Skip to comments.The Declaration of Independence beautifies (and beatifies)the Constitution
Posted on 12/17/2011 9:58:01 AM PST by Oldpuppymax
On September 17, 2010 President Barack Obama spoke to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute 33rd Annual Award Gala. During his speech reading from a teleprompter he quoted from the Declaration of Independence.
Here is what he said: We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain unalienable rights, life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Perhaps his teleprompter or his brain just cant handle the phrase endowed by our Creator!
The Declaration of Independence defines the Constitution philosophically and spiritually, therefore in Beauty and its Author.
Progressives have argued for years, quite successfully, that the Constitution is a living, breathing document, standing alone from its origins in the Declaration of Independence.
It is subject to change as the mores of the times change. The Declaration, they say, was a motivational statement designed to gather support for the real document The Constitution.
The Declaration has several key elements that set the moral and philosophical basis for the Constitution. If one were to seek the sought after ideal for a form of government, it would be structured according to American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce, in the order of Beauty, Ethics and Logic.
A document like the Constitution is a Cartesian nightmare without a moral basis that acquires its authority and blessings outside the reach of faulty humanity.
The Declaration is primarily a Document of Beauty because it recognizes Natural Law; self evident truths; the endowment by our Creator of our universal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It also runs a litany of abuses to demonstrate the false logic of despotic or progressive rule.
(Excerpt) Read more at coachisright.com ...
Really? No way!
We have a long way to go, and the starting point is our Declaration.
The DOI and The Articles Of Confederation, our first Constitution, served well; and then the secret ConCon became the hijacking of the rights of the people, and never would have been approved if not the bill of rights added.
Hamilton and his followers continued their work, and by lincoln’s time things were ready for...change...and change continues to march...
The recent Hillsdale College series on the Constitution spent four lectures showing the relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution. Somebody stole Larry Ahrn’s thunder (or the other way around).
With reference to the author's words about current concepts of "living constitution," the following essay, reprinted with permission, is important to remind us of the Founders' intentions:
"Until the people have, by some solemn and authoritative act, annulled or changed the established form, it is binding upon them collectively, as well as individually; and no presumption or even knowledge of their sentiments, can warrant their representatives [the executive, judiciary, or legislature]; in a departure from it prior to such an act." - Alexander Hamilton
In the first of the eighty-five "Federalist Papers," Alexander Hamilton emphasized that:
The Framers knew that the passage of time would surely disclose imperfections or inadequacies in the Constitution, but these were to be repaired or remedied by formal amendment, not by legislative action or judicial construction (or reconstruction). Hamilton (in The Federalist No. 78) was emphatic about this:
The Congress, unlike the British Parliament, was not given final authority over the Constitution, which partly explains why the judicial authority was lodged in a separate and independent branch of government. In Britain the supreme judicial authority is exercised by a committee of the House of Lords, which is appropriate in a system of parliamentary supremacy, but, although it was suggested they do so, the Framers refused to follow the British example.
The American system is one of constitutional supremacy, which means that sovereignty resides in the people, not in the King-in-Parliament; and the idea that the Constitution may be changed by an act of the legislature--even an act subsequently authorized by the judiciary--is simply incompatible with the natural right of the people to determine how (and even whether) they shall be governed.
Unlike in Britain where, formally at least, the queen rules by the grace of God (Dei gratia regina), American government rests on the consent of the people; and, according to natural right, the consent must be given formally. In fact, it must be given in a written compact entered into by the people. Here is Madison on the compacts underlying American government:
Neither civil society (or as Madison puts it, "the people in their social state') nor government exists by nature. By nature everyone is sovereign with respect to himself, free to do whatever in his judgment is necessary to preserve his own life - or, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, everyone is endowed by nature with the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of a happiness that he defines for himself. Civil society is an artificial person (constituted by the first of the compacts), and it is civil society that institutes and empowers government. So it was that they became "the People of the United States" in 1776 and, in 1787-88, WE, THE PEOPLE ordained and established "this Constitution for the United States of America."
In this formal compact THE PEOPLE specified the terms and conditions under which "ourselves and posterity," would be governed: granting some powers and withholding others, and organizing the powers granted with a view to preventing their misuse by the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branches alike. WE THE PEOPLE were authorized by natural right to do this, and were authorized to act on behalf of posterity only insofar as the rights of posterity to change those terms and conditions were respected. This was accomplished in Article V of the Constitution, the amending article, which prescribed the forms to be followed when exercising that power in the future.
The Framers had designed a constitutional structure for a government which would be limited by that structure - by the distribution of power into distinct departments, a system of legislative balances and checks, an independent judiciary, a system of representation, and an enlargement of the orbit "within which such systems are to revolve" And to the judges they assigned the duty, as "faithful guardians of the Constitution," to preserve the integrity of the structure, for it is by the structure (more than by "parchment barriers") that the government is limited. It would he only a slight exaggeration to say that, in the judgment of the Founders, the Constitution would "live" as long as that structure was preserved.
The Enduring American Constitution
Now, almost 200 years later, one can read Hamilton's words in Federalist No. 1 and conclude that, under some conditions, some "societies of men" are capable of "establishing good government," but that most are not. This is not for lack of trying; on the contrary, constitutions are being written all the time - of some 164 countries in the world, all but a small handful (seven by the latest count) have written constitutions - but most of them are not long-lived.
In September 1983, the American Enterprise Institute sponsored an international conference on constitution writing at the Supreme Court of the United States; some twenty-odd countries were represented. With the exception of the Americans, the persons present had themselves played a role - in some cases a major role - in the writing of their countries' constitutions, most of them written since 1970. Only the constitution of the French Fifth Republic predated 1970; and the Nigerian, so ably discussed and defended at the 1983 conference by one of its own Framers, had subsequently been subverted, much as the four previous French republican constitutions had been subverted. It would seem that many peoples are experienced in the writing of constitutions, but only a few of them - conspicuous among these the people of America - have an experience of stable constitutional government. In that sense, we surely have "a living Constitution." That is not, however, the sense in which the term is ordinarily used in the literature of constitutional law as shall be explored herein.
Treating The Constitution As
The President himself is no more than a representative of public opinion at the time of his election; and as public opinion is subject to great and frequent fluctuations, he must accommodate his policy to them; or the people will speedily give him a successor; or either House of Congress will effectually control his power. It is thus, and in no other sense that the Constitution of the United States is democratic - for the government of our country, instead of a Democracy the most simple, is the most complicated government on the face of the globe. From the immense extent of our territory, the difference of manners, habits, opinions, and above all, the clashing interests of the North, South, East, and West, public opinion formed by the combination of numerous aggregates, becomes itself a problem of compound arithmetic, which nothing but the result of the popular elections can solve.
It has been my purpose, Fellow-Citizens, in this discourse to show:-
1. That this Union was formed by a spontaneous movement of the people of thirteen English Colonies; all subjects of the King of Great Britain - bound to him in allegiance, and to the British empire as their country. That the first object of this Union,was united resistance against oppression, and to obtain from the government of their country redress of their wrongs.
2. That failing in this object, their petitions having been spurned, and the oppressions of which they complained, aggravated beyond endurance, their Delegates in Congress, in their name and by their authority, issued the Declaration of Independence - proclaiming them to the world as one people, absolving them from their ties and oaths of allegiance to their king and country - renouncing that country; declared the UNITED Colonies, Independent States, and announcing that this ONE PEOPLE of thirteen united independent states, by that act, assumed among the powers of the earth, that separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitled them.
3. That in justification of themselves for this act of transcendent power, they proclaimed the principles upon which they held all lawful government upon earth to be founded - which principles were, the natural, unalienable, imprescriptible rights of man, specifying among them, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - that the institution of government is to secure to men in society the possession of those rights: that the institution, dissolution, and reinstitution of government, belong exclusively to THE PEOPLE under a moral responsibility to the Supreme Ruler of the universe; and that all the just powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed.
4. That under this proclamation of principles, the dissolution of allegiance to the British king, and the compatriot connection with the people of the British empire, were accomplished; and the one people of the United States of America, became one separate sovereign independent power, assuming an equal station among the nations of the earth.
5. That this one people did not immediately institute a government for themselves. But instead of it, their delegates in Congress, by authority from their separate state legislatures, without voice or consultation of the people, instituted a mere confederacy.
6. That this confederacy totally departed from the principles of the Declaration of independence, and substituted instead of the constituent power of the people, an assumed sovereignty of each separate state, as the source of all its authority.
7. That as a primitive source of power, this separate state sovereignty,was not only a departure from the principles of the Declaration of Independence, but directly contrary to, and utterly incompatible with them.
8. That the tree was made known by its fruits. That after five years wasted in its preparation, the confederation dragged out a miserable existence of eight years more, and expired like a candle in the socket, having brought the union itself to the verge of dissolution.
9. That the Constitution of the United States was a return to the principles of the Declaration of independence, and the exclusive constituent power of the people. That it was the work of the ONE PEOPLE of the United States; and that those United States, though doubled in numbers, still constitute as a nation, but ONE PEOPLE.
10. That this Constitution, making due allowance for the imperfections and errors incident to all human affairs, has under all the vicissitudes and changes of war and peace, been administered upon those same principles, during a career of fifty years.
11. That its fruits have been, still making allowance for human imperfection, a more perfect union, established justice, domestic tranquility, provision for the common defence, promotion of the general welfare, and the enjoyment of the blessings of liberty by the constituent people, and their posterity to the present day.
And now the future is all before us, and Providence our guide.
When the children of Israel, after forty years of wanderings in the wilderness, were about to enter upon the promised land, their leader, Moses, who was not permitted to cross the Jordan with them, just before his removal from among them, commanded that when the Lord their God should have brought them into the land, they should put the curse upon Mount Ebal, and the blessing upon Mount Gerizim. This injunction was faithfully fulfilled by his successor Joshua. Immediately after they had taken possession of the land, Joshua built an altar to the Lord, of whole stones, upon Mount Ebal. And there he wrote upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written in the presence of the children of Israel: and all Israel, and their elders and officers, and their judges, stood on the two sides of the ark of the covenant, home by the priests and Levites, six tribes over against Mount Gerizim, and six over against Mount Ebal. And he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that was written in the book of the law.
Fellow-citizens, the ark of your covenant is the Declaration of independence. Your Mount Ebal, is the confederacy of separate state sovereignties, and your Mount Gerizim is the Constitution of the United States. In that scene of tremendous and awful solemnity, narrated in the Holy Scriptures, there is not a curse pronounced against the people, upon Mount Ebal, not a blessing promised them upon Mount Gerizim, which your posterity may not suffer or enjoy, from your and their adherence to, or departure from, the principles of the Declaration of Independence, practically interwoven in the Constitution of the United States. Lay up these principles, then, in your hearts, and in your souls - bind them for signs upon your hands, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes - teach them to your children, speaking of them when sitting in your houses, when walking by the way, when lying down and when rising up - write them upon the doorplates of your houses, and upon your gates - cling to them as to the issues of life - adhere to them as to the cords of your eternal salvation. So may your children's children at the next return of this day of jubilee, after a full century of experience under your national Constitution, celebrate it again in the full enjoyment of all the blessings recognized by you in the commemoration of this day, and of all the blessings promised to the children of Israel upon Mount Gerizim, as the reward of obedience to the law of God.
We should note that in Nos. 6, 7, and 8, above, he explains how the Articles of Confederation, in fact, did not conform to the intentions of the framers of the Declaration of Independence that all power would remain in "the People."
“We should note that in Nos. 6, 7, and 8, above, he explains how the Articles of Confederation, in fact, did not conform to the intentions of the framers of the Declaration of Independence that all power would remain in “the People.” “
Brings to mind the old saying about the road to hell being paved w/good intention...
In the Preamble, it says "...and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..."
I suggest that the "Blessings of Liberty" refers to rights granted from God (Blessings and Liberty being capitalized, and Liberty being one of three capitalized rights from the Declaration from our Creator), and "secure... our posterity" means for our children and their children.
I point this out because it was the practice to capitalize all references to God, such as "Him" and "Creator." Following this practice, the gifts of the Creator, namely Rights to Life, Liberty, and Happiness, are capitalized, too. Furthermore, in the preamble to the Constitution, the word Blessings is also capitalized, which I take to mean from the Creator, and Liberty is also capitalized, which is one of the three rights from the Creator mentioned in the Declaration. All this, taken together, tells me that the Founders intended the Constitution to protect the Blessings of the unalienable rights that come from the Creator, and not just to us but to our children and their children.
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