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Tomorrow commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.  The Declaration formally declared the separation of the 13 colonies in the new world from Great Britain, making them into the United States.  

Although not celebrated like the 4th of July, March 4, 1789 marks the day the Constitution of the United States of America became “the supreme law of the nation.”  (Floyd G. Cullop, The Constitution of the United States)  Amendments were made to the Constitution with the first 10 amendments called The Bill of Rights. 

African American orator and social reformer Frederick Douglass spoke up for giving women the right to vote at the Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848.  In 1870, Amendment 15 gave blacks the right to vote.  On June 26, 1913, women were given the right to vote in Illinois.  It was not until 1920 that Amendment 19 gave women the right to vote nationally. (See article on page 11.)

Voting rights are still the subject of much debate, dissension and concern.  One should not forget how several states attempted to limit voting rights in the last presidential election.  In spite of knowledge of these attempts, the Supreme Court of the United States recently voted to give states and local communities the right to determine their own voting rules and regulations without advanced federal approval.  In the minds of many Americans, the Supreme Court has potentially undermined the rights of many citizens to vote.  The excuse Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority is: “Our country has changed.”  The assumption is that federal oversight isn’t needed anymore.  Really?  Does anyone believe that racial gerrymandering will cease to exist?  I’m befuddled.  Perhaps the word “supreme” actually means “out-of-touch.”

“…Every system of government is warranted by its upholders to insure harmonious relations…”

– Agnes Replier, (April 1, 1855 – November 15, 1950; an American essayist.

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...