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The Constitution

Douglas V. Gibbs

Special to the Village News

“What is the Constitution?” Most people struggle with the answer. The short answer is that it is the Supreme Law of the Land, and the document that established our current governmental system as a federal republic.

The U.S. Constitution is the oldest written constitution in the world at 235 years old. The average age of other constitutions around the world is 17 years. Ours was written in 1787 and went into operation in 1789, which means the United States has been governed by a single framework of government for over two centuries.

France, during that same time frame, has endured five republics, two empires, a monarchy, and two dictatorships. El Salvador has gone through 36 constitutions since 1824.

The U.S. Constitution serves as an influence on all of the world’s constitutions in that they spell out the rights of the people, have a form of a separation of powers, a bicameral legislature, and an executive branch similar to ours.

However, none of them are a federal republic as ours is, paying careful attention to natural rights, providing numerous checks and balances, and including an enumeration of powers for the central government, while providing a level of autonomy to sovereign states who have joined voluntarily in the union we know as The United States of America.

From the resurrection of the term “citizen,” which means the government serves the people, rather than subjects who serve their government, to our bill of rights which lists certain God-given rights and provides that government shall not make any law interfering with those rights, the United States Constitution has served as a model for the world to follow, and a standard to emulate.

America is, because of its Constitution, a shining beacon on a hill guiding the world on a journey toward freedom, while seeking a world where the rights of the people are more important than the tyrannical desires of those who seek to control with despotism.

The United States Constitution is hope, liberty, and a promise of stability and freedom for future generations.

 

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