America’s longevity owes much to a group of very smart people who, about 235 years ago, were genuinely interested in solving the problem of bringing a collection of independent and sovereign states together under a stable and just federal government.
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The Scene at the Signing of the Constitution, oil painting (reproduction) by Howard Chandler Christy, 1940.
America’s longevity owes much to a group of very smart people who, about 235 years ago, were genuinely interested in solving the problem of bringing a collection of independent and sovereign states together under a stable and just federal government. They seemed to have no self-serving political agendas beyond forming a government that used lessons of English history and built on the thought of the liberal thinkers of the 18th century. They wanted a government that would surpass any previous example in its ability to establish and protect freedom of the individual. Above all, they wanted an America that could stand on its own and assume its place among the other powers of the world. They understood the necessity of government but were wary of government power and the abuses of which government was capable. English history was full of such lessons. They were well educated in the history of previous efforts and in the philosophy of rights and politics; and believed in a basic set of unalienable rights afforded to every person. They understood the need for a social and political society in which individual rights and security were guaranteed. They were determined that the people be ultimately in charge rather than a powerful few. But they also understood that society was a collection of individuals and groups of diverse, and sometimes competing, interests - that would have to live peaceably together. They were remarkable in their understanding of the problems to be solved if such a society were to be stable. From these understandings, they developed a constitution that defined how such a stable and just government would work and sought to foresee the ways in which people (none of us are angels) could pollute the water. The Constitution of the United States is a document of eternal truths expressed in unique government constructs. It is remarkable in its wisdom and foresight.