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Epilogue: We the People
In fewer than five hundred words, a document created a pragmatic but principled federal government. By establishing executive, legislative, and judicial branches of ...

Epilogue: We the People

In fewer than five hundred words, a document created a pragmatic but principled federal government. By establishing executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government through the muscle of representation, the U.S. Constitution restored the health and dignity of a revolutionized people.

With the skill of political surgeons, the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention designed a plan, known as the Connecticut Compromise, to safeguard small states but also put power in population. Two representatives from each state composed the U.S. Senate. The number of members in the U.S. House of Representatives was to be based on a state’s population. The U.S. Constitution is one of the greatest governmental remedies in history. Historian David Barton summarized the achievement this way: “The doctrines of scholars would meet with the practical necessities of an emerging nation, resulting in a balanced blend of pragmatism and principle the Constitution of the United States of America.”

The U.S. Constitution is the most tangible proof that the American Revolution was not merely a war. It was a change in the hearts and minds of the people. Gone was the sentiment of “Long live the king.” Replacing it was a preamble of the public will: “We the People of the United States.”

America had traded royalty for representation. Patriots had shed blood for the rights given them by their Creator. The recipe for victory required them to taste torture, terror, illness, death, financial ruin, fear, uncertainty, failure, and a thousand other bitter ingredients. What emerged was a government as practical as it was principled. Unity, not the singularity of monarchy, governed the people’s will.

The preamble continues, “in Order to form a more perfect Union.” Action followed this government of the people. The Stamp Act’s disbandment of the courts and Thomas Paine’s common sense quietly echo from the words “establish Justice.” Lexington, Concord, Cowpens, Charleston, Newport, and Yorktown whisper “insure domestic Tranquility.”

Footprints of giants such as Henry Knox, Nathanael Greene, the Marquis de Lafayette, and John Paul Jones along with pathfinders Jonathan Trumbull, Alexander Scammell, and other lesser-known soldiers carved the path to “provide for the common defence.”

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison legislated and negotiated the way to “promote the general Welfare.”

The leadership, modesty, manners, and nimbleness of George Washington, who understood the fate of “unborn millions” was at stake, served to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

All these worked together to turn patriots into a people who did “ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

“This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution,” reflected John Adams.

And indeed, a change of heart, mind, and spirit was the Revolution.

Prayer

Thank you for providing the U.S. Constitution. May righteousness thrive in the government and the people.

“He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor”

(Proverbs 21:21).


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