We the People
“We the People…”. These are some of the most powerful words ever written in history. They are the first words of the US Constitution. For Americans, the words mean that we have a democracy – a government that is made by the citizens for all the people of the United States. Our government is made of citizens that we elect. There is no king or queen or any one person or group that holds absolute power.
Listen and read along to the Preamble of the US Constitution. A preamble is a short introduction of an official document. The US Constitution establishes the government and laws of the land for the United States of America. The preamble is not law but establishes the purpose of the document.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Preamble of the US Constitution
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.
Learn About the Preamble and Constitution
uscitizenpod: Preamble of the US Constitution podcast
The Preamble in US History
The preamble does not legally guarantee any rights. But the first three words make an important point. They say the people – not a king, or even lawmakers– have the power to form and maintain the government.
Americans often use the words “we the people” to show the U.S. is a democracy. Voters elect officials to represent them.
But scholars also note that not everyone was historically included in “we the people.”
The men who wrote the Constitution in 1787 did not expect everyone to have the same right to participate in the U.S. government. They expected white men who owned property to vote, make laws and become judges and presidents.
They did not expect poor men, American Indians, African-Americans and women to play a significant role in government. Over time, changes to the Constitution gave all these groups more political power.