Schultz, a Hamline University professor and professor of law at the University of Minnesota, writes, "If the Tea Party constitutional reading suddenly took sway and we returned to the original document as conceived, what would the American republic look like? Much to the surprise of Bachmann [Rep. Michele Bachmann, a founder of the U.S. House's Tea Party Caucus] and others, there wouldn't be that much freedom and democracy."
Schultz then notes that the original Constitution did not include many of the rights and protections that we have come to enjoy. For instance, the original document only provided for limited voting rights, he notes. "Voting rights," Schultz points out, "were largely a matter of state law, and in 1787 most states limited the franchise to white, male, Protestant property owners, age 21 or older." Women did not secure the right to vote, he notes, until 1920 with the adoption of the 19th Amendment. "Without this amendment, there is no guarantee that Michele Bachmann would ever have been allowed to vote, let alone run for office," Schultz writes.
The original Constitution also did not include a Bill of Rights and allowed for slavery.
Slavery did not end until the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 and the adoption of the 13th Amendment in 1865. The original Constitution lacked an equal protection clause, which bans discrimination. It took the 14th Amendment in 1868 and a Supreme Court decision to create it. Lacking this clause, states were free to discriminate, and they regularly did via segregation laws.
Last week at an ACS event, former N.Y. Governor Eliot Spitzer urged pushback against the Tea Party's rhetoric on the Constitution, saying their members loudly promote a rigid view about constitutional rights and protections.