Teaching the ConstitutionMay 3, 2020
As a child I was never taught much about the Constitution of this Great country. How can we preserve or protect something when we do not know what it is? So I have been studying this great Document, and will share some inspiring and amazing finds with you so you can make sure your children’s education is not lacking in this area.
I. A Bit Of History First
Our Founding Fathers had suffered the abuses of oppression. They were very learner-ed men, and did a study of history and governments as they formed our early U.S. Constitution. They could have set up an Oligarchy with themselves in control. “In fact there were those who wanted George Washington to be their King.”
After studying the pure democracy of the early Greeks, they realized that form of government lead to mob rule (the majority forcing their will on the minority). I know!!… lately you repeatedly hear our political leaders refer to us a democracy, yet we Pledge Allegiance “to the Republic for which it stands”. Our politicians apparently do not know that Ben Franklin is quoted as having said: “a Republic if you can keep it”.
The Founding Fathers also studied the Roman form of government. The Romans built a republic that limited government power and left the people alone. Since government was limited, the people were free to produce with the understanding they could keep the fruits of their labor. In time Rome became wealthy and the envy of the world, much like America.
Taking for granted their prosperity, the Roman people forgot what freedom entailed. They forgot that the essence of freedom is proper limitation of government. When government power grows, people’s freedom recedes. So once the Romans dropped their guard, power-seeking politicians began to exceed the powers granted them in the Roman Constitution. Some learned they could elect leaders who would use government power to take property from some and give it to others. Agriculture subsidies were introduced, followed by housing and welfare programs. Inevitably taxes rose and controls over the private sector were imposed. Eventually a number of the Countries producers could no longer make ends meet, and they also went on the dole.
Franklin is quoted as having said, “We can keep our Republic, or we will inevitably end up with an Oligarchy-the tyranny of the elite.”
II. The X amendment is very important because it insures the Democratic principles of liberty. It states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” In other words, if the Constitution does not, in writing, give a power to the Federal Government, it is not their power to take, and to do so is Constitutionally illegal. (see more on this below)
III. The constitution is a Unifying Document (another surprise)
The Founding Fathers warned against the two party system we now have. They said it would divide us, and there would be those who would take advantage of that polarity.
Note: In the Constitution there is no mention of the two party system. It is a very unifying document. 9/11 taught us that we are Americans, and so does the Constitution.
***IV. A very important note:
In teaching the Constitution one needs to keep in mind that the meaning of words have changed from the time of our Founding fathers to the Present. Below is a link to Webster’s dictionary in 1913 and 1828. One can compare that with a modern version.
For example: The word “welfare” is used in the Preamble of the Constitution, and the 1828 edition of the word is: “2. Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity, the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government; applied to states.” In today’s Webster’s edition “welfare is defined as “receiving government aid because of poverty, etc.
Thomas Jefferson stated, ” Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”
It is interesting to type in words like democracy, republic and democratic republic to see how much that has changed. It is very surprising.
V. Copy of the Constitution online. http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html