Showing posts from November, 2012

Thoughts on the Constitution 4

Overview of the Articles of the Constitution The Constitution, exclusive of the Bill of Rights and later amendments, consists of seven articles. The first four of these are subdivided into sections. (See below for an outline of the Articles.) The first three articles deal with the basic powers of government:  legislative (Art. 1), executive (Art. 2), and judicial (Art. 3). These three powers of government ultimately belong to God. For the L ord is our judge [judicial power]; the L ord is our lawgiver [legislative power];  the L ord is our king [executive power]; he will save us (Isaiah 33:22) The Constitution provides that these three powers are to be distributed into three separate branches of the federal government. In this arrangement, the Framers’ clearly reflect the ideas of Baron de Montesquieu. In his Spirit of the Laws , Montesquieu called for “the separation of powers” as a means of avoiding the tyranny that so often accompanies the concentration of power into

Thoughts on the Constitution 3

The Preamble (continued) The next stated purpose of the Constitution was to insure domestic Tranquility . This refers to the maintaining of peace and order both within and between the states. After the War for Independence there were uprisings in a number of states that threatened to undermine, if not to completely overthrow local government. Most of these disturbances grew out of protests over taxes levied by the states to pay their war debts. In some states taxes were higher after the war than before. Perhaps the most serious threat to domestic tranquility within a state came in the form of Shays’ rebellion. This was an armed uprising in central and western Massachusetts in 1786-1787, led by Daniel Shays, a farmer and veteran of the war. The rebellion began with protesters shutting down county courts in order to put a stop to hearings involving the collection of debts and taxes. When some of the leaders of the protest movement were arrested, the more radical members organi