The Preamble to the United States Constitution is a brief introductory statement of the fundamental purposes and guiding principles which the Constitution is meant to serve. It expresses in general terms the intentions of our founding fathers as they constructed the Constitution.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.”
Understanding the Preamble. The Preamble can be broken down into many phrases, all of which are very important for understanding the purpose of the United States Constitution. While anyone can bend or twist words to meet their purpose, I believe the following are the most commonly held interpretations of these phrases:
We the people: This phrase means all the citizens of the United States of America. Even though the Constitution was written by some of the most well-educated men of the new country, the rights given under the document were given to all American citizens.
In order to form a more perfect union: The previous government was based on the Articles of Confederation, which created a loose confederation of sovereign states and a weak central government, leaving most of the power with the state governments. The need for a stronger Federal government soon became apparent. When the Framers wrote the Constitution, they felt that they were making a new government that would be a better way to govern the country.
Establish justice: The reasons why there was Revolution against England were still important to the American citizens, so they wanted to make sure that they would have justice under the Constitution.
Insure domestic tranquility: One of the main reasons why the Constitutional Convention was held was because of Shays’ Rebellion. This was an uprising of farmers in Massachusetts against the state for having to repay war debts. Citizens were worried with the keeping peace within the country’s borders.
Provide for the common defense: There was still a chance of being attacked by other countries. No individual state had the power to defend itself against attacks. Because of this, the Framers knew that it was important for the states to defend the nation together.
Promote the general welfare: This phrase meant that the well-being of the citizens would be taken care of as well as possible by the Federal government.
Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity: The point of this phrase in the Preamble, and the constitution as a whole was to help protect the country’s hard-earned rights for liberty against unjust laws, and freedom from a tyrannical government.
Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America: This last phrase of the Preamble is a powerful statement saying that the people made this document, and the people give the country its power.
Sources: Library of Congress (loc.gov), usconstitution.net, Laws.com