Documents of America

The Preamble

“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.”

Using just 52 poetic words, Gouverneur Morris, a delegate from New York, crafted the Preamble to the Constitution. He introduced Americans and the world to the framework of a grand experiment in self-government. There are seven key phases that introduce and outline the U.S. Constitution.

         “We the People” are the most famous words in American history. The Preamble clearly states that under the Constitution, citizens have the sovereign power to govern themselves … and they have for 236 years.

         “In Order to form a more perfect Union” was important to the Framers. They wanted to rectify the failures of the Articles of Confederation. The new Constitution gives the federal government additional limited and shared powers with which to govern a unified nation.

         “Establish Justice” created a federal court system that was a co-equal branch of government, sharing co-equal power with the Executive and Legislative branches. This landmark decision divides government power three-ways, meaning that at least two branches of government will have to agree on all important decisions.

         “Insure domestic Tranquility” is the commitment that the federal government will work with the sovereign states. The Constitution will divide all governmental power between federal government and the states or the people.

         “Promote the general Welfare” implies a free-market economy where citizens can prosper from their individual efforts. This requires the government to take a laissez faire approach to the economy.

         “Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” is a commitment to preserve individual rights, liberty and protection from government abuse for all the people, for future generations.

         In closing the Framers, representing We the People, ordained and established a strong permanent Constitution with which to govern ourselves. It remains today the framework of the longest running government in the world.