…and Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

The final clause outlining the intended purpose of the Constitution (and the government it envisions) begins with the conjunction ”and”; writing, ”and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

The Preamble itself has no legally binding powers. It is sometimes referred to as ”the Enactment clause” as that statement of purpose for all that follows thereafter. But, as an introduction, it has no equal. 

The framers began the Preamble (serving as an Introduction/Summary) with the famous words ”We the People”, thereby declaring for all history that this is to be a Constitutional government created of the People

They are meeting, acting, and writing, as Representatives of the People. They are doing so freely, not of compulsion, nor asking permission of anyone but themselves and their constituents to draft a Constitution to form a new Government. They know that a process of ratification will need to be carried out and approved by the People to see their labors come to fruition. Anticipating approval, they set forth in this last clause what the expectation of those fruits should be for the People.

The reader of the Preamble finds the following verbs in the infinitive case, form, establish, insure, provide, promote: each with a specific direct object in mind. These have been discussed at length in the previous essays put forth in this series. Each of the first five clauses describe the creation by the Constitution, of ideas, institutions, and relationships not then in existence. We have seen how they build upon one another. 

The final clause is not creative in the same sense, but rather speaks of the ability of the Constitution to secure the blessings that are the expected outflow of the type and manner of government the Constitution will ordain and enact. The framers foresee a nation operating under the mandates they’ve drafted as one that will preserve liberty, deriving its just powers from the governed. 

Thus, the Constitution, by adoption of its various Articles and provisions, forms a Union, establishes Justice, insures domestic tranquility, provides for common defense, promotes general welfare and is meant by the effective and ongoing function of these, to also secure the blessings which will naturally follow.

It is interesting that the framers did not write, ”and secure the Wages of Liberty”. Instead, they chose the word ”Blessings” as that goodness accorded to the recipient by one having the power to “Bless”. A blessing is not based upon either contractual obligation or merit, but as the bestowal of a gift. 

The framers are careful to name no particular creed or religion or doctrine. But no one can seriously deny their implied belief that People created free and equal, joined in the brotherhood of common purpose, treated justly (and treating one another justly without regard to rank or station), enjoying peace in their homes and persons, protected, provided for, and acting in liberty towards their fellow equally free citizens would not be a people blessed by their Creator.

It is well that We the People should routinely revisit these beginnings, that we might re-dedicate ourselves to the Ends.

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