Day 32: Read the Preamble to the Constitution!

Happy President’s Day! 

DAY 32 ACTION: Celebrate the holiday by returning to the 1787 vision for our federal government – the Preamble to the Constitution.

Mount Rushmore was commissioned by President Coolidge. It took 400 workers under the direction of sculptor Gutzon Borglum 14 years (1927-41) to complete. Credit: National Park Service.

Back to the Basics: What did the Founders see as the role of government?

The U.S. Constitution begins with a short paragraph that describes the Founders’ vision for our government. Since it’s so short, we’ve included the whole thing here:

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, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Preamble does not have any independent legal meaning, but it does help to interpret other parts of the Constitution. It has been quoted by many, from the Supreme Court to School House Rock. And despite how short it is, there is plenty to debate in the preamble, as speeches by Susan B. Anthony and Thurgood Marshall make clear.

What does the Preamble mean to you? Who are “we the people”? What does it mean to you to “establish justice”? How can the Constitution help us to “secure the blessings of liberty”?

Today’s Action: Read the Preamble to the Constitution, and talk about it with others. Do its themes resonate with you, or relate to hot issues of the day?


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