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Thoughts on the Constitution (2)

The Preamble

We the Peopleof 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.

The preamble to the Constitution declares both the purposes for which the document was written and the authority by which it was created. The new form of government is said to be authorized by We the People of the United States. These famous words have become so much a part of the American ethos that we can hardly imagine any patriot in the founding era raising an objection to them. The words, however, were objected to in the most strenuous terms by Patrick Henry, who argued that the authority to create a federal government rested with the states as states and not with the people of the states.
I would make this inquiry of those worthy characters who …

Thoughts on the Constitution (1)

Introduction:  Strict versus Loose Construction

When the Constitution was signed by its framers on September 17, 1787 and sent to the states for ratification, it was intended that—upon the approval of at least nine states (Art. VII)—the document would become “the supreme law of the land” (Art. VI). The ninth state to ratify the Constitution was New Hampshire, which took its decisive vote on June 21, 1788, and the new federal government under the Constitution formally began the following Spring with the inauguration of George Washington as president. The Constitution has served our country well for over 200 years, but like any form of government it is only as good as the men who administer it. The integrity of the Constitution depends entirely upon the integrity of those who are elected to hold office under it. It can only be an effective instrument of government if its officers are committed to abiding by its strictures. This is why officeholders in the federal government are require…