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.

The following letter written by professors from Yale, Harvard, and Princeton was first published on 8/29/17 by our friends at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. With permission, I have re-printed it here. I wish I had the opportunity to read this letter when I was a freshman. Perhaps you too will find it as insightful as I did. If you’re interested, James Freeman (Yale ’91) at the WSJ had valuable commentary on the letter.
– Pranam Dey, Editor-in-Chief of The Beacon

 

We are scholars and teachers at Princeton, Harvard, and Yale who have some thoughts to share and advice to offer students who are headed off to colleges around the country. Our advice can be distilled to three words:

Think for yourself.

Now, that might sound easy. But you will find—as you may have discovered already in high school—that thinking for yourself can be a challenge. It always demands self-discipline and these days can require courage.

In today’s climate, it’s all-too-easy to allow your views and outlook to be shaped by dominant opinion on your campus or in the broader academic culture. The danger any student—or faculty member—faces today is falling into the vice of conformism, yielding to groupthink.

By: Zain Anthar

The following essay received an honorable mention at the Buckley Program’s spring semester high school essay contest. The topic was “What can we learn from William F. Buckley, Jr. today?”. 

In today’s media landscape, political discussions have swayed towards partisanship at the expense of meaningful, probing dialogue. Politicians opt to conduct interviews with their congenial news outlets in order to avoid the “toughies” – questions that penetrate through any attempt at feigning comprehension of an issue.

By: Gabrielle Vozzi

The following essay was the third-place winner of the Buckley Program’s spring semester high school essay contest. The topic was “What can we learn from William F. Buckley, Jr. today?”. 

Today, the United States is a divided nation as political polarization can be seen in every corner of the country. Now, more than ever, this nation needs the wisdom of William F. Buckley, Jr. Buckley’s conservative beliefs and overall view of government can greatly influence the nation today.