The Unique Idea of the American Constitution
Our Constitution embodied a UNIQUE IDEA. Nothing like it had ever been done before. The power of the idea was in the recognition that people's rights are granted directly by the Creator - not by the state - and that the people, then, and only then, grant rights to government. The concept is so simple, yet so very fundamental and far-reaching.
America's founders embraced a previously unheard-of political philosophy which held that people are "...endowed BY THEIR CREATOR with certain unalienable rights.." This was the statement of guiding principle for the new nation, and, as such, had to be translated into a concrete charter for government. The Constitution of The United States of America became that charter. Other forms of government, past and present, rely on the state as the grantor of human rights. America's founders, however, believed that a government made up of imperfect people exercising power over other people should possess limited powers. Through their Constitution, they wished to "secure the blessings of liberty" for themselves and for posterity by limiting the powers of government. Through it, they delegated to government only those rights they wanted it to have, holding to themselves all powers not delegated by the Constitution. They even provided the means for controlling those powers they had granted to government. This was the unique American idea. Many problems we face today result from a departure from this basic concept. Gradually, other "ideas" have influenced legislation which has reversed the roles and given government greater and greater power over individuals. Early generations of Americans pledged their lives to the cause of individual freedom and limited government and warned, over and over again, that eternal vigilance would be required to preserve that freedom for posterity.