There are numerous reasons why we should celebrate the birthday of our nation on the Fourth of July, otherwise known as Independence Day. One reason is that the United States is one of greatest nations that have ever existed on earth. It became so great because its government is based on the Constitution. The United States Constitution is basically an idea that mankind is capable of self-government. The establishment of a government under this Constitution is an experiment to see if the idea works.
Since the United States of America has operated under its Constitution for more than 230 years and is the most powerful nation in the world today, the idea has proven to be worthwhile. Under this big umbrella of self-government there are six significant ideas contained in the Constitution: (1) popular sovereignty, (2) limited government, (3) republicanism, (4) separation of power, (5) checks and balances, and (6) federalism.
Popular sovereignty means that the citizens of the nation hold the power and loans some of this power to representatives in the government for a time.
Limited government means that the power given to the government is limited by the people. The government has only as much power as the people allow it to have. Thomas Jefferson warned against allowing the government to become too big: “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.”
Republicanism is a form of government where the power resides in the people and the people elect representatives to make the decisions of government. One example is the Electoral College that makes the final vote for President and Vice President. The United States is a republic and has a republican-type of government, not a democracy. However, it does utilize a few democratic principles, such as the popular election of Senators and Representatives. Republicanism always opposes aristocracy, monarchy, and corruption because it places greater emphasis on the rights of the people as a whole. This is why the Constitution begins with the phrase “We The People.” Such a government is maintained only when virtuous citizens exercise self-control and insist that the government work for the good of the people. One important way to control the size of government is to control our own actions. When the people keep themselves under control, there is no need for more government to control them.
Separation of powers means that the power of the federal government is separated into three branches – Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. Each branch is expected to focus on their assigned responsibilities, which are: The Executive branch is given the responsibility to enforce the laws of the nation. The Legislative branch is given the responsibility of making the laws. The Judicial branch decides if the laws are constitutional and to see that justice is given to those who break the laws.
The system known as Checks and Balances means that each branch of the federal government is checked and balanced by the other two branches. If and when one branch gains too much power, the other two branches either decrease the power of that branch or build up their own power in order that all three branches maintain equal power. It is critical in our government that the power remains separate.
Federalism divides the power of government between the federal government and the sovereign states. The Constitution outlines the powers given to the federal government. Amendment Ten in the Bill of Rights attached to the Constitution says that any “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
With such a great country and Constitution, we must question why so many citizens of our nation are pushing to change our type of government. There are those who think that socialism is a good in spite of all the times that it has failed. There are others who think that sharia law is better than constitutional law even though they emigrated from countries where sharia law is practiced in order to enjoy the freedoms of the United States.
If Americans desire to enjoy the greatest of freedoms and liberties available any place in the world, we must maintain our constitutional way of life. If we do not, we will be forced to face future generations and explain why we stood by and allowed our government to be changed. If the American experiment fails, there is no other place to go. America is our last great hope for freedom and liberty. Happy Birthday, America!