The Constitution of The United States of America is under attack from the left. They accurately view it as an obstacle to their designs for an America remade in their own image. That is exactly what the founders intended – no wonder the left despises the document that places limits on the role of government and recognizes the divinely granted rights of individual citizens.
Take a few minutes and read what the framers of the Constitution thought of what they created under the hand of the Almighty. Also read what leading historians, statesmen and others thought of the document that reshaped thinking on individual liberties and the true and proper role of government. It has been said that those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it. The Constitution of the United States arose in an era of government oppression and tyranny. If we are to avoid repeating that mistake then it certainly behooves us to learn more about the Constitution and what it meant to our nation’s founders and the leading statesmen and scholars of that day. Once you consider the impact and importance this document has upon our society 224 years after it was written, you will understand why we must do all we can under our power to preserve it.
George Washington (1732–99), chairman of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and subsequent first president of the United States:
“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and, in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government the tranquil deliberation and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities from which the event has resulted cannot be compared with the means by which most governments have been established without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage.” (From first inaugural address, 30 April 1789, New York City.)
James Madison, Jr. (1751–1836), fourth president of the United States, sometimes referred to as the “father of the Constitution”:
“It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in [the Constitution] a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.” (The Federalist, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1983, no. 37, p. 222.)
Benjamin Franklin (1706–90), member of the Constitutional Convention of 1787:
“I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe further that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an Assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies.” (Documentary History of the Constitution of the United States of America, 1786–1870, 5 vols., Washington, D.C.: Department of State, 1894, 2:762.)
William Pitt (1759–1806), British Prime Minister:
“The American Constitution] will be the wonder and admiration of all future generations, and the model of all future constitutions.” (Quoted in Harry Atwood, Our Republic, Merrimac, Mass.: Destiny Publishers, 1974, p. 62.)
William E. Gladstone (1809–98), British Prime Minister:
“The American Constitution is the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man. It has had a century of trial, under the pressure of exigencies caused by an expansion unparalleled in point of rapidity and range, and its exemption from formal change, though not entire, has certainly proved the sagacity of the constructors and the stubborn strength of the fabric.” (In “Kin Beyond Sea,” North American Review, Sept.–Oct. 1878, p. 185–86.)
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59), French statesman:
“The principles on which the American constitutions rest—those principles of order, of the balance of powers, of true liberty, of deep and sincere respect for right—are indispensable to all republics; they ought to be common to all.” (Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 2 vols., Boston: John Allyn, 1876, 1:xviii.)
Sir John A. Macdonald (1815–91), first Prime Minister of Canada:
“I think and believe that [the U. S. Constitution] is one of the most skillful works which human intelligence ever created; [it] is one of the most perfect organizations that ever governed a free people.” (Parliamentary Debates on the Subject of the Confederation of the British North American Provinces, 3d session, Eighth Provincial Parliament of Canada, Quebec: Hunter, Rose and Co., 1865, p. 32.)
Sir Henry Maine (1822–88), English jurist and governmental historian:
“The Constitution of the United States of America is much the most important political instrument of modern times.” (Popular Government, Indianapolis, Ind.: Liberty Classics, 1976, p. 199.)
Lord Acton (1834–1902), English historian:
“Europe seemed incapable of becoming the home of free States. It was from America that the plain ideas that men ought to mind their own business, and that the nation is responsible to Heaven for the acts of State—ideas long locked in the breasts of solitary thinkers, and hidden among Latin folios,—burst forth like a conqueror upon the world they were destined to transform, under the title of the Rights of Man.” (F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1960, p. 176.)
Albert P. Blaustein, internationally-known scholar of the U. S. Constitution and professor of law, Rutgers—The State University School of Law:
“The United States Constitution is the nation’s most important export. It was meant to be; it has been since even before its promulgation; and it continues to be. It could not help but be …
“From the earliest days of the American revolutionary movement, its leaders were conscious that they were doing something of world-wide significance. They had convinced themselves that they were creating a new Eden, not only for America but for all of mankind. …”
“‘Until the time of the American and French Revolutions,’ explains Professor K. C. Wheare, ‘A selection or collection of fundamental principles was not usually called “the Constitution.” The Americans in 1787 declared: “We the people of the United States … do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Since that time the practice of having a written document containing the principles of government organization has become well established and “Constitution” has come to have this meaning.’
“Thus, just by being first, the United States Constitution has inevitably been an influence for constitutionalism. Every nation that has a one-document constitution (or is committed in principle to having one) is inevitably following the United States precedent-model. And that applies to all but six countries.” (Personal papers, 1984, published in edited form in National Forum, Fall 1984, p. 14.)
John Quincy Adams (1767–1848), sixth president of the United States and son of the second president, John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. This excerpt, permeated with prophetic scriptural imagery, is from an address given 30 April 1839 titled “The Jubilee of the Constitution”:
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“When the children of Israel, after forty years of wanderings in the wilderness, were about to enter upon the promised land, their leader, Moses, who was not permitted to cross the Jordan with them, just before his removal from among them, commanded that when the Lord their God should have brought them into the land, they should put the curse upon Mount Ebal, and the blessing upon Mount Gerizim. This injunction was faithfully fulfilled by his successor Joshua. Immediately after they had taken possession of the land Joshua built an altar to the Lord, of whole stone, upon Mount Ebal. And there he wrote upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written in the presence of the children of Israel: and all Israel, and their elders and officers, and their judges, stood on the two sides of the ark of the covenant, borne by the priests and Levites, six tribes over against Mount Gerizim, and six over against Mount Ebal. And he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that was written in the book of the law.
“Fellow-citizens, the ark of your covenant is the Declaration of Independence. Your Mount Ebal, is the confederacy of separate state sovereignties [the first form of U. S. government created after the Declaration of Independence but prior to the creation of the Constitution; a form that was soon discovered to be weak and inadequate], and your Mount Gerizim is the Constitution of the United States. In that scene of tremendous and awful solemnity, narrated in the Holy Scriptures, there is not a curse pronounced against the people, upon Mount Ebal, not a blessing promised them upon Mount Gerizim, which your posterity may not suffer or enjoy, from your and their adherence to, or departure from, the principles of the Declaration of Independence, practically interwoven in the Constitution of the United States. Lay up these principles, then, in your hearts, and in your souls—bind them for signs upon your hands, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes—teach them to your children, speaking of them when sitting in your houses, when walking by the way, when lying down and when rising up—write them upon the doorplates of your houses, and upon your gates—cling to them as to the issues of life—adhere to them as to the cords of your eternal salvation. So may your children’s children at the next return of this day of jubilee, after a full century of experience under your national Constitution, celebrate it again in the full enjoyment of all the blessings recognized by you in the commemoration of this day, and of all the blessings promised to the children of Israel upon Mount Gerizim, as the reward of obedience to the law of God.” (John Quincy Adams, “The Jubilee of the Constitution,” an address delivered at the fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington, 30 Apr. 1839.)