Lacey Smith

Freedom Fridays: The Preamble (pt 3)

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2011 at 3:30 am

Yes, I know it is technically Sunday morning, and that I didn’t get a post out Friday or Saturday but I’m giving you one now. These aren’t posts I rush through writing and since I’m currently on vacation and didn’t get one written before I left… well, excuses stink but it’s what I’ve got.

Last week’s post focused on the first seven words of the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution. This week’s focuses on the next eight (we are humming right along… we might get through the Preamble by the time I’m 30… no, not really).

This next phrase, “in Order to form a more perfect Union” is the first purpose of the Constitution.

To understand what this means, why it was so important to be placed first and what importance it has today, we have to understand the history.

Between 1777 and 1787, the American colonies/states were relying on a unifying document called the Articles of Confederation. Although it’s actually a fairly good document, it gave Congress no real power over the states.

The states, adjusting to their newly gained freedom ended up more divided than confederate. There was infighting, increased debt and other financial concerns, and unequal representation in Congress, among other problems.

Essentially, the Articles of Confederation were about as enforceable as the treaties between Israel and Palestine.

In 1786, Shays’ rebellion spurred the need to alter the Articles of Confederation. The delegates who attended this convention went there to fix the Articles, not to write a new constitution. That’s the official line anyway.

Many of the delegates knew before they got to the Constitutional Convention that the Articles of Confederation were not going to be able to achieve what needed to happen. If any didn’t know, they soon found out.

And so they set out to create a more perfect union.

One of the biggest obstacles to the new constitution was convincing people that such a strong central government was necessary. Remember that these people had just escaped the tyranny of England’s monarchy. They weren’t anxious to be under the thumb of another strong central government.

However, the Articles of Confederation were inadequate. In today’s political world, they look like anarchy.

The Constitution was never designed to create the kind of central government we have today. In fact, what we have now is exactly what they were worried about then. It just took us longer to get there than they feared.

The stronger government laid out in the Constitution was designed to accomplish that primary purpose: to form a more perfect union.

The states had a union, but none of the other goals of the Constitution could be completed without having a union that was better and a central government that was stronger.

We would not have survived as a country without a stronger central government, but now that government has overstepped and become the thing it’s creators and detractors feared for.

There is so much to understand about these eight words that I can’t put them into a blog post. I would have to spend days to explain it all. Go do your own study. Then you can come back and read the Constitution with understanding.

Establishing a more perfect union was the next goal of their day. Ours is to defend then restore then maintain it.

We have to realize that the balance is very fine and that either a too weak or a too strong central government makes a less perfect union and diminishes our ability to fulfill the other goals.

That is the message of this phrase, rich with historical undertones. Knowing all the history gives us a clear view of what type of union was “more perfect” to our founders and we must decide if that is the kind of union we want or if we want to rewrite the Constitution.

Those are our only two option. For me, I think the Constitution does it’s job. It doesn’t have to be completely perfect to be more perfect than anything else.

It’s up to us if it stays that way.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…”

  1. You’re exactly right! There is so much significance in every single word; it is hard to fly through the Preamble quickly.

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