Importance of We the People

Importance of We the People

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Importance of We the People

The first words of the United States Constitution are
“We the People of the United States”. These words hold a great
significance because of the implications of those words’ inclusion in the
Constitution. While the Preamble in which those words

appear
does not actually have any innate legal
implications beyond introducing the rest of the Constitution, the meaning of
the Preamble with regard to the Constitution as a whole is quite significant
towards understanding the Constitution. “We the People,” as a phrase,
exhibits this significance, as that one phrase allows the Constitution to be
interpreted in a different light.

 

To quickly emphasize the importance of
“We the People” in the Preamble of the Constitution, one should
examine the Preamble of the Articles of Confederation. In the Articles of
Confederation, the Preamble bears no such phrase, and instead moves quickly into
the content of the Articles with barely any such opening ideas. “We the
People” is conspicuously absent from the Preamble of the Articles.

 

The Constitution, on the other hand, by opening up with
“We the People” immediately affirms that the Constitution is of the
people, for the people, and by the people of the United States. This
interpretation, which arises most strongly from the presence of “We the
People” in the Preamble, effectively leads to an understanding of the
Constitution as affecting the people directly and not through regulations
imposed on the States. In other words, those words define that the interaction
between the Constitution and the citizens of the United States is direct and
immediate, meaning that the Constitution, and the government it
creates, supersede
s any State government.

 

The words “We the People” in the
Preamble are often considered the strongest links between the Constitution and
the Declaration of Independence, in that the Declaration of Independence was
written from the perspective of the people, not of specific individuals or of
government. In beginning the Preamble of the Constitution with “We the
People,” the Constitution is immediately emphasizing the significance of
the people and is also ensuring an understanding that the people are the ones
giving power to the
Government. This is also a critical element to
the American Constitution, in that the power of the
Government mandated by the Constitution comes not from God
or from itself, but from “We the People.”

 

Starting off the Preamble in this fashion has influenced
interpretations of the Preamble and of the Constitution as a whole in that the
Preamble is often used as a kind of key for determining understanding of other
parts of the Constitution. Insofar as the Preamble begins with “We the
People,” then, it clearly emphasized the importance of the people and
their role in validating the
Government,
as opposed to the
Government’s role in having power over the
people.

 

“We the People” is one of the most
often quoted parts of the Constitution, both because it is at the very
beginning of the entire document and because it significantly determines the
nature of the rest of the Constitution. In making the Constitution a document
for the people and by the people, the words “We the People” at the
beginning of the Preamble very much define the context in which the entire rest
of the Constitution can and should be understood.

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