Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Informed Citizens

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the need for an informed citizenry. The citizens of America must know what the Constitution says and how the government works if the United States of America is to remain a free nation.

            The American colonists did not have any desire to break from Great Britain until their mother country began taxing them to bolster the funds of the king. The Americans were content to pay taxes that were used to improve their living conditions, but they were not willing to be taxed by Parliament without having any representation there. When they could see that the king and Parliament were not listening to them, they proceeded with plans to declare their intentions to be an independent nation.

            After the Revolutionary War gentlemen from the colonies met together in Philadelphia
met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to amend the Articles of Confederation. One of the very first acts performed at the convention was to amend the Articles of Confederation out of service. Then the delegates proceeded to write a new Constitution for their new nation.

            One of the delegates’ main concerns was to write a Constitution that would give the federal government enough power but not too much power. They fought a war for independence from King George, and they certainly did not want to have the same kind of concentration of power in the new United States.

            They decided to give the power to the people. That is the reason that the Constitution begins “We The People of the United States….” The Constitution gives the power to the people and allows them to exercise their God-given rights. The people loan some of their power to the government but retain enough to take control if necessary.

            The people must understand the Constitution and the government well enough to know what the government should be doing and what it should not be doing. Many school districts teach little or no civics or history classes, and the rising generations do not know the Constitution or government. An excellent example is the newly elected representative from New York, 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She is the youngest woman in Congress and basically has no idea what she should be doing and may not care that she does not know.

            I applaud the Indiana state senator who proposed Senate Bill 132 that would require high school students to pass a citizenship test in order to graduate from high school. Republican Senator Dennis Kruse says that “There is a deficiency in government and civics knowledge and it’s getting worse.” Believe it or not, there are people who oppose the bill.

            I believe that all citizens of the nation should know basic civics in order to be informed citizens. We required immigrants to wish to become citizens to pass a test to prove that they understand the responsibilities of citizenship. It is only fair that we require home-grown citizens to do the same.

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