Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Constitution, Part 1

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.”

Lets start pulling this apart and look at this from the perspective of plain English.

WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES: A hopeful declaration of who this document is from and for.

IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION: This statement of fact presupposes that the people who came up with this were aware that perfection is an unattainable goal; but, a goal to strive for nonetheless.

ESTABLISH JUSTICE: to make firm or stable or to put beyond doubt; the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action (2): conformity to this principle or ideal.

INSURE DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY: to make certain especially by taking necessary measures and precautions; of, relating to, or originating within a country and especially one's own country; the quality or state of being tranquil (free from disturbance or turmoil).

PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENCE: to take precautionary measures; for the ; relating to a community at large; the act or action of defending or capability of resisting attack.

PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE: to contribute to the growth or prosperity of, or, to help bring (as an enterprise) into being; the; involving, applicable to, or affecting the whole or not confined by specialization or careful limitation; the state of doing well especially in respect to good fortune, happiness, well-being, or prosperity.

AND SECURE THE BLESSINGS OF LIBERTY: assured in opinion or expectation: having no doubt; the a thing conducive to happiness or welfare; of freedom from arbitrary or despotic control or the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges or the power of choice.

TO OURSELVES AND OUR POSTERITY: those identical ones that are we —used reflexively ourselves>, for emphasis ourselves will never go>, or in absolute constructions <ourselves no longer young, we can sympathize with those who are old> and our all future generations.

DO ORDAIN AND ESTABLISH THIS CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: to establish or order by appointment, decree, or law; to fix or resolve conclusively OR o establish or secure permanently OR to take up an ordered or stable life; the basic principles and laws of a nation, state, or social group that determine the powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people in it b: a written instrument embodying the rules of a political or social organization; being in agreement; a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory ; especially : one that is sovereign b: the political organization of such a body of people c: a government or politically organized society having a particular character state> state>.


The Preamble to the Constitution is an interesting collection of words and thoughts. It reflects the hopes and dreams of the people who first put this to paper back in the 1780’s. The authors had the experience with a monocracy and wanted nothing more of it. The earlier Articles of Confederation were also found to be sorely lacking. The authors knew that they could do better. This is their effort to bring order to chaos. As so many others have offered, this document is the Great Experiment in Self Governance. After the Constitutional Convention concluded, a man asked Franklin “what form of government have you given us?”, Franklin responded “A republic, if you can keep it!”.

The Constitution is the instructions to how to set up and manage the machinery of government. The Preamble gives us the ‘What’ and the ‘Why’. The rest of the document is the ‘How”

Your mileage will vary.

No comments: