“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
The all too familiar words uttered by Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg have lost their importance to us it seems. But it is high time that we review these words in light of the liberties that our government is currently taking.
The government the people created as described by Lincoln; a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, bears little resemblance to today’s government.
Similar words uttered by Daniel Webster some 30 years prior to Lincoln’s during an address to the U.S. Senate, not only serve as another reminder of how far off track our government has veered, but where it went wrong.
Webster said “It is, Sir, the people’s government, made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people. The people of the United States have declared that this Constitution shall be the supreme law.”
Webster’s words remind us the government the people created would operate within a body of laws. “The people of the United States have declared that this Constitution shall be the supreme law.”
A law by the people would serve as a legal constraint for the government they created so the freedom of its citizens would be guaranteed. The people would make the law, abide by that law, and expect their government to do the same.
A government of the people, by the people, and for the people is what the constitution creates, a framework of laws that apply to all who reside within its borders, but more importantly it is a law the government, and those who serve in it must abide by.
Because “The people of the United States have declared that this Constitution shall be the supreme law,” a nation would come forth whose government was of the people; a government that was designed, created, and regulated by the people. A government by the people would be a type of government where every citizen would have a say, no matter their rank or position in life.
The citizens would be able to elect representatives who would carry their wishes to the governing bodies that made up the government. No longer would one man or group of men be the government without the approval of its citizens. These representatives could not be appointed by anyone except the citizens that they represented.
The government would consist of the very people whose lives would be protected by the government. Its citizens would decide what the government needed to do, not the other way around.
A government for the people would be a drastic change from governments that came before it. This type of government would be one that not only protected the people, but would be a government that would operate in the best interest of its citizens. It would be a government that would protect the freedoms of its citizens by a written document, a constitution.
It would accomplish this by the establishment of laws. That is exactly what the Constitution is; a body of laws that are designed to protect the citizenry, from infringements on the personal freedoms by individuals, by foreign enemies, and from the government the people created.
When I consider the words of Webster and Lincoln, I am reminded of how far today’s government has drifted from its original design. When the elected officials of this country no longer represent the will of the people it is obvious that this government ceases to be for the people.
How can it be a government of the people when no outsider has little if any chance of being a part of it?
This government is no longer for the people when it ignores the wishes of its majority, in favor of those who would seek to influence its legislation by professional lobby, or when the wishes of the majority are rejected in favor of fringe minorities who continually demand additional rights, while infringing on the liberties of the majority.
It ceases to be a government by the people when its leaders take unilateral actions that no citizen would be able to take without legal violation and consequence.
It ceases to be a government for the people when the legislative bodies do nothing, thereby allowing governmental departments to not only create, but enforce legislation that was not written by the elected representatives’ of the citizenry.
This government acts in its own best interest, or it does not act at all.
To list all of the transgressions of this government and this President would take a large series of articles, so I would like to leave you with the words of Lincoln, Webster and the preamble of our Constitution to see for yourselves how far we have allowed this government to stray.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.”
It’s high time that we the people take back our government. But where to begin you ask? You can begin by reminding your elected representatives that from this day forward their actions will be measured against the Constitution, not by the opinions of men, and their future in this government will be directly linked to their adherence to it.