Today, Friday September 17 is Constitution Day. Two hundred twenty-three years ago, on September 17, 1787, the US Constitution was signed by attendees at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and sent to the states. On June 21, 1788, its ratification was complete and our Constitution became the guiding document for the freest nation ever in history.
It is telling that suddenly in 2010 there is new awareness of our Constitution among more Americans than ever before in an age when disturbingly large numbers of people do not even know what the document means. This ignorance is a result of Democrat control of our public education and the expunging of American history from that system.
This new Constitutional awareness is emerging because a minority of Democrats, leftists and socialists are using government power to undermine freedom itself while millions of us are seeing our liberties under threat.
Socialism is precisely the system that our Founders warned against – a big-government society controlled by and for the benefit of political elites and their cronies to the detriment of the people. And under Obama and the current fiscal crisis, we are seeing precisely such a system which has been building for decades under incremental socialism.
That system now must be systematically dismantled as Americans use our electoral freedom to vote out those who have abused us for many, many years now.
Our American Constitution is the most succinct government document in all of human history, with more freedom guaranteed in fewer words than any other. And this is because our Constitution is not an endless litany of things we should be allowed to do, but a brief outline for a simple three-part balanced government – executive, legislative and judicial – followed by a short list of the things that the government cannot do like limit our free speech or our public assembly.
This list of ‘negative liberties’ – what the government is not allowed to do to us – is part of what makes our Constitution so great. Because as Democrats have proven in the health-care bill, government can constrain, confuse, disorient and overwhelm us, while We the People can liberate ourselves using those powers granted to us.
Ironically those so-called negative liberties in the first 10 Amendments – the Bill of Rights – were not part of the original Constitution, which was simply a description of a three-part system. The Framers thought that the original Constitution was enough to assure freedom, with its design for a balanced government that found a middle ground between anarchy (no government) and tyranny (total government control of the people).
The Bill of Rights was attached afterward at the recommendation of many states as a written reminder of the Natural Law rights that man is supposed to assume under his God-given liberty.
And let us thank God that those rights were codified because under the assaults of socialism, nothing can be assumed or guaranteed, not even the essential rights of man set down in earlier and more rudimentary forms by Cleisthenes, Cicero, Montesquieu, Blackstone and Locke.
Our Constitution improved on the ideas of these earlier figures. The three-headed eagle that represents the three branches of government would have been three separate eagles under the thinking of Locke. But the Founders created a three-headed eagle to note that the three powers operated through a single neck, and that the three departments need to function in conjunction with the others, not apart from them, in what has been called “coordination without consolidation”.
The wings of the eagle can be seen as the Problem Solving Wing on the left which can address social problems and unfilled needs; while the Resource-Conserving and Freedom-Conserving Wing on the right seeks to preserve the liberty and wealth of the people.
Today we have a situation where the so-called problem solvers on the left have far too much power and the resource and freedom conservers too little. And that is why Constitution Day is becoming more important to us than ever before. Thus we now find ourselves for the first time celebrating a day that has passed for decades without fanfare and that now is like April 15, a time for genuine reflection about where our nation is heading.
And while the Tea Party was born on April 15, 2009 Constitutional awareness is being reborn today, September 17, 2010. Together these two forces are merging to combat the abuse of basic human liberties – from both the economic and political angles – that is emerging from socialism.
Our Constitution’s predecessor, the Articles of Confederation of 1781, was the first unifying governing document of the new post-Revolution nation. It may have appeared to have been an adequate document, but under those Articles there was no executive, no judiciary, no taxing power and no enforcement power, but rather a loose confederation of states with little central authority. In other words, it was too close to anarchy.
The framing of a new document at the Constitutional Convention was a daunting task with many disparate factions. But the genius of the result was not a set of compromises, but seven articles of finely crafted and agreed-upon rules for governing cemented together by a scholarly elite. It took 60 ballots just to resolve the issue of how to elect the president!
The Bill of Rights came about when the states balked at the Constitution as submitted and offered 189 amendments. The Congress at the time approved ten of them and they were ratified by the states as an essential part of the new Constitution, the part to which the Supreme Court repeatedly refers.
The new document was seen as the most balanced approach to governing ever in history. James Madison, the so-called Father of the Constitution and the 4th president of the United States, described the division of political labor as follows:
‘The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite… The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.’
So imagine powerful, smart, privileged men like Madison and Washington helping to frame a document that would take power from… themselves!… and give it to the people. Amazing… But that is the selflessness of the American character and of the American Founders that has built a great nation like no other, one that will endure for the ages. These men put their own well-being on the line so that all the people can enjoy theirs in their lives, their liberty and their individual pursuits of happiness.
Happy Constitution Day, America!
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.