The Preamble is the first of three parts of the Constitution, the lodestar of the KTB Prep American Government and Civics series designed to acquaint users with the origins, concepts, organizations, and policies of the United States government and political system. The goal is greater familiarization with the rights and obligations of citizenship at the local, state, national, and global levels and the history of our nation as a democracy.
What is the Constitution?
The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of the United States. Empowered with the sovereign authority of the people by the framers and the consent of the legislatures of the states, it is the source of all government powers, and also provides important limitations on the government that protect the fundamental rights of United States citizens.
It’s organized into three parts. The first part, the Preamble, describes the purpose of the document and the Federal Government. The second part, the seven Articles, establishes how the Government is structured and how the Constitution can be changed. The third part, the 27 Amendments, lists changes to the Constitution; the first 10 are called the Bill of Rights.
The Preamble to the Constitution is an introductory, succinct statement of the principles at work in the document. While it is referred to in countless speeches and judicial opinions, courts will not interpret the Preamble to confer any rights or powers not granted specifically in the Constitution.
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.Cornell Law School
Understanding the Preamble
“We the people” means all the citizens of the United States of America. Even though the Constitution was written up by some of the most well-educated men of the new country, the rights given under the document were given to all American citizens.
“In order to form a more perfect union” refers to the previous government was based on the Articles of Confederation, which were very limited. When the Framers wrote this, they felt that they were making new government that would be a better way to govern the country.
The reasons spurring the Revolution against England were still important to the American citizens, so they wanted to make sure that they would have justice under the Constitution.
Insure Domestic Tranquility
The Constitutional Convention was hastened by Shays’ Rebellion. This was an uprising of farmers in Massachusetts against the state for having to repay war debts. Citizens were worried with the keeping peace within the country’s borders.
Provide for the Common Defense
The newly formed United States was vulnerable to attack by other countries. No individual state had the power to defend itself against attacks. Because of this, the Framers knew that it was important for the states to defend the nation together.
Promote the General Welfare
The well-being of the citizens would be taken care of as well as possible by the Federal government.
Secure the Blessings of Liberty To Ourselves and Our Posterity
Ordain and Establish This Constitution For The United States of America
The people made this document, and the people give the country its power.