Lynn Parisi

American writers from the government section of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP), charged by MacArthur with writing a draft constitution, took note of suggestions for the document contributed by Japanese people and groups. They also chose not to limit themselves to creating an American replica for Japan. They looked within but also beyond the U.S. Constitution. Many on the American writing committee embraced the expansive human rights of the New Deal. These ideals were not reflected in the U.S. Constitution, nor necessarily embraced by conservatives within American occupation personnel. Beate Sirota Gordon, a young and idealistic member of the committee, has recorded her search through Japanese libraries for sample constitutions from other nations that might provide models for a progressive Japanese document. In its original form, Gordon’s human rights section for the Japanese constitution articulated rights far more progressive than anything in the U.S. Constitution.

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