Thank you for returning to Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. As I teach my adult students, I realize how many have little knowledge of what the Constitution actually says and what it does for We the People of the United States. That’s the subject of today’s articles. Let’s dive right in!
A cornerstone is the first stone laid in a structure. It is the reference stone by which all other stones in that building are laid. It is only one stone of a large structure but it is the most important because it carries the weight of the structure. The U.S. Constitution combined with the Declaration of Independence serve as our cornerstone of our American government.
Here are some cornerstone facts about our Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land:
Our Constitution limits and defines the federal government’s powers so we do not come under tyranny from any one group or individual. Our Founders did not want us to be subject to a tyrant. We are subject to the Constitution. We are not subjects of a monarchy or dictatorship. We are citizens.
Also, the Constitution does NOT define our rights, nor does it grant us our rights. The Constitution is based on the fact that we are made in the image and likeness of God. Our unalienable rights come from God. They are not granted to us by government. Therefore, government is obligated to protect our God-given rights. If We the People let this change, we may still be a country, but not the United States of America as we know it.
The Constitution limits and clearly defines the federal government’s powers. Any additional powers are given to either the states or to We the People. The individual states are also required by the Constitution to protect our God-given rights.
Accordingly, the Constitution’s goal is NOT to make every state the same. We live on different terrains, with different natural resources and varying needs that are best served locally. The Constitution addresses the areas that keep the unity and general welfare of the individual 50 states.
“You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.” – James Madison, Founding Father, Fourth U.S. President, and The Father of the U.S. Constitution.
The United States of America is the first nation to design such a government where both the government and the governed control themselves. It is called a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy.
The Constitution calls for We the People to choose our leaders from among us through an elections process that is clearly defined.
All appropriations of money go through the House of Representatives, the branch of government closest to We the People. Therefore, We the People have a say in expenditures and taxes through the representatives we elect.
Our Founders knew that power corrupts, so they split the power up between three branches of government: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.
Legislative Branch- makes the law.
Executive Branch- enforces the law.
Judicial Branch- discovers and applies the law according to the Constitution. Only one branch makes law. Only one branch enforces the law. Only one branch discovers and applies the law.
Can you think of any other Constitutional “cornerstone” facts that we need to keep top of mind?
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.🇺🇸
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