agency shall be established to provide legislative insight and experience to Congress.
This semester, the Buckley Program held a high school essay contest with the topic: If you could propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, what would it be? The following essay by Naomi Kostman, a junior at Greenwich High, won an Honorable Mention.
The New Face of America
The United States prides itself on being a nation of immigrants. The Statue of Liberty, reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” However, Article II Section 1 of the Constitution states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President…” This section has discredited the population of naturalized citizens that has grown by 6.6 million in the past decade as not “American” enough. The 28th Amendment to the Constitution should allow for an individual who is a citizen and is at least 35 years of age to be eligible to run for president regardless of his/her country of birth. It is time for the United States to earn its reputation of giving a voice to all people by allowing those who have worked hard to become citizens the right to represent this country.
This semester, the Buckley Program held a college essay contest with the topic: If you could propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, what would it be? The following essay by Jeffrey Hendricks, a senior in Silliman College, won 1st place.
Political observers understand the difficulty of amending the U.S. Constitution. A two-thirds majority of both congressional houses must propose the amendment, or two-thirds of the states must request a convention. If the proposed amendment wins these supermajorities, three-quarters of the states must ratify the amendment. These high thresholds guarantee the necessity of bipartisan support. In the era of 50 states, the 89th Congress (January 1965 – January 1967) presented the only unified government with a House of 290 or more members of one party and a Senate with 67 or more members of the same party. 290 is two-thirds of 435; 67 is the first whole number larger than two-thirds of 100.
This semester, the Buckley Program held a college essay contest with the topic: If you could propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, what would it be? The following essay by Noah Daponte-Smith, a senior in Berkeley College, won 2nd place.
In 1913, after winning the approval of three-quarters of the state legislatures, the Constitution was amended for the seventeenth time. This was a grievous mistake, one which obliterated the traditional and proper structure of American constitutional democracy, permitted a noxious sort of popular sentiment to pervade the American system, and introduced into our governance a fatally confused sense of the will of the people. The 27th amendment to the Constitution should repeal the seventeenth, returning American governance to the system the Founders envisioned.
This semester, the Buckley Program held a college essay contest with the topic: If you could propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, what would it be? The following essay by Abhay Rangray, a sophomore in Benjamin Franklin College, won 3rd place.
Many justifications for changing the constitution have been used; two are particularly important. To solve practical problems facing the nation and to limit the power of the federal government. The 21st amendment demonstrates the utilization of both criteria. The 21st amendment repealed the 18th amendment thus ending alcohol prohibition. This amendment fulfilled both justifications for amending the constitution. The amendment solved the practical problem of illicit alcohol consumption and organized crime. Furthermore, the amendment limited the power of the federal government over the individual. The freedom of an American to drink increased while the power of the government to prohibit decreased. Thus, the 21st amendment met both justifications.
On September 13th, the Buckley Program hosted a conversation with Guy Benson and Mary Katharine Ham on their book End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun). Ham is a CNN contributor and moderated a 2016 Republican Primary debate. Benson is a frequent Fox News contributor and has also been published on many conservative sites. This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
By: Rachel Williams
Rachel: Thank you so much for being here. How did the original idea for the book come about, and what was your primary motivation? I expect for each of you, your time in media and journalism has shaped your views on free speech and its preservation significantly.
On Tuesday, October 3rd, the Buckley Program hosted a Firing Line Debate on Brexit with James Kirchick and Dr. Nile Gardiner. James Kirchick, of the Brookings Institution, is the author of The End of Europe. Dr. Nile Gardiner, of the Heritage Foundation, is a former aid to Lady Thatcher. The transcript below has been lightly edited for clarity.
By: Kevin Olteanu
Kevin: Thank you so much for being here. I have a couple of questions on Brexit. The first question is: was Brexit a good idea in your opinion and why?
Earlier this Fall, Professor Noël Valis was among a number of professors at Yale, Harvard, and Princeton to sign a letter (republished by The Beacon here) urging students to “Think for yourself.” In the following interview, lightly edited for clarity, Prof. Valis discusses the need for the letter and why she signed it.
By: Noah Daponte-Smith
Noah: How did you coordinate this? You have professors across many different fields, across three different universities, some not even in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences but in the Law school — how did this all come together?
Prof. Valis: This was not me – this was [Princeton Professor] Robbie George. He’s really the spearhead of all this. He’s the one — and I assume he did this with the other people — he wrote to us; he invited us to sign the letter. I believe he wrote the original writer, and I believe he had some feedback. By the time that he contacted me, the letter was basically already written. But I agree with absolutely everything he said in it. It was beautifully crafted, and he wrote to only a small number, and really almost everybody he did write to said yes. Once I read the letter I said “Yes, yes, of course.”
By: Abhay Rangray
As I watch contemporary political media, I find the sound-bite style of discourse and the meaningless platitudes underwhelming. I wish that a more formal, long-form style of debate were present on television today. Dr. Heather Hendershot shares this lamentation in her book Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line. Thoroughly researched and well written, the book provides thrilling and energetic descriptions of “Firing Line,” William F. Buckley Jr., and the conservative movement.