The United States Constitution is perhaps the most remarkable document of its kind every written. The principles embodied within this document have provided the framework for the most free nation ever established. Those liberties have produced the greatest, wealth, technological development and discovery, and explosion of knowledge the world has ever known.

The Preamble to the United States Constitution reads:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

There are several things we learn from the preamble.

  1. It was the people of this great nation who ordained and established the constitution. Yes, it was written by a small group of men; however, it was the people themselves who both ordained and established the constitution. Each of the original colonies ratified this great document.
  2. There were six reasons or goals they wished to achieve with this new constitution”
    1. Form a more perfect Union: The Articles of Confederation were not working. The central government was too weak. Each of the states could and did ignore the central government. Foreign nations were exploiting this weakness by getting the states into a price war when it came to American ports. Each state could set their own rates for port services. This lead to ridiculously low prices. Also, the states could choose not to send any money to the central government. This left the government, and the armies of General Washington, without adequate funding. It almost cause us to lose the war. The new constitution granted much more power to the central government; however, the founders were fearful that too much power could lead to tyranny. They intended to prevent both tyranny and anarchy with this new constitution.
    2. Establish Justice: Every society will have disputes and criminal activity. One of the primary rolls of government is to settle these disputes and right the wrongs inflicted by criminal activity. The founders knew that it was necessary to have a referee.
    3. Insure Domestic Tranquility: We all realize that our homes are much more pleasant when the children are not arguing and fighting among themselves. So our nation is much more pleasant and productive when we are at peace with each other. One very effective way to eliminate domestic peace is to start treating people differently. When one state receives preferential treatment, all the other states are offended. Grant favors to corporations, labor unions, one race over another, etc. and all tranquility is shattered.
    4. Provide for the Common Defense: One fundamental function of government is to defend itself from those who seek to enslave their people, invade their borders, etc. You will note that the word Provide is used in relation to the defense of this nation indicating that the central government is expected to pay for the defense of this nation.
    5. Promote the General Welfare: The leaders of any nation must be concerned with the welfare of its people. This phrase has been grossly misunderstood. Some think that the words Promote and Provide mean the same thing. They feel that the government should provide, not promote, the general welfare. A government can promote the welfare of all (general welfare) by creating a prosperous economic climate, an environment that allows the people to reap the rewards of their labor. There are other things that governments can do to promote the general welfare. They can build up and maintain the infrastructure (highways and roads), provide adequate law enforcement, promote education, protect intellectual property (inventions, original writings, works of art, etc.) and many other things that either make commerce much more efficient (highways and canals help everyone and keep the cost of transporting goods down) or reward work of all kinds in general. Modern welfare programs are not General Welfare as they do not improve things for the general population; rather they are specific welfare in that they take money from one group of people (harming them financially) and give it to another group of people improving their financial conditions in the short-term but creating a dependant class for the long-term. These programs harm all of us.
    6. Secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity: The primary purpose of any government is to protect the rights of the people. If this principle does not burn in the hearts of our elected officials everything else is meaningless. Are they in government to protect our rights or for some other reason? The reason for Establishing Justice is to protect the rights of the people. The reason for Providing for the Common Defense is to prevent foreigners from depriving this people of their rights. The reason we should seek to Insure Domestic Tranquility is to protect the rights of the people.

When followed, the constitution has worked very well. It has secured the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity for more than two centuries. When Benjamin Franklin came out of the Constitutional Convention a woman asked him; “What have you given us?” His reply; “A Republic if you can keep it.” Our Republic has indeed been very difficult to keep.

History has shown us that those men who typically seek the power of government can not be trusted with that power. These same people find the United States Constitution a major impediment to their private agendas. Most governments are self serving and have so much power that are usually in full fledged tyrrany. We the people are not only those who ordain and establish this constitution, we are also the ultimate defenders of the same. Governments will get away with as much as the people will allow.

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