Democratic ideals in the preamble of the US Constitution
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Democratic ideals in the preamble of the US Constitution

September 22, 2019


– [Instructor] This over here is a picture of the Constitutional Convention, which we mentioned happened in 1787. The original intent of the
Constitutional Convention was to revise the
Articles of Confederation, but folks like Alexander
Hamilton and James Madison really wanted to replace the
Articles of Confederation. You can see it’s being presided
over by George Washington. And it starts, the preamble says: “We the People of the United States, “in Order to form 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.” Once again, pause this video,
and think about whether you see ideas of popular
sovereignty, limited government, social contract, natural rights, going on even in this preamble, or even from the fact
that they took the trouble to create this Constitution. Let’s start at the beginning. It starts with “We the People.” We, the people, are the ones that are creating this Constitution. And not only does it start
with “We the People,” but “We the People” is
intentionally written in this very, very large
writing right over here. This is a picture of the Constitution. It’s really all about “We the People.” The people are sovereign. This idea of popular sovereignty
comes out loud and clear in not just the Declaration
of Independence, but also the US Constitution. The fact that “We the People” are setting up this government, this is all about social contract. They are forming a government. They’re forming a social
contract with a government that is going to protect, that is going to establish justice, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare. Let me make this clear. That is this, this is all social contract. This is what we expect this government that we’re creating to do. “Promote the general welfare, “and secure the Blessings of Liberty “to ourselves and our Posterity.” Now what about things
like limited government? Well, just the very fact
that we have a Constitution is a sign of limited government, that it isn’t just a pure democracy, that whoever is governing
is going to be constrained. There, the rights of the government are going to be described
by this constitution. We also talk about the
Blessings of Liberty, so this is another
reference to natural rights. The Declaration of Independence is a little bit more clear
about natural rights, or a little bit more explicit, but the Blessings of
Liberty does talk about, or that’s maybe in reference
to, natural rights. I will leave you there. As we study US Government, both the Declaration of Independence and even more so the US Constitution are going to be things
that we keep going back to to understand how we are trying to form a more perfect Union, and what is in line with the vision of our Founding
Fathers, and what isn’t?

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