Constitution Day -September 17th

By Mark Lindberg, Mtn. View, CA – Nov. 2017

After half a dozen years of the ill-fated “Articles of Confederation” following the Revolutionary War, it became obvious that our new country required a stronger central government in lieu of the weakness and divisiveness of 13 individual states.

Without a constitution, the citizens of a country would be subject the tyranny of the current government leaders.  A Constitution has the inertia to delay and deflect the whims of a current majority. Amendments are difficult and require a “super majority”.  Following the final writing of the US Constitution in 1789, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Dr. Franklin what kind of government have you given us..?”   Benjamin Franklin replied, “A Republic, madam, if you can keep it…!”

For over 230 years, in spite of a Civil War, economic upheavals, and destructive World Wars, the United States has managed to preserve our Constitution with just over a dozen Amendments following the original ten amendments of the Bill of Rights.

As students of history, the Founding Fathers constructed a Republic that made the Central government preeminent, but then reserved all rights not specifically granted to that central government for the states and the people.

The United States central government was divided into three (theoretically) equal branches.  The Legislative Branch passes laws with a House of Representatives proportioned by population, and the Senate representing the individual states. The Executive Branch headed by the President, (elected by an Electoral College that is also a combination of the Legislative formulations) that enforces the Laws, and the Judicial Branch that is the ultimate authority of disputes and quickly began to interpret those Laws.

Several decades later while touring the new United States, French philosopher and historian Alex de Tocqueville(1805-1859) marveled at the efficient separation of the United States Federal system in the publication ”Democracy in America”.