Preamble

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 defense, 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.

The Preamble was created at the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787. It was probably written by Governeur Morris, who drafted much of the rest of the Constitution. The Preamble was not intended to create any additional powers for government, but was rather intended to introduce the Constitution and explain its purpose.

Two observations are generally noted about the Preamble:

  • First, the form of government outlined by the Constitution is not mentioned.
  • Second, no law suit can be founded on the Preamble. In the 1905 case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts, Justice Harlan wrote that while "the preamble indicates the general purposes for which the people ordained and established the Constitution, it has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the government of the United States, or on any of its departments. Such powers embrace only those expressly granted in the body of the Constitution, and such as may be implied from those so granted."

What do the words of the Preamble mean? What did they mean to the founding fathers? Who is included in "We the People"? These are some of the questions raised by the discussion starters dealing with the Preamble.

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