The Preamble is imperative to the constitutional development of the country because it establishes a certain set of goals that the Constitution is aiming to reach: “We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America” (Legal Information Institute, n.d., para. 1). The six objectives expressed in the Preamble represent a framework for the interactions of the government and its people. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which of the above-mentioned goals was reached in modern US society. A grade ranking (from A to F) will be given each of the goals to show how well the Preamble was implemented into real life.
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The first objective of the US Constitution, forming a more perfect union, implies the development of a country in which states interact on the basis of friendship, common defence, mutual and general welfare, as well as the security of their liberties. A perfect union was necessary to strengthen the connections between states and achieve a degree of agreement that did not exist before the establishment of the Constitution. However, in terms of reaching a “perfect Union,” the United States can get a C grade because of several important considerations. The latest political developments in the country have shown that the US is as divided as it has never been before. The recent Presidential election divided people living in different states exponentially because of their political affiliations to either of the major parties.
Most voters have shown to vote not in support of their chosen candidate but rather to protest the possible election of the opposing one. Because of this, it may seem like the regions of the country are rather differing nations. One of the main reasons for the severe political divisions between states and a weak “perfect union” is explained by the fact that North America is comprised of eleven specific cultural regions that continuously battle for their social political and social supremacy, as proposed by Colin Woodard (2011). According to the scholar, the regions, such as the Deep South or the Far West, have particular cultural characteristics, the understanding of which could facilitate the dialogue and the strengthening of union (Woodard, 2011). Thus, to improve the grade associated with forming a “perfect union” between the states of America and to have productive conversations on issues that divide the nation, it is imperative for people to understand their background and be proactive in solving the problems that divide them.
Establishing justice for all citizens of the United States is the second point in the Preamble to the Constitution. The objective is connected to the principles of American democracy contained in the Declaration of Independence that states that “All men are created equal” (Jayne, 1998, p. 109). The Constitution, therefore, aims to make no distinction as to the status and wealth when it comes to citizens being subjected to punishment by the law for the crimes that they have committed. However, there is no mentioning of equality established for people of different cultural backgrounds, genders, races, occupations, educations, and other characteristics.
Despite the abolition of slavery in 1865, the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the development and popularization of Feminism starting from 1848, the United States is still challenged by the issue of equality. Ranked forty-ninth in the World Economic Forum (2018) list of countries by gender equality, the United States has work to do in regards to reducing the gender gap. In addition, challenges associated with discrimination by race should also be addressed. For example, African American men are still at the highest risk of being shot by police officers, as mentioned by Jones-Webb, Calvert, and Brady (2018). While the likelihood of African American men being subjected to police brutality is also a problem linked to a higher occurrence of crimes in this group, it is imperative for the US government to be more proactive in solving the issue. Thus, based on the provided rationale, the objective of establishing equal justice for all within the Preamble to the Constitution will be assigned a C grade.
Ensuring domestic tranquility is an objective that implies establishing peace and quiet at home – at home in America, as opposed to other nations. Tranquility also means the absence of rebellions, riots, and other characteristics of a social disorder in the United States. Therefore, the Constitution of the United States gave the federal government power to squash any possible rebellions and smooth tensions between states. The developers of the Constitution were concerned by the lack of ability to suppress revolts from citizens or quarrels among regions. In terms of domestic well-being, the US households of middle and below-middle are struggling with several important issues. For instance, despite the fact that 75% of Americans reported living comfortably, when it comes to emergency expenses, individuals without a stable income experience the most tensions. In addition, three in ten adults in the United States have a family income that varies from one month to another, “which means that it is challenging for them to ensure that all basic needs are covered,” including paying bills (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 2019, p. 13).
In terms of employment, two in ten adults are working but say that they want to work more in order to provide for their families. Blacks, Hispanics, and those will a lower degree of education are the least satisfied with their occupation. Unpredictable circumstances are the most challenging for this group of Americans because they cannot spend much money on expenses that have not been accounted for in their regular financial scheduling (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 2019). However, because the majority of citizens report satisfaction with their occupations and the ability to provide for their families, the grade that the United States get for ensuring domestic tranquillity is B. When it comes to addressing the issue of riots and protests, the US also gets a B. In recent history, the most notable incidents include the 1992 Rodney King riots, Ferguson riots in 2014, and the 2015 riots in Baltimore associated with police killing of Freddie Gray. All of the mentioned occurrences were linked to police brutality, which is a problem that needs addressing.
At this time, the United States provides sufficient common defence for its citizens, which grants the A grade. The Navy, the Army, and the Air Force all receive significant funding from the government to ensure that the country is prepared for any military action. Despite the overall aggressive military politics of the country, the key objective of protecting its citizens is considered fulfilled. The objective of “general welfare” for the people of the United States pertains to the availability of policies that support the improvement of the population in general, including soil fertility, educational opportunity, transportation, and contributions of government. In this effort, the US government works on the improvement of domestic welfare programs, which include the Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Earned Income Tax Credit, Housing Assistance, Temporary Assistance for those in Need, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs. The grade earned for these programs is B, as there is much to be done to improve the well-being of the poor and underserved. For example, the US spent 19.3% of its GDP on public social spending in 2016 as compared to 31.5% spent by France (OECD, 2016). This calls for a reconsideration of spending’s distribution to earn a higher grade.
Finally, securing liberty for “ourselves and posterity” means providing education, savings, national debt management, and preserving the social environment through pollution control and natural conservation. At this time, the grade earned by the US in terms of this objective is C, which is explained by several important points. For example, the national debt of the United States has reached more than $22 trillion in 2019, which is a significant economic burden placed on the country (“US debt clock,” 2019). Besides, pollution prevention policies implemented in the country are insufficient to address the rising challenge of declining natural environments.
Most people who read the Constitution of the United States often overlook the role of the Preamble as it does not grant or deny certain powers to the federal government and therefore has no real meaning. However, the current analysis has shown that the Preamble established a set of objectives for the positive governing of the country and its clear future.
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. (2019). Report on the economic well-being of US households in 2018. Web.
Jayne, A. (1998). Jefferson’s declaration of independence: Origins, philosophy, and theology. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky.
Jones-Webb, R., Calvert, C., & Brady, S. (2018). Preventing violent encounters between police and young Black men: A comparative case study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 5(1), 88-94.
Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). Preamble. Web.
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OECD. (2016). Social expenditure database (SOCX). Web.
US debt clock. (2019). Web.
Woodard, C. (2011). American nations: A history of the eleven regional cultures of North America. New York, NY: Penguin.
World Economic Forum. (2018). The global gender gap report. Web.