Constitution Essay Winner
Acadia Christian School, Trenton
Every morning the United States starts [its day] in the state of Maine. Here America's most easternmost land is adorned by the dawn. Residents of Maine enjoy this luxury. Maine is an appropriate place to start America 's day because nowhere else in America is democracy more firmly rooted and people more fearless in their belief of freedom.
The taming of Maine's wilderness has been a long, hard, continuous struggle. But simple living and hard work have always seen Mainers through with a deep satisfaction in a job well done. There are no harder-working people anywhere. Also, business deals are still straight forward, and many are still sealed with a handshake.
As one of the New England states, Maine was a building block of the republic, and in many ways it remains filled with that same spirit today. The people of Maine value what they have here in the tall trees and rugged coastline. And they are not about to give it up.
To preserve Maine's great way of life, a state constitution was written in 1819, the year before Maine became a state. Delegates from nearly all of Maine's 236 towns met at the First Parish Unitarian Church in Portland. The creators of Maine's constitution were not just thinking of the people living in the state at that time. They also thought about how the constitution would affect future Mainers. They did a good job – almost 200 years later, Maine still has the same constitution. Of course, the constitution has been amended, or slightly changed, but it is still essentially the same. The constitution was just like the one in Massachusetts, except for three important differences:
- There were no property qualifications for voting.
- People of any faith could participate in the government of Maine.
- There would be no established religion.
Ten articles make up Maine's constitution. Article I is called the Declaration of Rights. It lists the rights guaranteed to Maine's citizens. Among other things, Maine 's people are guaranteed freedom of speech and religion, speedy trials, and protection from “unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Articles II to VI explain qualifications and duties of electors and officers. Article II determines voting requirements. Article III explains the idea of separation of powers. Article IV defines the legislative branch. Article V defines the state's executive branch. Article VI gives the state legislature the power to set up courts.
Article VII organizes the militia. Article VIII has two sections. The first section outlines the state's role in the education of its citizens. The second section grants towns and cities home rule. Articles IX and X define more specific requirements for each of the three branches of government and also place some financial restrictions on the government.
Maine's constitution has lasted a long time, and it is capable of lasting many more years. However, Mainers must continue to understand and respect its constitution. Then Maine will always have a constitution “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”