September 17th, 1787 stands as one of the most important days in our great nation’s history. On that warm, September day 39 delegates from the various states in the union penned their name to the document that formed the government that we know today. That document, of course, is the Constitution.
To help celebrate the Constitution’s birthday, we asked a couple members of our staff to explain the importance of the Constitution, and why they appreciate it. Here are their answers:
As Constitution Day drew near, I found that volunteering with PPI has changed how I view the Constitution. While I’ve always felt a hearty love and gratefulness for its protection of my liberties, I now also see the Constitution as the foundation and inspiration for the policy work of this and every generation of Americans.
“We have probably had too good an opinion of human nature in forming our Confederation,” wrote George Washington to John Jay before the Constitutional Convention. The government Jay, Washington and the other Founding Fathers proceeded to create expertly hedged the evil proclivities of man’s nature. We are blessed to have a Constitution that perceives human nature so well, and our own policy should follow suit.
The Constitution is also inspirational in its innovation. Congress was made the “senior partner,” as one constitutional scholar put it, of the government’s foreign relations, an unprecedented policy move. Hamilton explains, “the joint possession of power…would afford a greater prospect of security.”
The wisdom and innovation of the Constitution should guide us as we attempt to follow in the Founding Fathers’ footsteps. If we are to continue creating a prosperous future for generations to come, our love and wonder for this incredible document must never fade.
Jessa, homeschool high-school senior and PPI intern
After breaking away from the English Monarchy, our founding fathers wanted to establish a country that granted the American people individual protections that other countries were unable to offer. The Bill of Rights grant American citizens basic individual protections, such as the right to freedom of speech, expression, religion, and to assemble. Our country is founded by the people and for the people, where ideally the public can voice their opinions, make their own decisions, and are able to vote and influence policy without being penalized.
The United States Constitution also established a stronger Federal Governmental System. We have a Federal Marble-Cake system, where the Federal and State Governments have their own special functions, but are intertwined and often work together in order to achieve policy goals. This also acts as a check on both levels of government. This system allows both levels of government to have their own rights and responsibilities, but prevents one layer of Government from having sole jurisdiction on all policies and governmental functions.
I am grateful for our Founding Fathers who believed that their American successors should be entitled to freedom and protections under the law. As a result, the United States of America is a unique and successful example of how a country can be developed from basic laws and values that give individuals a chance to flourish and receive opportunities to experience the American Dream. To enjoy Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are three key concepts that describe why the United States Constitution is meaningful to me. Without these three basic ideas, America would not be the country that it is today.
Melissa, USC Masters student and PPI intern
The Constitution lights the path toward a greater United States and South Carolina by providing us with several beautiful and aspirational ideas. Of these ideas, none is more beautiful than the idea of federalism.
Unfortunately, the proper concept of federalism has slowing been broken down as the national government continually over-reaches its proper role. In order to keep our nation great, we must restore “competitive federalism” — the idea that states have the freedom to find the best answer to the challenges they face instead of having one-size-fits-all policies imposed on them from Washington. To celebration our Constitution, take a few minutes to check out this important piece on how competitive federalism answers the problems knocking on America’s door!