Sunday, December 20, 2009
Provide a Common Defense
The fifth principle taught in the Preamble to the United States Constitution anticipated that the people had the Right to be protected from all enemies, especially those who might want to destroy the United States or conquer its people. Predatory nations use a couple of methods to attack. One method is to invade a nation; the other method is to undermine the government from within. A national government would be responsible to protect against both kinds of attacks. The Founders were committed to the idea that no nation could remain free without staying strong. Benjamin Franklin wrote: "The way to secure peace is to be prepared for war. They that are on their guard, and appear ready to receive their adversaries, are in much less danger of being attacked than the supine, secure and negligent" (Smyth, The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 2:352). George Washington said, "To be prepared for war is one of the effectual means of preserving peace" (Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George Washington, 30:491). At the time that the Founders wrote the Constitution, there were both British and Spanish settlements nearby. The Founders were obviously concerned that either of these nations could attack the fledgling nation. An easy way to teach the value of this principle is to teach the reasons behind our practice to lock the doors of our homes. There are people in the world that sneak into the homes of unsuspecting families to steal the belongings and/or to hurt members of the family. We lock our doors to defend our homes. Our nation cannot "lock its doors" to keep us safe; therefore, the government needs to be strong enough to defend us if some other nation wants to come in. The quotes from Franklin and Washington as well as information for this post were taken from The Making of America - The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution by W. Cleon Skousen, p 243.