Continued from last month.
Just what did our Revolutionary War veterans fight to win?
In researching for this month's column, I came across The Heart and Soul of the Constitution, address by Sol Bloom, Director General of the United States Constitution Sesquicentennial Commission taken from the, The Story of the Constitution an official government publication copyright, 1937.
"Every American, as he studies the marvelous framework of the Constitution, can say with truth and pride: "This was made for me. It is my fortress. When danger threatens my life or liberty I can take safe refuge in the Constitution. Into that fortress neither President nor Congress nor armies nor mobs can enter and take away my life or liberty." You may ask me, where in the Constitution is there any language that throbs with human heartbeat? Where is the soul of the Constitution? My answer is, in every paragraph. All it's parts are mighty links that bind the people in an unbreakable chain of Union-a chain so beautifully wrought that it reminds us of the mystical golden chain which the poet saw binding earth to God's footstool.
Let us consider the preamble to the Constitution. We do not know from whose brain it came, but we know that it sounds the heartbeat of the framers. It is the majestic voice of the people, giving expression to their soul's desire. "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union." For what purpose? To make our liberties secure. For how long? So long as humanity wanders through the wilderness of time. For whom? For every man, woman, and child under the American flag.
"Establish Justice." What is justice but a guardian of liberty? My rights and immunities made secure against tyranny. Your right safeguarded against my wrong-doing. Your widow and your child protected when you are gone. Can there be a higher aspiration of the soul than to establish justice? Justice is an attribute of the Almighty Himself; for He said," I, the Lord thy God, am a just God."
"Insure domestic Tranquillity." The people longed for harmony. The framers of the Constitution saw that a central government would bring the States into common accord on all national questions, while removing other vexatious causes of disagreement. The very fact of equality of States was a guarantee of tranquillity. But the Constitution also provided a means whereby the government could protect the people against disturbances of public order and private security. The great charter thereby insured domestic order and peace, both among the states and the people.
"Provide for the common defense." It was well understood that the separated States were not strong enough to ward off foreign aggression. Divided, they invited invasion and conquest, even from the second-rate foreign powers. United, they constituted a nation capable of defending itself in every part. The framers therefore clothed the common government with power to make war and peace, to raise armies and navies, to use the State militia for common defense, to build arsenals and navy yards. All that a mighty nation can do to defend its people and territory the United States of America can do; and even in its infancy the United States became a powerful nation through union of the States. The protection provided by the Constitution is the protection which a wise father provides for his family. This nation is like a strong fort defended by armed men. And far out at sea, prepared to meet and destroy any assailant, the United States Navy rides the waves in unwearied and vigilant patrol.
"Promote the general Welfare." This provision has a far wider sweep than latter-day commentators accord to it. They seem to think that the government has limited powers in promoting the general welfare. They speak of relief of unemployment, flood control, and drought-control as examples of promoting the general welfare. Those objects may come within the scope of the government's general welfare powers, it is true, but those powers extend far beyond that point. The general welfare is promoted by the unification of the States. They are thus enabled to pool their resources and concentrate their energies. An example of promotion of the general welfare is the establishment of the postal system. Another example is provision for uniform coinage and currency. Still another is the consolidation of defense forces which I have just spoken. Indeed, the promotion of the general welfare by unification of the States is manifest in nearly every paragraph of the Constitution.
And finally, the Preamble declares that the Constitution is established to "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." Who are we but the posterity of the great souls who wrought for our perpetual liberty? Can you agree that the forefathers of America were selfish and heartless men, when this proof is given that 150 years ago they were thinking of us, their posterity and heirs? Are we of this day equally foresighted? Do we give thought to our posterity that will live 150 years from now? If we are ready to pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor for our distant posterity, we are worthy of the forefathers who did that much for us."
What a divine feast for the soul of the believer and those who truly love our Godly heritage for music in your ears join us for next month's Grande finale.