Constitution 101

Text of the founding documents

Opening to The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness-

The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States

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.

Lesson #1: The Political Process Starts with You.

When we talk about politics, we are really talking about the relationship between government, you and the society at large. We need to answer these questions. Can government do anything it pleases; if the politicians we elect believe it is in the public interest? What are our specific rights as individuals and where do they come from? Can you answer these questions and back them up with facts? If you can’t, don’t worry. There are few Americans that can. That is what most politicians are counting on. If you are uninformed about these questions, politicians will take advantage of you on their way to another election win. Starting now, Everyday America is here to educate you on what it means to be a citizen in an easy, straightforward way. You will know what the limitations of government are as laid out in the U.S. Constitution. You will also know what rights you really have and where they come from. Lastly, we will teach you what your role is in your family and community. America is a great country and will only be greater as you possess this valuable information as an informed citizen.

Lesson #2 We are not Democrats or Republicans. We are Americans.

This is a trap we have all fallen into time and time again. We should not be enemies with our neighbors. We should be allies. Politicians and special interest groups have successfully divided us into groups politically. When one party is mentioned, most of us either have an automatic positive or negative view of the person or idea that follows the party affiliation. We will never solve the big problems of our time like that. We are doomed to fail as a society. Who benefits from a divided society? The politicians and special interest groups that have pitted us against one another in the first place do. Politicians are reelected by creating jealousy and division between us. They of course promise to fix whatever problem ails us if you would only elect them. The special interests are happy giving money to that politician to get re-elected. Then once in office that special interest gets a tax break or a concession in a piece of legislation that will make them much more money in the end. All the while, Democrats and Republicans are still mad at each other and the big problems still aren’t fixed. All of us must become Americans again with one unified vision. We will fix the big problems that confront us. We will always seek better, more prosperous days ahead for ourselves and our children. That is the vision and goal of Everyday America.

Lesson #3: The U.S. Constitution is the rulebook for government.

Have you ever played a game with your kids and they kept changing the rules? At some point, you might have to look up the actual rules in the rulebook. This is a similar situation we have today with government. There are few citizens who actually know what is in the Constitution let alone know its purpose. The purpose of the U.S. Constitution is to restrain the federal government from overstepping its bounds and taking away the people’s rights. The founders knew power corrupts people. This is why the Constitution contains the “enumerated” powers. This is just a fancy name for powers that are specifically spelled out. The federal government is not supposed to do anything outside these parameters. These “enumerated” powers are supposed to keep our government and politicians walking down the straight and narrow. “We the people” currently let our government operate outside the powers given to them all the time. This is because citizens do not know the contents of the Constitution and continue to vote for politicians who will not restrain governmental power. Everyday America will continue to educate you in order to make better decisions and keep the federal government following the original rulebook.