Interpreting American Constitution
In my opinion, the statement We the people means the people of the United States of America, it means the different groups of people who came together to establish what is currently known as the United States of America. It essentially gives one a sense of authority and ownership of the borders that constitute the United States of America. In addition, by starting the wording of the constitution in such a manner, it shows that the document, upon which all governance is based, was actually drafted by the people and not thrust upon them. This concept is in my opinion both literal, as it serves as a reminder that the constitution belongs to the people, and as such any authority bestowed upon an individual by the constitution, is essentially by the people. In short, all authority is given by the people and as such by swearing to uphold the constitution; one is swearing allegiance to the people of the United States of America. The statement also highlights the fact that the contents of the constitution are essentially the wishes of the people, based on what they believe to be right and wrong.
The concept of the people being in control is not only evidenced by the fact that selection for elective posts is done by the people, but also by the fact that most of the individuals elected to these posts are forced to abide by the guidelines provided by the people. These guidelines ensure peaceful coexistence and accountability for all, regardless of race, creed or class. The three arms of government are actually established and controlled by the people, the legislative arm is elected, the executive arm is partly elected, and part of the judiciary is also elected. This therefore means that the concept of the people being in control still applies to date.
Functions of the Government as Listed in the Preamble
i) To provide justice: The government must ensure everyone can access justice and that the system is fair to all involved.
ii) To ensure internal peace and security: The government through the various security organs such as the police, DHS, FBI, CIA and Federal Marshalls ensures that the people coexist peacefully and are protected from any internal threats.
iii) To defend the borders of the United States of America: The government must ensure that the country is secured from any external threats, through the use of the military.
iv) To better the lives of Americans: The government must provide for the basic needs of all Americans, by providing for services such as health care, housing, safe water, and other necessities
v) To protect the peoples freedoms and those of their children: To ensure that the bill of rights is safeguarded and everyones freedoms and liberties are not curtailed. (The Constitution of the United States
Personally the fifth function aimed at ensuring everyones entitlement to the bill of rights is respected and upheld is the function that has had the greatest impact on me as an American citizen. I chose this function specifically because it essentially stipulates that the government must help protect what my rights are as a person, therefore essentially outlining the governments duty to me as an individual. This function also ensures that I am able to exist freely as a person within certain confines of the group and ensures my rights and privileges are not trampled upon. It is some of these rights that motivated the founding fathers to draft the constitution, making the function of protecting them paramount on the list of government functions (Lowi, Ginsberg, Weir, and Spitzer, 44).
The preamble of the United States fundamental function is to act as a guide to the constitution. This is also embraced by the Missouri constitution preamble which also acts as a guide to the bill of rights and the constitution as a whole.
We the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness, do establish this constitution for the better government of the state. (Missouri Constitution)
Retrieved from http://www.moga.mo.gov/preamble.htm
The constitution of the United States abides to the entire country while that of Missouri is for the state. However, the state still has to uphold the United States constitution. Both constitutions begin with stating they are a constitution, then the year of establishment followed by preambles. Both preambles basically mean the same though the United States preamble is slightly longer. The preambles act as an introduction to the constitutions and tend to tell the expected achievements of the constitution. In addition, both Missouri and United States preambles are of limited nature and therefore the can not give power to federal government or even be used in any adjudication case.
The Missouri and United States preambles are different is several ways beginning with the fact that the United States preamble is backed up by 7 main articles and 29 sub sections meaning that its more detailed. Missouri constitution is designed to govern a state while that of the U.S governs the entire United States, for this reason the Missouri constitution incorporates sections of the U.S constitution permeable is several areas. For instance, U.S permeable words are used as a guide in the Missouri constitution on areas of natural rights, pursuit of happiness, right to enjoy a person own industry. Both preambles emphasize on peoples rights and government roles, the main difference in the two preambles is not only their sizes but the fact that they designed to govern different regions that is the federal government in Missouri and the United States as a whole.
Ginsberg, Benjamin, Lowi, Theodore, Weir, Margaret, and Spitzer, Robert. We the People: An Introduction to American Politics (Eighth Edition). W. W. Norton & Company, 2010. Print.
Constitution of the United States. 1787. Web. 7 July 2012. <http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html>
Missouri Constitution. n.d. Web. 7 July 2012. < http://www.moga.mo.gov/preamble.htm>
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