Governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Declaration of Independence

We, the people, have as our guide God-honoring principles for directing the use of government power.  When, during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln dedicated the field where thousands gave their lives at Gettysburg, he concluded, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom–and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth” (The Gettysburg Address, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863).

Americans established government when covenanting together to share a small portion of their God-given rights to use force and keep thieves out of the corncrib.  And it is the tax revenues provided by the people that give government its power. 

This tool is to be used in ways to achieve the goals spelled out philosophically in the Preamble:  We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare [meaning common needs that do not conflict with or hamper the development of the work ethic and personal self-reliance] and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Some delegates to the Constitutional Convention believed these principles of the Declaration of Independence for guiding government action would prevail without amending the Constitution because many states had already adopted a Bill of Rights.  Obviously the delegates did not anticipate the pervasiveness of the federal judiciary as it has since developed.  Ultimately the Founding Fathers at the state level made a most significant contribution by insisting that the nation’s Constitution be amended by a Bill of Rights.

~ David Norris

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