The Preamble – Declarative

Randy Kehr

“We the People of the United States, in Order to from a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.”

In Jacobson v. Mass (1905), the USSC sustained a view that the Preamble is basically declarative, and not legally binding in any sort of way. There is no force of law within it regarding the application or withholding of power. Yet, Mr. Morris, adding it to the document almost at the last minute, thought it was important to the understanding of the Constitution’s purpose. It was important to declare the intentions of the writers, and to give a place to the People themselves, that place being the recognized originators of all power. “We the People,” not “We the Elected Representatives”. Carrying force of law might be the desired and recognized purpose of the Preamble to many, but in reality, it is not necessary. The declaration made by the Preamble serves as the measure of the document which, in turn, lays measure to the law. It doesn’t serve as law, but rather forces law to be subservient to its intent. For, if the meaning of the Preamble is somehow separate from Original Intent, then it has no meaning at all.

A Constitution, as we have here, is the declared intent of a people, made known to all, as to the form of government they will allow and control. With limits on governmental power, and with definitions of rights held to the people and the states, the Framers, through the Constitution, sought to declare the acceptable and righteous relationship between man and government. They made it clear that the overwhelming point of this new government from was to protect the People from all forms and means of tyranny. The People come first. Government serves them. No doubt is to exist as to that established desire and fact.

People are creative beings, and use their creativity to better their lot. When the lot to be bettered is that of a criminal mind, criminal devices come into play. No system of man is proof against evil intent. Given enough time, corrupted men can and will subvert power to their desires. Our Constitution is not immune to such efforts. “We the People of the United States” stand in the way of such men, and every power available to us as protections for our rights and the form of government we enjoy is hated by them. So, with much noise on some fronts, and with silent pushing on others, they work to change the perceived meaning of the Constitution, and alter the public’s beliefs as to the declarations within it.

If Original Intent is forgotten and /or rejected, the vacuum left behind will be filled with something else. Our nation exists largely in its current form because of the resiliency of the Constitution, even while it is under assault and suffers from decades of perverse attack. Without the Constitution, there is no US of A. It is important to teach people about “We the People” because not understanding it allows all manner of political and social experiments and corruption to take root and grow. The resulting changes will slowly erode the Founder’s intent, the framework of the Republic and our national identity.

As I travel here and there, I find people interested in related political debate. I most generally “win”, and in doing so, leave them behind with some knowledge they actually appreciate having. I work to educate one brain at a time. Sometimes it is hard work. Other times, it is as refreshing as a good desert. Either way, though, the work is important. Each generation stands to lose a piece of our heritage. Our task is to preserve it, and to fight any ideology that seeks to destroy the Framer’s work and the lives we enjoy as a result.


Posted on January 21, 2013, in Constitution, Preamble, Randy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. What really troubles me today is the notion that it’s “us” vs. “the government”. You hear this everywhere, left & right & (sometimes) center. But we ARE the government, for good or for evil. When the government goes astray it’s because WE went astray. We either stopped paying attention, stopped voting, stopped funding candidates, stopped practicing our fundamental rights (speech, press, assembly, petitioning, etc.), or stopped doing any number of things.

    “We” seem to be letting our government run on auto-pilot, without our direct participation. No wonder we have the mess we are in.

    The other thing I’d like to point out about the Preamble is it may be “We the People”, but it’s “the people” who existed over 200 years ago. But is it We, the Modern-Era People?? I’d like to see a modern-age Constitutional Convention just so we can review the entire document today, with today’s sensibilities, and everything we’ve learned during the last 235 years of our existence, and once again make it OUR document, instead of something sitting under yellowed glass in an archive somewhere.


  2. The “People” of 225 years ago created something so very unique, that it would be difficult to match their accomplishment today. I don’t believe we need a new Convention. If there is an issue with the document, it can be rectified (in theory) via the amendment process. That was included and structured in such a way as to slow changes enough to allow for thought and reason to temper emotion. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it’s the best process available, in my opinion.

    A new Convention would not have the experience of a revolution against tyranny to influence concerns over personal and state’s rights. I honestly cannot see today’s crowd of voters considering much more than what they could get government to redistribute. Codified into a new constitution – the desires of today’s growing entitlement class would present a major threat to personal liberty. Perhaps a fatal one. It is a new form of tyranny, and must be defeated on the battlefield of public discourse and interpersonal education. Giving them the means to destroy our constitutional guarantees would simply be handing over our swords.


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