At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention September 17, 1787, Mrs. Elizabeth Powel, a friend of George and Martha Washington, asked Benjamin Franklin, the oldest delegate to the convention “Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy.” Dr. Franklin replied, “A republic if you can keep it.” How well have we done in keeping that republic. A glance at the current occupant of the White House as well as the majority of members of Congress leads me to conclude that we have done a poor job of it.
Is the U.S. Constitution an outdated relic?
Critics and detractors of the United States Constitution believe that it is an outdate relic of our agrarian past which may have served us well 200 years ago but needs to be replaced. Back in the mid-1990s, I was a guest on the Al Diamon Show- a talk show in Portland, Maine. Mr. Diamon, and the vast majority of his audience did not share my worldview to say the least. I had a very interesting conversation with one of his college age callers. This young man told me, in no uncertain terms, that the U.S. Constitution was outdated, and should be replaced. I asked him if it was written in 1848, would it also be an outdated relic. He replied in the affirmative and I told him that the Communist Manifesto was written in 1848 but oddly we never hear people on the Left demand that it be repudiated. I then asked him if he believed that the 1st Amendment-the one that protects the right of free speech, the press, and the right to peaceable to assemble among other things be abolished. He said that he wasn’t in favor of its repeal. I followed up with asking him about the 4th Amendment that protects us against unlawful search and seizure, the 5th that protects an accused from self-incrimination the 6th that guarantees us a speedy trial judged by impartial jury and the 8th that protects us from being drawn and quartered. He didn’t think that these amendments be repealed either. This caller, like too many American like him are victims of a clique-potentially a dangerous one, that if enough Americans believe, could lead to the end of the liberties we take for granted.
I contend that the U.S Constitution which granted few, defined and specific powers to the United States Government is just as relevant today than when it was first ratified. As King Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” While we went from horse and buggy to the space age and the quill pen and the broadside to Twitter and Facebook, human nature stays the same. Our Founders were learned men who knew history and understood man’s sin nature. This is why they gave us a constitutional that granted limited powers to the U.S. Government.
The U.S. Constitution has a preamble, seven articles and 27 amendments.
Article 1 established the legislative branch, qualifications for office of members of Congress, and grants certain powers including the power to borrow money and declare war.
Article 2 concerns the executive branch which grants very few powers and duties to the president. Being “the most powerful man in the free world” is not one of the duties granted to the president. Nowhere in Article 2 do we read that the president is the most powerful man in the free world.
Article 3 concerns the judicial branch which established “one supreme Court” and gave Congress the power to regulate it. The Supreme Court may be the highest court in the United States, but it is not the highest law of the land.
Article 4 concerns the states. Article 4, Section 4, guarantees every state a “Republican Form of Government and shall protect them against Invasion. Today, it is the official policy of the U.S. Government to aid and abet invasion.
Article 5 concerns the amending process which a made difficult for good reason.
Article 6 makes “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof…. shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”
Article 7 calls for the ratification of nine state before the Constitution will be established. New Hampshire was the 9th state to ratify the Constitution on June 2, 1788, making it the law of the land.
The Constitution has 27 amendments but one-the 21st canceled out another-the 18th. The first ten, known as the Bill of Rights were ratified on December 1791. The 27th Amendment, which concerns Congressional pay raises, would have been part of the original Bill of Rights but wasn’t ratified until 1992.
Keeping this republic begins with us. As is my habit, I am offering free pocket copies. If interested in one, Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What to learn more about this incredible document? Why not attend our weekend retreat which runs from Friday September 29 to Sunday October 1 at Camp Sentinel in Tuftonboro