The Mechanicsville TEA Party held an essay contest for local kids. The winners receive a scholarship.
I have to say I am both amazed and encouraged by the knowledge and understanding these kids show. It is a credit to Hanover County as well as the parents of the writers of these essays.
Virginia Right! says Congratulations to all 3!
The U.S. Constitution Establishes and Maintains a Culture of Liberty
Liberty, what is liberty? Some of the first images to come to mind are of the American flag, patriots who are willing to die rather than to give up their freedom, or of the U.S Constitution itself. Liberty is freedom, with no one telling you how you have to live your life and no one keeping you from reaching your dreams. To many, liberty is just an idea that can only be dreamed of, a thought that’s quickly smashed by a government that’s too tyrannical to allow their people to follow a path provided by the human spirit. To others it’s a blessing they take for granted. The goal of the Constitution of the United states of America is to foster a growing culture of liberty.
Established in 1787, The U.S constitution builds on earlier, incomplete ideas such as the Magna Carta, the Articles of Confederation, and Democratic governments ruled entirely by the people. The constitution lays the foundation for a culture of liberty by limiting the government’s power and promoting individual freedom and responsibility through natural law. The moral high road and it’s intuitive laws, that shape the founding document, clearly spell out the path to liberty for all. Through representative democracy, restrained government and individual freedom, our constitution creates a new breed of society…. a true republic.
Monarchies ruled by kings and dictators can exist and live prosperously, but eventually, are fated to fail. Leaders with absolute power always abuse their power and neglect the glue that holds their society together, the glue that is their people. The people of a society make up the whole, If the ruler is morally compromised, the whole suffers, and if the people are too afraid and fearful to right an idiot king, the whole suffers. If the people are encouraged to improve their own life and be responsible for themselves, it can motivate others by involving them in success, and impressing on them that hard work is essential to be successful in life; then the society grows and prospers.
The Constitution directs us toward liberty by setting up a bicameral government, consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives. In the House of Representatives, Each state is entitled to have a voice in the House of Representatives based on the proportion of that state’s population. Each representative can serve for a two-year term. The House has the exclusive power to impeach officials and initiate tax revenue bills which are then voted on by the representatives. The Senate is made up of two officials from each state, both of which are elected by the state’s constituents. Until 1913, the senators were appointed by state legislature. This change to the Constitution allows public opinion, with all its flaws, to completely control Congress; which was one of the problems that the constitution was designed to prevent. Much like the House of Representatives, the Senate has the power to pass bills. The Senate also has the exclusive power to ratify treaties with foreign countries.
The U.S. Constitution is responsible for creating the most successful and powerful country in the world….America. No country in the world today can offer as much individual freedom and opportunity as America. For over 200 years, our constitution has safeguarded our freedom, liberty, and our rights. But there are those, currently holding elected office, that wish to infringe on our rights and freedom. Some Senators and members of the House of Representatives wish to expand their own power by warping The Constitution, by design, is amendable with a 2/3 majority in both houses, to easily change older amendments and gradually reduce the power of their people, the constituents. There is but one way to maintain our freedom….To fight for it, whether it be blogging about it or demonstrating or even just trying to persuade others of how fragile our freedom really is The Constitution is slowly being taken away from us. The pages of the Constitution may be faded and discolored, the ideas behind it have been aplicable since the birth of humanity. Preservation of our great Constitution is the only way to ensure that our generation and all future generations to come are blessed with the same culture of liberty and justice that we have blessed with.
How does the U.S Constitution establish and maintain a Culture of Liberty?
The United States Constitution, the supreme law of the land is the most important document in American history, along with the Declaration of Independence. The U.S Constitution was signed into law September 17, 1787 and the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. Multiple founding fathers signed both. These founding fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, making tremendous sacrifices for our nation. Many of the signers were imprisoned, and some killed. Their families were mistreated and sometimes were killed too. Most lost their homes and often livelihoods as well. Still, none of these signers defected from their cause and as a result our new nation remained intact.
Ben Franklin was an important man in the founding of the United States of America. He once spoke about the founding of America and said, “It’s a Republic…if you can keep it.” All through time, since its very creation, America has been through a lot. Wars, natural disasters, conflicts, recessions, depressions, terrorist attacks, good leaders…and some not so good leaders. Throughout it all the U.S Constitution has been the piece of the puzzle that has held it all together during these challenging times. It is all in one, the equivalent of the Holy Grail and supreme law of the land.
In order to form a more perfect union our founding fathers, including James Madison who is considered the Father of the Constitution, studied and debated nearly twenty thousand documents. The document used and cited most often during this arduous process was The Holy Bible. Writing the Constitution was a very difficult task that took over eleven years, but resulted in our founding fathers finding the perfect balance between liberty and tyranny. The actual physical writing of the document took only one hundred and sixteen days to perform during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, PA from May 25, 1787 to September 17, 1787.
This Constitution resulted in over three hundred freedoms and liberties being established for the people and more importantly, include a wide variety of methods to help maintain these freedoms. These methods become the Formula of Freedom. These include: Enumeration which is limited and delegated powers. Federalism, which is the vertical distribution of the powers. Separation, which is the horizontal separation of the powers. And most importantly, Checks and Balances which prevents usurpation and represents all interests.
The framers intelligently and intentionally designed the United States of America to be a complex representative Republic; not a Democracy, though this is a frequent misrepresentation. The first ten amendments, the Bill of (individual) Rights does not amend the original intent of the Constitution, but clarifies the restraints put on the Federal Government. Thus helping safeguard and maintain the rights of the individual.
The most important part of the Constitution is the mindset in which it was written. The founding fathers very clearly understood that the power was to be in the hands of the people NOT the government. In other words, the Constitution was specifically designed to control the government, not the people. The bringing of all of these things together is how the Constitution establishes a culture of liberty.
Maintaining a culture of liberty is done through the Constitution; however, it does not start only with the Constitution. It goes even further back to the Declaration of Independence. In the Declaration it is stated that all people should have the rights to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” The first way the Constitution maintains a culture of liberty is through the ideal of the Declaration of Independence, life. To put it simply, the Constitution protects one’s life and for that fact alone makes it just as relevant today if not more relevant than it was when the document was written. Most documents are just that, only documents. These documents are nothing compared to the Constitution. The Constitution thrives and supersedes all other law. It is different from other documents, being the bridge to liberty and the only wall between us and anarchy or tyranny.
Maintaining a culture of liberty is one of the most painstaking and arduous tasks on the planet. This task of maintaining a culture of liberty belongs to all of us as citizens of the United States of America. This responsibility of protecting and maintaining liberty is protected by our First Amendment right, Freedom of Speech. George Washington put it well when he said, “The Constitution of the United States….it’s only keepers, the people.” Another way we maintain a culture of liberty is through the rule of law and the use of equal justice under the law. This is not to be confused with social justice. The founding fathers based the Constitution upon the principle that all people are created equal in the eyes of God. Today we can all enjoy a culture of liberty equally because of this principle.
To even begin to understand the last way the U.S Constitution maintains a culture of liberty, one must first understand what a paradigm is. A paradigm is a set of forms all of which contain a particular element based on a single stem or theme. The Constitution is a paradigm based on Christian values and the liberties of the people. This is an example of the last ideal of the Declaration of Independence, the “Pursuit of Happiness.” The Constitution gives us all equally, the liberty to choose the way we live our lives. Whether it is our religious choice, career choice, our choice to have family or not, or any other way we decide to live, we are left the God-given right to control our own lives. This is the Constitution’s gift to us as humans, and as individuals. This is not something that is determined through government, but through each of us as individuals who are endowed by our Creator.
Our founding fathers were great men with tremendous integrity. We know they kept their word because we inherited the United States of America. By keeping their commitment to the pledge of their sacred honor, we gained a nation. To sum it all up, to sustain this nation they wrote the law of the land and documented it in great detail so that it could last forever in the embodiment of the Constitution of the United States of America. It is the frame that contains the United States of America. For, We The People, the United States Constitution not only establishes and maintains liberty, it IS our liberty.
The Patriot’s Handbook of American Liberty. [Orlando, FL]: New Revolution Pub., 2010. Print.
Skousen, W. Cleon, and Glenn Beck. The Five Thousand Year Leap: 28 Great Ideas That Changed
the World. Franklin, TN: American Documents Pub., 2009. Print.
God’s Hand in the Building of America. Healing of America Series. 1.1 (2009):n. pag. Print
The Founder’s Charter of Freedom. Healing of America Series. 2.2 (2009): n. pag. Print
Attacks on the Charter of Freedom. Healing of America Series. 3.3 (2009): n. pag. Print
Restoring The Charter of Freedom. Healing Of America Series 4.4 (2009): n. pag. Print.
Stansbury, Arthur J. Ed. Dr. W. Cleon Skousen. A Catechism on the United States Constitution
(1987): 1-48. Print.
The Constitution of the United States of America
The Federalist Papers
We live in a time when words are thrown around by people who do not understand their meaning, and do not care to understand. Unfortunately, the word “Constitution” is one of these words. It is important that we know and understand the document that has made this country a success. Perhaps the most important question is this: How does the United States Constitution establish and maintain a culture of liberty?
One thing to consider when answering this question is who wrote the Constitution, and was this document written. James Madison is called the “Father of the Constitution” as he was instrumental in crafting it. In addition, Madison was one of the three authors of the Federalist Papers, a citizen and politician of Virginia, and the fourth president of the United States. Perhaps less known, though still important, is that Madison and Jefferson worked together to create a draft of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which passed in the year seventeen-eighty-six.
Others instrumental in creating the Constitution were John Adams, John Dickinson, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Edmund Randolph, Roger Sherman, James Wilson, Gouverneur Morris, and George Wythe. Perhaps the most interesting component to this group of men is that they were not chosen for their individual roles because of possessing money, fame, or prestige. Some were lawyers while others served the nation during the Revolutionary War. One thing they all had in common, however, is that they were dedicated to the cause of liberty. For example, James Madison had seen Baptists persecuted, and even arrested, for preaching without a license, which strongly influenced his belief in religious freedom. As another example, John Adams represented the British soldiers that fired on the mob in Boston in the event that would later be known as the Boston Massacre.
Perhaps one of the reasons that the Constitution has successfully established a culture of liberty is because its authors knew what it was like to live under a tyrannical government. Besides that fact, they were all learned men, and consequently had read literary works written by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Both the Romans and the Greeks had tried many different forms of government, including democracies and republics. The Founders knew that not a single form of government had managed to survive from the beginning of the world to their present day. Some lasted longer than others, and the governments that tended to last the longest were the ones in which the average citizen had a say in how they were governed. People were often happier when given certain liberties and freedoms, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to keep what one makes, freedom to not be subject to unfair taxes, freedom to own private property, and the freedom to grow and prosper, among many others. A population enslaved to taxation and tyranny was far less likely to prosper.
How is it that the Constitution has survived as a law for the United States for well over two hundred years? The Constitution was wisely designed to not give total power to one individual, or even to one group of individuals. We have three separate branches of government to ensure that tyranny is not forced upon us. If the majority of the population wants tyranny, however, that is what they shall receive. The separation of powers is another reason that the Constitution successfully established a culture of liberty; if laws have to be voted in by many different people, the laws will hopefully be just ones, though we know from experience that they are not always.
What has enabled the Constitution to maintain a culture of liberty? I believe that a virtuous and unselfish population was necessary for the Constitution to have a good beginning, and thankfully this was present at the given time. Unfortunately, U.S. citizens have grown less virtuous as the years go by, sometimes even being punished for courageously standing up to an over-reaching government, as was experienced during the War Between the States, also known as the Civil War. Those that founded this country had similar thoughts about a virtuous citizenry being needed for this Constitutional republic to survive. Benjamin Franklin said:
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
John Adams must have had similar thoughts when he said:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Samuel Adams added:
“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.”
I think it is safe to say that one of the main reasons this country has prospered under the Constitution is because her people have been virtuous up until these recent times. Sadly, the more selfish we the people become, and the less we care about the good of the nation as a whole, the more controlling the government becomes. If we continue in the direction we are going, the United States Constitution will no longer be able to maintain a culture of liberty. Rather, we will sink into that horrible abyss known as tyranny. The government will rule over us as our tyrant, and we will work under it as slaves.
There is a more cheerful side to this however; our current situation can be corrected. If we can simply correct our own lives, this will eventually affect the government. The sins of the government only reflect the sins of the people.
In his first inaugural address, George Washington spoke of virtue saying:
“There is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists, in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity.”
In closing; the Constitution established a culture of liberty through the innovative ideas of a group of learned men, through the sacrifice of many Americans during and after the War for Independence, and through the will of divine Providence. This culture of liberty has more or less remained because of a virtuous citizenry up to this point. When Benjamin Franklin was asked by a woman what form of government the Constitutional Convention was creating, his response was:
“A republic, madam – if you can keep it.”
It is our job to ensure that this republic of the United States stays intact by following the Constitution as a law rather than as a list of guidelines. Essentially, the choice rests with us as to whether we slip into tyranny or emerge as a free people.