They were loyal subjects of a King (George the III). Then the Founding Fathers fought a civil war against the most powerful nation on the planet at the time. They cast off a King, their King. Abandoned their motherland. And drove their oppressive government into their boats and back home where they belonged.
They announced their displeasure and their renunciation of the King in the Declaration of Independence. They did this through “terrorism.” They did this through Armies and Navies. They did this through ordinary men. They did this with assistance from foreign nations. They won their independence by outlasting their occupiers.
They rejected the King’s control. They rejected the King’s taxes. They rebelled over treatment far, far less onerous that that burdened upon us by our own government. For a few brief years, the 13 states lived under the Articles of Confederation as independent states WITHOUT a strong centralized federal government.
Things seemed to work quite well.
But there was a group of citizens who from the beginning in 1776, clamored for a central government (to rule them all). They met in secret deliberations at the behest of the First Continental Congress, to ultimately produce the U.S. Constitution. These were the Federalists. They advocated a strong, centralized government authority that was divided among various parts of government.
Unfortunately for the Federalists there were a very large group of citizens, referred to today as the anti-federalists, who either outright opposed the formation of a centralized government or were very leery of it. They felt that such a government would eventually lead to the means of their re-enslavement. Sadly their concerns have proven prescient.
So the Federalists craft an extraordinary document. If you take them at their word — they were trying to create a centralized government of explicitly limited powers, that would be divided into three branches: The Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. That these three branches would hold sway over each other, be at each other’s throats and never be able to coordinate dominion over either the States or its citizens — then this Constitution is a very extraordinary document indeed.
It was the result of intense debate behind closed doors. Compromises and assurances ... in the end we received the document as you see it today. Just one problem. The Framing Fathers, as I call them, as those who signed the Declaration of Independence wanted nothing to do with the U.S. Constitution. It was a different group all together who wanted a new King. And when they released this document 11 years after we had won independence from England they could only get seven of the required nine colonies to ratify the document of the 13 colonies. And one of those signatories was wavering.
An intense national debate occurred in which three anonymous authors (what were they afraid of?): Commonly believed to be Madison, Hamilton and Jay, defended the new Constitution, and answered questions about it to reassure the populace that the Constitution was not going to be the chains of their enslavement.
The anti-federalists responded back with their concerns. In the end promises and compromises were made. A Bill of Rights would be added to the Constitution that would spell out a few of our many Rights. And explicitly restrict the federal government to its listed powers with every other power being reserved for either the states or the people. Two additional states were persuaded by this to sign onto the Constitution and a federal government was born 13 years after our independence from the previous strong central government.
George Washington had been offered a Kingship, and turned it down saying such an office is not what he had been fighting for (or so the story goes). But he became our first President of the United States instead (or perhaps the 14th President depending upon how you count).
Under President Washington’s rule, we kept a standing Army operating beyond its two year Constitutionally specified limit (and have done so ever since), had raised taxes, overcome America’s first civil war over those taxes (The Whiskey Rebellion) using New York militia on Pennsylvanian farmers, who made the tragic mistake of trusting the terms of a peace with Washington and Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton.
Washington later presided over the peaceful transition to a new President (John Adams) who was the first elected President. He promptly put through the Alien and Sedition laws and locked up those who opposed him and their newspapers.
Any rate, my point is there was never a time when the U.S. government was a “just government.” It has always been about power. The power to take people’s property at the point of a gun. The power to prevent dissent from government policy. This is the purpose of all governments.
The other point is that at no time has the federal government felt constrained by the Constitution. The War against the States ended federalism, and clearly made the states subservient to their federal masters. With the end of internal imperialism (manifest destiny) we turned to global colonialism in the 1880’s, going forth to slay monsters and getting caught up in foreign entanglements, which has led to our arrogant hegemonic (sole superpower) domination today. Clearly by the 1930’s all three branches of government were comfortable with their mutual admiration society. The last vestiges of the U.S. government of the Constitution died somewhere along the way, to be replaced by the federal government we have today. A fascist police state where our feudal lords are successfully robbing us at gun point of our lives, our liberties and our pursuit of happiness.
The only time the CONstitution is mentioned by any aspect of the government it is to either justify their actions or to hold a parade during election time. Otherwise “it is an archaic document” or “a living breathing document” or “it is not a suicide pact,” as conditions warrant. No citizen is allowed to raise the Framing documents in government without being silenced, or at the very least ridiculed.
Over a 150 years ago, Lysander Spooner said it best when he said no one was bound by any agreement he had not personally agreed to. I didn’t agree to the Constitution. Did you?