We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.
Some claim that the U.S. Constitution is a grant of power to govern directly from the people to the national government. They claim that the phrase “we the people” reveals this intent in the framers. There are many reasons this is wrong, including the historical development behind the U.S. Constitution, particularly the Declaration of Independence and its proclamation that the states are of right independent entities. There is also the process by which the Constitution was ratified. It was ratified at state conventions or by state legislatures. It was not ratified by popular vote of all people in the nation.
There is an additional reason found in the very words of the preamble for understanding the Constitution as providing for an entity which serves the free and independent states. The reason is in the word “Union.” A reader must ask, “a union of what?” Is it possible that the preamble means a union of individuals? That idea is quite bizarre. The problem which brought the delegates from various states to a convention was the need for the states to work more closely together, a situation that the Articles of Confederation was powerless to accomplish. So it is in the words of the preamble that the “States” are “United,” not individuals.
Many will reply that in the union of the States there was a giving up their independent authority to the federal government. Is that what “union” means? When I married my wife and became united to her in the covenant of marriage, did I relinquish my identity? Did she? Certainly, we have to work together for each other’s good. Sometimes one of us will give up his or her rights for the good of the other. We do so for the other individual, not because we are a collective whole. A union only exists for the joining of distinct beings in a mutually beneficial relationship.
The states have for many years ignored their role in forming “a more perfect Union.” The federal government for decades has usurped the authority of the states and actually worked against this union for the goal of merging all things into it. This is not a union. The states in the years to come must engage together and work together to reestablish this more perfect Union.