No Apologies Round Two

"Few if any recent generations could sit with a Bible in one hand and their newspapers in the other and see the fulfillment of prophecy, but for us it’s almost routine." Jack Kelly

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why the Constitution?

Note, this is part 5 of the American History series.

"If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws — the first growing out of the last.... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government. "
Alexander Hamilton, Essay in the American Daily Advertiser, Aug 28, 1794

"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
Alexis De Tocqueville

"An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others."
James Madison, Federalist No. 48, February 1, 1788

"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion. "
Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America and is the oldest written national constitution still in force. It was completed on September 17, 1787, with its adoption by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and was later ratified the original thirteen American states. It took effect in 1788, creating a more unified government in place of all the independent states.
Although the Constitution has changed in many respects since it was first adopted, the same principles remain the same now as they did in 1789.

There are three main branches of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—and they are meant to be separate and distinct from one another. The powers given to each are also meant to be balanced and checked by the powers of the other two. Each branch is suppose to be as a check on potential excesses of the others.The Constitution, along with laws passed and treaties entered into by the president and approved by the Senate, is above all other laws, executive acts, and regulations. The Federal courts can be asked to examine what public officials do, (including enacted laws), and, if they are found to be unconstitutional, they are supposed to be overturned. All states and all people are equal and no one should receive special treatment from the federal government. Within the limits of the Constitution, each state must recognize and respect the laws of the others. State governments, like the federal government, must be republican in form, with final authority resting with the people.

The Preamble to the United States Constitution consists of one sentence which states the purpose and reason of the document. Note that the Preamble itself neither gives any powers or stands in the way of any actions. It explains the reason only behind the Constitution. The preamble, especially the first three words "We the people", is one of the most often-quoted sentences of the Constitution, and being so, many people seem to have forgotten the original meaning. What did the Founders mean by We the people?

Part of this can be found from Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Paper No. 84 where he states, "Nothing need be said to illustrate the importance of the prohibition of titles of nobility. This may truly be denominated the corner-stone of republican government; for so long as they are excluded, there can never be serious danger that the government will be any other than that of the people. " So long as the new government remained as Republic, the government would be operated under the direction of the citizens of the country. If the republican form of government failed or fell, the Founders knew that under a tyranny, the power would be taken from the people, and under the authority of a few.

Again, from the same Federalist Paper, Hamilton writes, " It has been several times truly remarked that bills of rights are, in their origin, stipulations between kings and their subjects, abridgements of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of rights not surrendered to the prince... " He gives examples of past constitutional documents, such as the Magna Charta, Petition of Right, the Declaration of Right, and the British Bill of Rights. He continues, "It is evident, therefore, that, according to their primitive signification, they have no application to constitutions professedly founded upon the power of the people, and executed by their immediate representatives and servants. Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing; and as they retain every thing they have no need of particular reservations. "WE, THE PEOPLE of the United States, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ORDAIN and ESTABLISH this Constitution for the United States of America." Here is a better recognition of popular rights, than volumes of those aphorisms which make the principal figure in several of our State bills of rights, and which would sound much better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government."

To the Founders, the basic right to fair and limited government for the people and by the people was made to be recognised from the first words of the Constitution. All the principals of the Founding Fathers are woven into and throughout the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the main being that all people have certain unalienable rights- liberties, given to each by God Himself and not to be taken by the government or anyone else. The basic liberties as written in the Declaration, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are enshrined in the laws of the Constitution. Notice however, it is stated the "pursuit of happiness" and not just "happiness". As the United States and her people have drifted so far from God and what the Founders meant, people have seemed to expect, and demand that it is constitutional for anything which makes them happy.

In the next post, keep that phrase "the pursuit of happiness" in mind, as I want to compare the Founder's intents by their own words, to our government today, again using their own words. We will see just how far off track of the original purpose of the new colonies, and how far away from the Constitution we have really come.

Until then, study the Constitution. It is vital to the people to know such a document, to know our rights as by the original intent that those in Washington are supposed to be working for We the People- not the other way around.


3 comments:

Heli gunner Tom said...

Dear Carolyn,
Great post, again! At Waterford High school, Class of '67, in WI, Civics and American History were mandatory, so we all had to know these things. I just wonder what they teach the kids now days... LOL. Too, by their very nature, training, and tradition, the Army and Marines were PATRIOTS! Those are some of the people I seek with my small ministry of the Gospel.
God bless YOU, dear sister.

Tom Schuckman
tschuckman@aol.com
Jesus is Lord, and Heaven is my Home.

Barbara said...

I'm enjoying this series so! Learning a little and "amen"ing all along the way.

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God Bless!