28 Principles That Helped Build America – Chapter 20 – Principle #20

The Unalienable Rights of the People Are Most Likely to Be Preserved If the Principles of Government Are Set Forth in a Written Constitution


Habakkuk 2:2 “Then the Lord replied: ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.’”


The principles of the common law were known among the Anglo Saxons but they did not see the necessity of writing them down. However, when their most treasured rights disappeared in the Norman Conquest that took place, this taught the Anglo-Saxons a lesson. Slowly these rights were written down over a long period of time and we know from history that in A.D. 1215 King John was threatened to sign the Magna Carta. It was during this time that the principle of no taxation without representation came into being.


It was also in the 17th century that Charles I was pressured into signing the people’s “Petition of Rights” and later William and Mary signed the English “Bill of Rights.” Through the centuries the British had tried to manage their political affairs without any written Constitution and our American Founding Fathers learning from this felt that a written code was necessary to build a strong government.


The first written charter in America was the Mayflower Compact that later evolved into a more comprehensive type of Constitution when Thomas Hooker adopted what was known as the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in 1639. Montesquieu, in writing about the Constitution, said that “the wisdom of many is better than a single person.” Founding Fathers felt that the Constitution would be a better fit as it was brought through the wisdom of many delegates instead of leaving it to the genius of some individual. It was James Madison who mentioned that in ancient history the framing of the government was done not through the assembly of many but through an individual of approved wisdom and integrity.


It is never easy to operate through a committee like our Founding Fathers did, but the product – our Constitution – was far stronger than what any one individual could have written.


Just as a side note, in his book Democracy of America, Tocqueville mentioned how impressed he was that the American people were readers. He mentioned of how he could go into the most rugged log cabin and would find the Bible, perhaps a Shakespeare play, but above all he would find newspapers. I thought how different it is today in the 21st century when out of our schools we are graduating young people who can barely read, let alone enjoy reading books.


Our Constitution has stood the test of time and it is the law of our land. We see today how it is under attack by “political correctness” and is being transformed into something that our Founding Fathers did not envision.

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