It is the year of our Lord Twenty Twenty and of the United States of America the Two Hundred Forty-four. The majority of our citizenry lives in some degree of affluency when compared to the rest of the world, yet at this time, We the People have seemingly lost our way. Where are the fervor and zeal of our Founding Fathers and those of our patriotic ancestors who established our Constitutional Republic as a bastion of Liberty? There must be some cause, some good reason, why our Founding Fathers and our patriotic ancestors were so eager for Liberty then, and now We the People are eager for the servitude (slavery) of Socialism. Therefore, I have determined to lay aside my Quill Pen and take Keyboard in hand to once again write in defense of our divinely inspired Constitution.
Our Founding Fathers were true Statesmen, whose only desire was for the good of our fledgling nation and the Liberty and Freedom of We the People. It is true they had loyalty to their several States, but they had no “Party” loyalties because political parties only emerged during the administration of President George Washington. He is the only President in our history not to belong to or have allegiance to a political party.
These Statesmen met in Philadelphia from May 14 to September 17, 1787. The Committee of the Whole debated the Virginia Plan of James Madison for two months making amendments along the way. The most notable being the Great or Connecticut Compromise which gave us our Bicameral Legislature. On July 24, a Committee of Detail was established to draft the actual constitution. They finished their work on August 6, 1787. This draft was then debated and amended until September 10, 1787 when a Committee of Style was created to write the final draft. They completed their work and the final draft was presented for a vote by all the delegates on September 17, 1787.
With their affirmative vote, our Founding Fathers set forth the principles of governance they agreed to for our nation upon ratification by nine of the several States. It was a completely new form of government, a Constitutional Republic, a Union of the several States each of which is guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States a republican form of government.
It is noteworthy that the Preamble to our constitution was added by the Committee of Style. Gouverneur Morris, a delegate from Pennsylvania, is credited with writing the Preamble. We the People need to reflect upon the Words of The Preamble to our Constitution, he wrote.
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.
This Preamble set forth the limits of Constitutional Law as envisioned and imposed by our Founding Fathers on the federal government (our servants) and as granted by We the People (the rulers). Basically, Constitutional Law is limited by six purposes listed above.
The first three words of the Preamble to our Constitution should never be overlooked or allowed to be diminished. “We the People” defines from whence the federal government receives its mandate to govern. It is from We the People, the citizens of the United States, and no one else. We the People are the rulers. The Congress and the President are our servants elected (hired) to represent We the People collectively on the international stage to the world. Domestically, the Congress and the President assist in our internal governance as representatives to the national “town hall” to accomplish We the People’s collective and interstate business. After all, there is not a hall large enough for our more than 350 million citizens each to represent themselves.
The first of We the People’s purposes for establishing our Constitutional Republic, “in Order to form a more perfect Union,” was accomplished when the Constitution was ratified by nine of the States in accordance with Article VII. This occurred as New Hampshire became the ninth State to ratify the Constitution on 21 June 1788. It is important to remember that this is only a “more perfect Union” and not a perfect Union! It is also important to recognize that our Constitutional Republic is still the best form of government ever established by men through the grace of God. A republican government aptly described as being just right of center on the continuum between Totalitarianism (Communism and Socialism) on the left and Anarchy on the right.
It should never be forgotten that this new republican form of government, our Constitutional Republic, was established originally as a “Union” of thirteen [now fifty] individual States. These States had their own individual governments with their own individual Constitutions. They came together in Union because there is strength in numbers. They came together in Union for their common good. They came together and over a period of 125 days they formed “a more perfect Union,” our Constitutional Republic. A Union where We the People are the “rulers” and our elected representatives are our “servants.” A Union that is the envy of all those who are in search of Freedom and Liberty.
The remaining five purposes, as further explained in the Articles, are an ongoing responsibility of the Congress and President. The Supreme Court is responsible for ensuring that the Congress and the President do not exceed the limited powers granted to them by We the People in our Constitution, as amended.
In the following discussion, I have utilized the definitions from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. I have done this because words over time change in their meaning. The 1828 definition would therefore be closer to the understanding of what the Founding Fathers meant when they used the words they used within the Preamble of our Constitution.
The second of We the People’s purposes for establishing our Constitutional Republic was to “establish Justice.”
Noah Webster in his 1828 Dictionary defined Establish as:
1. To set and fix firmly or unalterably; to settle permanently. 2. To found permanently; to erect and fix or settle; as, to establish a colony or an empire. 3. To enact or decree by authority and for permanence; to ordain; to appoint; as, to establish laws, regulations, institutions, rules, ordinances, etc. 4. To settle or fix; to confirm; as, to establish a person, society or corporation, in possessions or privileges.
Noah Webster in his 1828 Dictionary defined Justice as:
1. The virtue which consists in giving to every one what is his due; practical conformity to the laws and to the principles of rectitude in the dealings of men with each other; honesty; integrity in commerce or mutual intercourse. Justice is distributive or commutative. Distributive justice belongs to magistrates or rulers, and consists in distributing to every man that right or equity which laws and principles of equity require. Commutative justice consists in fair dealing in trade and mutual intercourse between man and man. 2. Impartiality; equal distribution of right in expressing opinions; fair representation of facts respecting merit or demerit. In criticisms, narrations, history or discourse, it is a duty to do justice to every man, whether friend or foe.
From the above definitions, this writer concludes that our Founding Fathers were interested in permanently creating a Constitutional Republic where “justice” was the same for the “ruler” and the “servant” alike. A Republic where the rule of law, our Constitution, would apply equally to We the People, the rulers, and our elected representatives, our servants. This “justice” was further expressed in our Bill of Rights, in particular, the First Amendment which delineates some specific freedoms of expression.
The third of We the People’s purposes for establishing our Constitutional Republic was to “insure domestic Tranquility.”
Noah Webster in his 1828 Dictionary defined Domestic as:
Pertaining to a nation considered as a family, or one’s own country; intestine: not foreign; as domestic troubles; domestic dissensions.
Noah Webster in his 1828 Dictionary defined Tranquility as:
Quietness; a calm state; freedom from disturbance or agitation.
From the above definitions, this writer concludes that our Founding Fathers were interested in guaranteeing within the Union of States, our Constitutional Republic, an intra- and interstate condition of peace and harmony among the several States and their citizenry, We the People.
The fourth of We the People’s purposes for establishing our Constitutional Republic was to “provide for the common defense.”
Noah Webster in his 1828 Dictionary defined Provide as:
1. To procure beforehand; to get, collect or make ready for future use; to prepare. 2. To furnish; to supply; followed by with.
Noah Webster in his 1828 Dictionary defined Provide as:
Any thing that opposes attack, violence, danger or injury; any thing that secures the person, the rights or the possessions of men; fortification; guard; protection; security. A wall, a parapet, a ditch, or a garrison, is the defense of a city or fortress.
From the above definitions, this writer concludes that our Founding Fathers were interested in our national government procuring supplies or means for ensuring our defense from all our enemies, foreign and domestic.
The fifth of We the People’s purposes for establishing our Constitutional Republic was to “promote the general Welfare.”
Noah Webster in his 1828 Dictionary defined Promote as:
1. To forward; to advance; to contribute to the growth , enlargement or excellence of anything valuable, or to the increase of any thing evil; as to promote learning, knowledge, virtue or religion; to promote the interests of commerce or agriculture; to promote the arts; to promote civilization or refinement; to promote the propagation of the gospel; to promote vice or disorder. 2. To excite; as, to promote mutiny. 3. To exalt; to elevate; to raise; to prefer in rank or honor.
You will note that the Founding Father used “provide” when mentioning the defense of our Constitutional Republic, but they used “promote” when mentioning the general Welfare. Clearly they intended to convey in their language that the Federal Government was responsible for the defense of our Constitutional Republic from its enemies, foreign and domestic. This is further evidenced within the Constitution itself where “providing for the common defense” is enumerated in Article I. Section 8. as follows:
To define and punish Piracies...; To declare War...; To raise and support Armies...; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces;
Clearly from the Preamble and Article I. Section 8. military/defense spending, the maintenance of our armed forces is a constitutional mandate and other things are not. No such delineation of responsibilities can be found however regarding “promoting the general Welfare.” Our Founding Fathers intended to express a difference between these two purposes, or responsibilities, of the Preamble. One, “provide for the common defense,” was an assignment TO DO. The other, “promote the general Welfare,” was an assignment to ENCOURAGE but not to be directly involved with the Welfare of We the People, the citizenry. The Welfare of We the People was to be left to the several States as outlined in the Tenth Amendment. Or in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.”
James Madison, the Father of our Constitution, also understood this. His words as recorded in the Founders’ Archives, “If Congress can apply money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may establish teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the union; they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation, down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare.”
Also, as he wrote in a letter to Edmund Pendleton, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions. It is to be remarked that the phrase out of which this doctrine is elaborated, is copied from the old articles of Confederation, where it was always understood as nothing more than a general caption to the specified powers, and it is a fact that it was preferred in the new instrument for that very reason as less liable than any other to misconstruction.”
The sixth of We the People’s purposes for establishing our Constitutional Republic was to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
By this, the Founding Fathers expressed their desire that our Constitution and the republican form of government which it established were to continue in perpetuity. They not only wanted the Blessings of Liberty they established in our Constitutional Republic for themselves but they wanted to insure that their Posterity would also have those same Blessings of Liberty.
May God Bless and Save the United States of America —
Our Constitutional Republic !