Forming a Union
Remember: March 21st is Illinois Primary Election Day. There has not been in a time when the need to vote has been so strong. Mark your calendars and get out and vote.
"We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect Union....." This is the opening line of the Preamble to the Constutition of The United States. On September 17,1787, a convention of the States meeting in New York City ratified the Preamble and the First Seven Articles. The government was declared in effect the first Wednesday in March, 1789. The Constitution was ratified by the thirteen original States by 1791. There were, however, opinions that the Constitution was not sufficienty explict as to individual and states rights. The First Congress meeting in New York City, Sept 25, 1789 adopted and submitted to the States twelve amendments, ten of these were ratified by December 15, 1791. Article l is The Bill Rights so firmly held by the people.
Since that time the constitution has been amended fifteen times, articles 11 through twenty six,beginning in 1798 and the most recent, in 1971. The body politic has worked on perfecting that more perfect union. (Websters' Unabridged Dictionary, 1972)
Clearly, the Constitution of these United States of America is a working document. The Union is a work in progress. The constitution is a document that provides support for people and actions that are positive in nature. The amendment that prohibited the use of alcohol was repealed, for example. The cause for the action is not known to me, but the change was made. What this says to me that as the nation grew actions became needed to support the national life. Women's Suffrage, the prohibition of slavery, the lowering the age of voters are examples.
The constitution reflects the life of the nation, it was not set in concrete nor did it limit people's actions. In short it reflects the meaning of the growth towards a free nation, growth and change and a reflection of unity, not uniformity.
The rest of the Preamble reads "...establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity..." The nation has grown in population and power. The understanding of those ideas has changed as we have changed and the world about us has changed. We are growing toward a democracy. If that growth is to continue, we must continue move from a republic that legislates morality to a democracy that practices freedom. Liberty and justice is for everyone.