On Sept 17, 1787, Forty -two delegates signed the Constitution. Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Thomas Lynch and Arthur Middleton were the South Carolina digners. Instead of revising the weak Articles of Confederation, the congress had written a new document and given the people a Republic. The Constitution protected God -given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that had been declared in the Declaration of Independence.
The Pilgrims, Puritans, Quakers and other religious groups had come to the new land for the pursuit of happiness .Happiness was being able to worship God as they pleased without persecution. To insure a limited government, a Preamble was written for the Constitution that outlined only six reasons for government.
1. To form a more perfect union, which was one that was neither too weak as under the Articles of Confederation nor one that was too tyrannical as under the King of England, but at the pivot point of balance where the people could be free.
2. To establish justice where people were innocent until proven guilty.
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3. To insure domestic tranquility ,as Thomas Jefferson had expressed no foreign entanglements, alliances nor treaties.
4. Provide for the common defense that government was for the protection of citizens from invasions and domestic riots
5. Promote the general welfare where everyone would be equal under the law without any special privileges for individuals or special interests groups
6. Secure the blessings of liberty would be accomplished for themselves and their posterity if these principles of freedom were followed as laid out and protected by the Constitution.
Still fearing a tyrannical government, the Bill of Rights was passed on Dec 15, 1791, with a preamble for the purpose of these additions and concerns: “in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of power that further declaration and restrictive clauses should be added.”
The Bill of Rights consists of the first 10 amendments of the Constitution. Two more amendments were added and this was the original Constitution of limited government until after the War Between the States.
In 1913 the 16th amendment very boldly gave the power to the federal government to tax individual incomes directly and thus a great power shift of money from the states to the central power. The 17th amendment changed the structure of government from a democratic Republic to a democracy as the election of senators became a popular vote of the people rather than the senators chosen to represent the states by their state legislators.
George Washington had convinced James Madison and the vounders of the necessity of the senators being a check and balance as representatives of their state to “cool off the passions” of the House, which represented the people and were chosen by democratic vote.
By 1991 there were 27 amendments that had now created a powerful central government which altered the vision of our founders and their concerns of tyranny. In more recent years the Constitution has been considered as outdated despite its roots in the principles of freedom from the commonwealth of the Anglo Saxons and Israelites in their struggles and successes in being a free people. The sovereignty of this nation has been given over in treaties, to the UN with its” human rights “and executive orders and directives rather than Constitutional principles.
Government leaders and corporations have become self promoting and blame each other for the failure of society, polarizing groups for political gains.
As we abandon the principles of freedom and as we elect people without character as our leaders; as we divide by political parties, gender, race and social classes; as we lose the values of life, self reliance, respect, integrity, honesty anddo unto other; as we allow God to be taken out of society and porno ,drugs and crime to replace Him... the words of our Founders will ring true that “only a virtuous people can remain free.”
Each individual has a responsibility to be the best person he can be as the watch guard of freedom for the generations to come. We must be the kind of people that we profess to be from the legacy of our forefathers so we all may secure the blessings of liberty.
The writer lives in North Myrtle Beach.