What is the Preamble?
- The Preamble is the opening statement to the United States Constitution.
- The preamble explains the reasons why the Framers of the Constitution made our government a republic.
- By doing this, the founding fathers replaced the Articles of Confederation.
- The Preamble along with the rest of the Constitution was written over a period of about 6 weeks.
- The Preamble helped explain why the Constitution was written.
Text of the Preamble
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.”
Understanding the Preamble (source)
“We the People…”
Meaning: A show stopping, opening phrase emphasizing the unity and resolve of all the citizens of the newly formed nation. The famous phrase We the People” makes the Constitution the creation of the American people, not the States.
“…of the United States…”
Meaning: The words ‘the United States’ again emphasizes unity by virtue of the actual name for the newly formed nation. The nation no longer consisted of colonies, it consisted of individual, but united, states.
“…in Order to form a more perfect Union ”
Meaning: The words reflect the determination to address the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and form a strong union of many individual states.
Meaning: The lack of justice extended to the colonies by Great Britain was one of the main reasons for the War of Independence. To establish justice was to determine rights and administrate laws that were just or fair to all citizens
“insure domestic Tranquility…”
“provide for the common defence…”
Meaning: The ability to defend the rights and lives of the citizens of the United States.
“promote the general Welfare…”
Meaning: Aiding or promoting well-being; “for the common good”. The ability to undertake governmental provision of economic assistance to persons in need.
“and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”
Meaning: Patriots were fighting for liberty and freedom from the British rule in the American War of Independence. Liberty was seen as a means of happiness which promoted prosperity and welfare for the present and for all time.
“do ordain and establish…”
Meaning: The word ‘ordain’ means to regulate, or establish, by decree, or law. To constitute laws by lawful authority.
“this CONSTITUTION for the United States of America….”
Meaning: The Constitution provided the framework for a government to make, execute and interpret the laws of the new nation. Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity: The point of this phrase in the Preamble, and the Constitution as a whole was to help protect the country’s hard-earned rights for liberty, unjust laws, and freedom from a tyrannical government.
Ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America: This last phrase of the Preamble is a powerful statement saying that the people made this document, and the people give the country its power.