September 3, 2023

Why the Constitution?

By: Marty Simmons

Hello, this is Marty.  I am starting on this quest of articles that should concern us all.  Hopefully it will be one that will help us all understand and realize the great blessings of this great country, the United States of America.

As I had first written, I will begin this series with the need for the Constitution of the United States, a few of the most important “hows and whys” surrounding the Constitution, and how it came about.  I cannot, however, with the space given, go into all the nuances and details of history that are all parts of what became the Constitution of the United States.  So I ask that you take this article and what it says and do your research for yourself, and educate yourself as to the founding document of this country in which we live.  In reading you’ll find that meanings of certain words have changed between the time they were written and the definitions we now have.  I suggest that you consult the 1828 Webster’s dictionary for the clearest meaning of the words used in the Constitution and other basic documents of our country for that time period.  This can be accessed on the internet, as well as the other references cited in this article.

In the beginning of my research I quickly became bogged down with so much information.  It would be impossible to amass it all, especially with the limited space given.  I therefore distilled my research to the Federalist Papers (written anonymously by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, after the Declaration of Independence and before ratification of the Constitution of the United States), and the articles written by Thomas Paine known as “Common Sense” (written and published in 1776).

First it is necessary to know what was happening to the colonists at that time.  They had left Britain and Europe for over 150 years, and had for the first time in hundreds of years enjoyed self-government and independence from the totalitarian governments of kings, monarchs, and religious despots.  Many had come to America to be free from religious persecutions, to own property, and to have the ability to determine their own lives.  This gave them several important core beliefs and attitudes.  One was being independent to make one’s own choices and to be responsible for those choices, not to be subservient to an authority requiring total compliance, no matter their personal beliefs.  The colonies in those years began to be prosperous, and opportunities were great in this new land.  It was then that the French and the English sent Nobles and Lords to possess huge tracts of land and be given great authority over others much like what it was before coming to America.  The British and their Lords and Nobles worked against this individualism and freedom that colonists had for themselves.  This was done by unfair taxation, unfair trade, arrests without due cause, criminal sentencing for daring to voice opinions different then what was wanted, and for seizure of property including firearms, goods, and monies.

Because of these three main reasons, the colonists sought to break away from Britain and a government that was totalitarian.  First was religious freedom, for many had broken away from Catholicism and Anglicanism, which in both cases were more political then religious at the time.  This caused great difficulties if disagreed with (including imprisonment, torture, loss of family, stature, freedom, and even death), for both religions required absolute obedience to their canon of commandments.  Second was freedom of speech.  At that time they were censored and arrested for speech that went against the King.  It makes one wonder if that is happening today.  The third was the right to bear arms.  The colonists knew as a people that if they could bear arms that they would never be enslaved.  If the right to defend oneself is taken away, there is no liberty but only servitude to whoever is in power.  History is replete with examples of people that cannot defend themselves, not only from an enemy, but from a tyrannical government.  After the Tea Party focusing of all infractions from Britain, came the Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776.  It wasn’t until 17 September 1787, that the Constitution was signed.

Now this Constitution was not set up as a democracy, but as a republic with three separate branches of power and duties, executed through a democratic process.  Much of the Constitution came out of two main sources, the “Common Sense” articles written by Thomas Paine, and the Federalist Papers written in 1787 until the Constitution had been ratified by all the states ending in June 1788.

In closing I offer two quotes, one from “Common Sense” and the other from the Declaration of Independence.  Thomas Paine wrote this obvious truism which is as follows: “Government even in its best states is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”

We must always remember our rights come not from the government, but from a supreme Creator.  As the Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights [unalienable meaning they cannot be given or taken away], that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In later articles we will go more into the Constitution and the fact that it truly is a living document.  We will also go into the Bill of Rights and how important these documents are to the freedom of all men.

Thank you kindly,
Marty Simmons

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