Our Republic




The early 1700s marked a hundred years since the first settlements of Jamestown (1607), Plymouth (1620) and Boston (1630) opened the American wilderness to colonization by England.  Over these hundred years, the colonies, aided by their remoteness became self-reliant and prosperous as Winston Churchill briefly chronicles in his work A History of the English Speaking Peoples:

…From the beginning, its leaders were out of sympathy with the government at home.  The creation of towns and settlements from the wilderness, warfare with the Indians and the remoteness and novelty of the scene widened the breach with the Old World.  During the critical years of settlement and consolidation in New England, the Mother Country was paralyzed by war.   When the English state again achieved stability, it was confronted with self-supporting, self-reliant communities which had evolved traditions and ideas of their own. 1

This state of affairs had no adverse impact on American settlements as regards their status as English colonies. The relationship remained amicable to the point that both America and England shared simultaneous religious revivals during the period 1730-1740. In America Jonathan Edwards of New England led the revival along with the visiting English evangelist George Whitfield, while in England, the brothers John and Charles Wesley, likewise assisted by George Whitfield, took the lead.  In addition, America and England shared the burdens of the French and Indian War, which broke out in 1754 on the western frontier.  English troops, with the aid of various colonial militias led primarily by Colonel George Washington, defeated the French and established English control over the area.

The colonies emerged from these experiences with a greater sense of unity in spirit and purpose.  The relationship with the Mother Country however stood on the verge of change as her new king, George III, who came to the throne in 1760, felt a need to consolidate his power. He began, through Parliament, to tighten economic control over the colonies.  This they rejected, declaring their allegiance to the colonial legislatures established pursuant to the existing charters granted by previous Kings.  The growing tension of this confrontation finally erupted in Boston, first with the Boston Massacre in 1770 followed by the Boston Tea Party in 1773.  On April 19, 1775, Minutemen and British soldiers exchanged gunfire at Lexington, Massachusetts. In August of 1775, King George issued a proclamation declaring the colonies in rebellion and during December of the same year Parliament severed trade relations with the colonies removing them from the King’s protection.  These actions by England, in effect, dissolved the relationship between the two. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress unanimously adopted the American Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.


The Declaration of Independence is a four-part document consisting of a preamble, a declaration of rights, an indictment and a statement of independence sealed by a sacred pledge. The preamble acknowledges the need to explain to the world out of a “decent respect” the necessity of the colonies “to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.”  The declaration of rights, with its immortal words, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights,” includes the “self-evident” truths that the powers of government derive from the “consent of the governed,” and when governments fail “to secure these rights” becoming “destructive of these ends” it is the peoples right “to alter or to abolish” such governments in order to “institute” new ones. This, it further stated, is the case with the King of Great Britain who had become a tyrant by “repeated injuries and usurpations,” including the following.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to, the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation...
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the World:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us, in many cases of the benefits of Trial by Jury...
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people...

The Declaration concludes with an appeal “to the Supreme Judge of the world.” done for the “rectitude” or moral integrity “of our intentions” stating the sum of the matter “That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do” sustained by “a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, and by a “pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."


Following the Declaration of Independence and victory in the war that followed, most colonies drafted and adopted their own constitutions.  Time eventually proved the need for a greater degree of unity, which led to the adoption of the Articles of Confederation in 1777.  The loosely knit Confederacy lacked both an executive and sufficient congressional power.  This proved unworkable.  In 1787, a convention met in Philadelphia in a second attempt to form a national government. 
Not surprisingly, the delegates chose the most proven of all among them, George Washington, to lead the proceedings.  Early on, they agreed that the new government incorporate the principles of federalism that establishes a central authority sharing power with the states, and republicanism, vesting the governing power in elected representatives.

This resulted in the Constitution of United States of America, a unique document revealing to the world a bold, hither to unseen, form of self-government in its purest form comprised of seven concise articles:
Article I - The Legislative Branch
Article II - The Executive Branch
Article III - The Judicial Branch
Article IV- The Relationship between the States and the National Government 
Article V - Amending the Constitution
Article VI - The Supremacy of the Constitution
Article VII - Ratification of the Constitution

Following these articles are the first Ten Amendments we all know as the Bill of Rights.  The Convention did not consider these amendments. They grew out of the insistence of the states during the ratification process.  Congress adopted them three years later in 1790.

This delicately crafted document achieves the balance between the necessary functions of government and the maintenance of individual freedom.  Several precepts that are the very foundation of our Republic accomplish this balance.  The opening sentence of the preamble “We the people…” is the first precept.  It establishes, from the outset, that the people are the primary authority, or sovereign, and not a king or a self-appointed group of elites.  The next precept we see is the separation of powers, power delegated among three distinct branches of government. The great precept of limited government appears in Article I Section 8 listing the specific powers granted by the states to Congress, reiterated again in Amendment 10 of the Bill of Rights, which reserves to the states or the people the powers not delegated to the United States.  There in also is the cornerstone of Federalism, power shared between the national government and the states.  Checks and balances is a critical precept found throughout the Articles, particularly I-III.  Checks and balances are circular in the manner in which they operate.  When we focus on the provisions relating to the courts we see a good example.  The President appoints the judges, the Senate advises and consents in the appointments and the House of Representatives and the Senate together regulate, through legislation, the size and jurisdiction of the court system as well as possessing the power to impeach the judges appointed for life. There are other provisions that function as checks and balances, such as the Presidential vetoes and the requirement that all tax bills originate in the House of Representatives, the body closest to the people.

In governing under these precepts, it is of utmost importance to remember that the original intent of the framers of the Constitution and of the various legislatures that approved it is essential to its continued success.  Many are deceived into thinking that the Constitution is a living, breathing document that changes with the circumstances of the day.  This false doctrine ignores the existence of the Federalist Papers authored by James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton. These papers and the record of proceedings during the original Constitutional Convention are among the primary sources for determining the original intent of the entire document, followed by consultations with legislative records and Federal Court decisions.  Such a discovery process must take place in order to maintain a consistent adherence to the unchanging, tried and true, constitutional principles that safeguard our liberties from generation to generation.

© Majesty Publications


1. Winston S. Churchill, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples: The New World. Vol. 2. (Bantam
Books. New York. 1957), 138