Excerpted from Akhil Reed Amar, America's Constitution: A Biography (2005)
With simple words placed in the document's most prominent location, the Preamble laid the foundation for all that followed. "We the People of the United States,... do ordain and establish this Constitution..."
These words did more than promise popular self-government. They also embodied and enacted it. Like the phrases "I do" in an exchange of wedding vows and "I accept" in a contract, the Preamble's words actually performed the very thing they described. Thus the Founders' "Constitution" was not merely a text but a deed—a constituting.