Constitution for Idiots

James Madison, Hamilton's major collaborator, ...

James Madison, a Scholar and a Gentleman - Image via Wikipedia

By Gary McCoy

Global Exclaimer Writer

(Disclaimer: I am not a teacher, attorney, Constitutional Scholar, or any other sort of expert, just an Average Joe)

With all the Left and Right mud-slinging and crazy rhetoric out there I have decided to actually read the Constitution and see what I think it says and means. I like to think of myself as smart and educated but through this process I suppose we will see. I am sure through this process you will be able to glean my political leanings BUT I am going to try to keep my political views out of this research and read and interpret based on what it actually says.  If you have any disagreements with my interpretations or would like to comment I would invite an open discussion.

Ok, now on with the work. I think we should start with the actual Preamble.

Merriam-Webster online says:

pre-am-ble noun \ ˈprē-ˌam-bəl, prē-ˈ : an introductory statement; especially : the introductory part of a constitution or statute that usually states the reasons for and intent of the law

So let’s agree that this is an idea written by the people who will explain their intent for the following constitution. I have done some online research and it seems that there were many committees that helped write the preamble however it looks like the Committee of Stile (not to be confused with Style, sorry Tyra Banks) is a common group actually credited with the final outcome. Alexander Hamilton, Rufus King, James Madison, Gouverneur Morris, and William Johnson  were charged with the task on September 10th, 1787 and by September 12th, 1787 they had the final draft and presented to the convention. Honestly I have not heard of some of the people on that list but, I can imagine that they were very powerful and influential people in their day by the names of the ones I DO know. The following is what they came up with:

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 to our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The first thing I noticed is it says We the People… which to me says that even though the people writing it must have been the elite they were thinking of EVERYONE down to the normal person trying to hack out a living in that time. I would think if they meant only the elite they would have said We the upper class or something like that. It also reads that they were trying to separate themselves from the past and wanted to create a UNION of people and states. It doesn’t just say States either which I find interesting. They seem to want to convey that it was a joint decision on behalf of the UNION of people creating the new Americas.

They then go on to say what this new Union would do. Establish Justice seems to be self explanatory, insure domestic Tranquility also pretty straight forward as no one wanted to have lawlessness, provide for the common defence (odd spelling but spelled that way in all 3 Constitutions I read) is interesting because they seem to want to say that it is the duty of ALL the people of the UNION to help defend and protect that Union. Remember they did not say We the Elite or We the Government.

Promote the general Welfare… this one of course is the topic of many debates but to me it says PROMOTE the general Welfare not “ensure” the general Welfare. And again I would assume that they wanted to put this in as saying that everyone would have the ability to give Charity to those less fortunate but on their own terms and of their own free will.

…and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, is interesting because they obviously thought that not living under the rule of England or various other Monarchies was a Blessing and were happy to receive it. They also of course wanted to secure that Blessing for themselves at that time as well as everyone to come during the existence of the United States.

…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America again pretty straight forward.

One other thing I noticed is that they, in all 3 versions of the Preamble capitalized words that would not normally be capitalized. Order, Union, Justice, Tranquility, Welfare, Blessings, Liberty, and Posterity were all capitalized which to me would say that those words were important and should be paid attention to.

It is also important to note that the Preamble does not actually spell out any direct or indirect powers of government.

Next time we will start with the Bill of Rights article 1. I hope that this sparks some talk and debate between the people who read this. After all isn’t that the point of the USA, to talk about ideas and to further our great Nation?

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3 responses to “Constitution for Idiots

  1. Dear Gary, I was wondering, as you went along on this venture, if you would be commenting on the indoctrination taking place in our schools, where they have used the preamble to teach that housing and food are government secured rights for the people.

    Paddy

  2. Paddy,
    In my analysis of the Bill of Rights there may be some linking to today but I am trying to look at this logically and not get on my soapbox on any one issue. I would like to open a dialog to any and all political leanings to look at the facts of what was said and have a rational debate.

    That being said I may delve into more of what is going on today at a later time. Please feel free to add any comments you wish about your feelings on each section. The only thing I ask is to keep your comments relevant to the article of that day.

    Thank you for reading!

  3. Pingback: Eric Cantor: Whatever Happened to ‘Compassionate Conservatives’? |

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