Meanings Matter: The Relationship Between Constitutional Values and Social Justice


  • Maren B. Trochmann College of Charleston
  • Mary E. Guy University of Colorado Denver



Regime Values, Social Equity, Historical Analysis, Linguistics


Social upheavals are punctuation marks in the progression toward social equity. The American democratic mythos has evolved since the first days of the republic. Those who were ‘in the room’ when the Constitution was signed drove the interests that were represented and protected. Those in the room now are different, infusing old words with new meanings. Today’s fissured political culture, combined with the ripple effects of a global pandemic, offer another upheaval and create the opportunity to impel social justice. The ongoing process of meaning-making transforms power and advantage. This essay urges public service professionals to adopt a message that champions the mythos while acknowledging lived reality.

Author Biographies

Maren B. Trochmann, College of Charleston

Maren B. Trochmann is an assistant professor at the College of Charleston where she teaches in the MPA Program and the Political Science Department. Her research interests include social equity, public personnel administration, and the nexus between public administration theory and practice.

Mary E. Guy, University of Colorado Denver

Mary E. Guy is University of Colorado Distinguished Professor and is on the faculty of the University of Colorado Denver. Her research focuses on social equity, the difference that gender makes, and the citizen-state encounter. She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and past president of the American Society for Public Administration.






Social Equity Section