Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Purpose in Government

United States of America

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.

When the newly free Colonies called for a convention that ended up writing a Constitution for a new Government, we alread had a Government. It operated under the Articles of Confederation. Why did we decide we need a new Government.

It's simple.  The first try was not working.  The Colonies were acting like 13 Nations and were constantly fighting. We had just created a new Europe.  And most of the countries of old Europe were stronger than us.  We need to work together or end up as colonies again.  We needed to "form a more perfect union.".

We need to be sure that everyone was treating everyone else with fairness.  We need to be sure that people and the laws of one state were treated with respect in each of the other states.  We needed to "establish justice".

We needed to be sure special interest groups did not take up violence against others with whom they had disagreements.  We need to be sure that there was no armed resistance to law and order.  We needed  "insure domestic tranquility".

We also were in danger from outsiders who wanted to use our land for their purposes.  We need to be aware of danger from the outside.   We needed to "provide for the common defense".

We need to try to see that our citizens did not starve, or go homeless or suffer unduly  in sickness or be unnecessarily ignorant. After all, in a democratic society the government is the institution of the people. We needed to "promote the general welfare".

And lastly we need to have control over our individual lives and we need this freedom of choice to be guaranteed to our descendants.  We needed to "secure the blessing of  liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

So this Convention proposed, voted on and wrote down the ways they thought we could best make these things happen. They call it the Constitution.  After the appropriate number of free colonies voted to accept this  document as our governing covenant the people had agreed to  "ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It has take more than 200 years and a bloody Civil War and a lot of other bloodshed to make us the Greatest Nation on Earth.  There is a lot more to do to make it "Perfect"  As long as the People  make sure that it is their Government and working for their interest we still have a chance  to secure the blessings of Liberty to our posterity.  In the words of Abraham Lincoln it is up to us to make sure  "that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." 

Copyright © William Hodge 2012

1 comment:

  1. Once upon a time I had the leisure to engage this in depth, as the material deserves. Alas ... perhaps some day soon. But just this for now:
    "We needed to "promote the general welfare" ... I think there's a profound conservative thread that would disagree with this, suggesting that this is "picking winners and losers" i.e. there should be a minimal security, but after that ... virtues would arise through competition, not by government influence.