Friday, September 16, 2005

The U.S. Constitution

Throughout most of history people have been governed by men who were, despite their many titles, dictators. Although a benevolent monarchy can be a good and very effective form of government, we have seldom seen benevolence. To the contrary, we usually see someone who uses the governed to inflate their personal position. Whether they feel they are the highest authority or whether the highest authority, aka God, appointed them to their position, the result is usually the same, tyranny.

The U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution were greatly influenced by the pamphlet Common Sense by Thomas Pane. Pane wrote that the best form of government was no government but whenever humans interact there have to be set rules or standards between them to govern their behavior. Due to the inherent nature of men, when enough people gather there needs to be a governing body which can establish and, when needed, enforce these rules for the benefit of the group as a whole. Therefore, the purpose of government is to provide the least intrusive rules possible and to interfere with the business of the governed only when necessary.

I grew up in a home where the U.S. Constitution was virtually canon, the word of God. At a young age, my parents took me to a seminar by Cleon Skousen on the Constitution. Skousen is a respected Constitutional authority and I learned much from this seminar about the constitution and our founding fathers. Recently we have seen many attempts to belittle and occasionally demonize our founding fathers. These attacks attempt to portray them as regular men but the fact still remains that they were ordinary men in extraordinary situations who believed in something greater than themselves and were willing to do something about it. These men understood that the natural tendency of men in power is to abuse the power entrusted to them. They managed to overcome this tendency themselves and wrote a document that would help prevent this from destroying our society.

Delegates from each state were elected and arrived in Philadelphia ready to fight for the interests of the states they represented. The Constitutional Congress toiled hard and in complete secrecy for four months. On September 17th, 1787 a majority of delegates approved the document and they celebrated with a farewell banquet before taking it to their state legislatures to be ratified. The result of their work was a document written on four sheets of parchment which would change the course of humanity. It was based on an unprecedented concept that power was derived from, and belonged to, the people.

In 1848 a French author wrote,

The principle of the sovereignty of the people, which was enthroned in France but yesterday, has there [in America] held undivided sway for over sixty years…For sixty years the (American) people, who have made [the people’s sovereignty} the common source of all their laws, have increased continually in population, in territory, and in opulence; and –consider it well—the most prosperous, but the most stable, of all the nations of the earth…The republic there has not been the assailant, but the guardian, of all vested rights; the property of individuals has had better guarantees there than in any other country of the world; anarchy has there been as unknown as despotism…The principles on which the American Constitutions rest, those principles of order, of the balance of powers, of true liberty, of deep and sincere respect for right, are indispensable to all republics. (Democracy In America, New York, Vintage Books of Random house, 1945, ed 12, p.X)

I attest that God influenced the men who drafted the U.S. Constitution. It has the power to improve humanity to a degree only superseded by the word of God as recorded in scripture. It now stands as a beacon to oppressed peoples everywhere.

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