We the People Essay
The relevance of the constitution, the articles of confederation and the declaration of independence
These three documents formed the foundation on which the United States stands as a nation. The declaration of independence adopted on 4th July 1776 marked the birth of a new nation, the United States of America. While the Americans were afraid of creating a strong authoritative central government, they drafted the articles of confederation and distributed them to the 13 states in 1777 (Barnett, 2013). The Articles were officially adopted in 1787. However, 1787, statesmen such as James Madison felt that the articles were not effective in running the government.
Additionally, the problems that the states were facing such quarrels over boundaries and economic straits meant that the country needed a stronger constitution. The convention in Philadelphia led to the creation of a new constitution. The three documents have seen changes in the government structure. The constitution incorporated the separation of powers and checks and balances for all the people in power. The law also created a bicameral legislature. The documents also enabled the constitution to respect the independent states but included laws that would govern the interstate relationship.
We the people
There are several dimensions of looking at this term whose genesis can be traced back to the 1788 document that was ratified in Philadelphia. The term “we the people” comes from the constitution which means that every person born or naturalized in the States is an American citizen. The phrase also means that the people are agents of the constitution. While Barnett (2013) observes that the words were missing in the articles of confederation, their inclusion into the Constitution must hold a lot of weight. The term also connects the declaration of independence to the constitution. This opening phrase also shows that the constitution is for the people of the United States and not for any individual or the government. According to Rivera (2014), the term also emphasizes that the people have the rights given to them by the Constitution to validate the government. Finally, it stresses the fact that the federal and state governments are integrated systems. Consequently, the rights of the national people have to be interpreted by the state people.
Defining the term “American” would need tracing the identity of the nation from independence to date. The first step was the attainment of the independence on 4th July 1776 and the renaming of the nation as “The United States of America” from the united colonies. The naming was followed by the peace treaty in 1783 and then the adoption of the constitution in 1788 (Frohnen, 2014). Since then the country has undergone transformations that have seen the integration of different elements of democracy and fundamental liberties as well as the bill of rights. Currently, the citizenry has the freedom to vote for any individual, settle anywhere within the states. While the term American may simply mean a native of the America, a deeper look at the term reveals a nation that is free from oppression. As Schildkraut (2014) points out, the term “American” may have different interpretations, but when used together with identity it represents a person who is free to exercise his or her rights in agreement with the constitutional provisions
Barnett, R. E. (2013). Restoring the lost constitution: The presumption of liberty. Princeton
Frohnen, B. (2014). American Republic. Liberty Fund Incorporated.
Rivera, J. A. (2014). The notion of cultural assimilation into an American identity: Abstract or
concrete?. THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO.
Schildkraut, D. J. (2014). Boundaries of American identity: evolving understandings of “Us”.
Annual review of political science, 17, 441-460.