Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Will publicly reading the United
Constitution as the 112th Congress opens for work on
Will hearing the preamble, which people of my vintage memorized as a part of their study of U. S. History in high school, make a difference to the legislators and inspire those gathered on capitol hill to transact the nation’s business in 2011?
Read the inimitable words. Do they not still thrill you, bring visions of the men gathered from the states following the winning of the Revolutionary War to replace the Articles of Confederation with a more binding document that would work in 1787 and in succeeding generations?
“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.”
Following this preamble are Seven Articles which cover almost every subject our founding fathers saw as appropriate for a strong national government to enact. Section 1 clearly stipulates the parameters of the major body charged with the heavy duty of enacting and upholding the laws of our beloved land:
“All legislative Powers herein granted
shall be vested in a Congress of the
Every Congressman and Senator must,
when assuming the high office, take an oath to “uphold the Constitution
How far have we come from the ideals
our founding fathers had in mind when they met, debated and finally
passed the Constitution which was signed
What has been behind this movement to have the U. S. Constitution read as this 112th Congress convenes? According to the Congressional Record which reports actions of Congress, in the 111th Congress, there were 408 incidents of “unconstitutional” pointed out and used in congressional debates. That was up from the high number of 283 “unconstitutional” attributed to debates in the 110th Congress. These incidents alone show that a familiarity with the Constitution is indeed needful among members of Congress.
Then, take, for example, the Virginia Attorney, General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II who brought a charge that portions of the federal health care law are unconstitutional, that the federal government cannot require persons to purchase health care insurance under pain of financial penalty. The federal district judge who heard the case indeed ruled that the general welfare and commerce clauses cannot require such purchase on the part of citizens. From that hearing came the determination of another Virginian, Representative Robert W. Goodlatte. He proposed the reading of the U. S. Constitution be held as the 112th Congress convenes.
Behind this move to be more cognizant
of the Constitution, its meaning and interpretation is a strong effort
operate Congress with greater responsibility and accountability. “We the people…” Representatives
and Senators are in
It was said of the inimitable Benjamin
Franklin as he watched the members of the Constitutional Convention
names to the much-debated and revised document which was finally signed
[Ethelene Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at e-mail email@example.com; phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411.]