Originally posted 2009-07-03 01:40:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
With this article we begin a series of examinations of the US Constitution, which we hope will provide enlightening insights into its meaning and its Framers’ thinking about government in the young American republic of the late 18th century. We will explore the background behind the issues it addresses with an attempt to place them in both a historical context, as well as in a way that they relate to modern day issues and common situations we observe every day. Our most ambitious hopes are that these articles will make the Constitution more “real” and approachable for the average American so that its meaning can be more broadly understood, appreciated, and applied in life.
And in the spirit of this blog, we will also bring out interesting and less know details about the Constitution, fun facts and interesting conversation topics we hope you will find educational and which you will share with others.
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In this first article, we begin with The Preamble of the US Constitution, which reads:
“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.”
We the People. In the Constitution its Framers instituted a visionary new structure of government, one which completely reversed the role of citizens from being subjects of the government to a system where citizens hold democratic control and influence over it. “We the People” are fantastically insightful opening words which underscore this point and create the foundation for the thinking that underlies all facets of the document.
A More Perfect Union. Until the signing and ratification of the Constitution, the structure of the American government was based on the loosely worded Articles of Confederation, which the Framers saw as inadequate. They sought to strengthen the bond between the states and, by so doing, “form a more perfect Union” between its constituent members.
Insure Domestic Tranquility. The history of the young America was full of internal struggles and frequent battles between individual groups representing state or regional interests which threatened to pull the country apart and, by so doing, weaken its ability to defend itself against England, its maternal nemesis. By establishing a strong federated government with the interests of states well defined and protected, the Framers wanted to “insure domestic Tranquility” and unite the country against the many dangers which the young republic was likely to face.
You might notice that some words in the Constitution appear to be misspelled. In 18th century America spelling rules were not fully standardized and many words (e.g. “defence”) were spelled in the English manner. Other words, such as “chuse” (instead of choose) are not as much spelling errors as they are alternative spellings generally accepted at the time. As far as true misspellings, there is only one confirmed, and that is “Pensylvania” (spelled with a single “n”).
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In the next issue we will begin the description and examination of Article I, which defines the structure and role of the Legislative branch of our government, including the House of Representatives and the Senate. All articles in this series will be found under the “Exploring the Constitution” article post category.