Providence Foundation West essay contest winner: The Key to Liberty
October 31, 2011
and#8220;I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,and#8221; were the words of Nathan Hale immediately before his hanging. Dying willingly, Nathan Hale was only one of many colonists who were willing to sacrifice everything for the precious liberties that the Constitution would eventually bestow upon them. We must continue to protect these liberties, freedoms, and rights by preserving the Constitutionand#8217;s role in government.
A key to understanding the Constitutionand#8217;s role is identifying the principles which shaped it. Our forefathers believed that man is fallible and that government is a force. They recognized that man, being fallible, can threaten our freedoms with unstable whims and that government, being a power, can disregard our liberties. These dangers to our rights conflict with a key belief that our founding fathers constructed the Constitution upon: that God is the source of all our individual rights and freedoms. As the source of our rights, God is also the only one who can threaten or take them away. To defend our rights against both man and government, our forefathers established two key principles: a representative form of government which protects our liberties from mob rule, and a government with limited powers which protects our freedoms from tyranny.
However, the Constitution cannot protect our liberties according to the principles discussed above if it is not fulfilling its historical role. Some would have us believe that the Constitution is a living breathing document, subject to the capriciousness of the people. This idea is dangerous. Ultimately, it can lead to changes that would result in the Constitution being unable to protect our liberties. Government should not redefine what the Constitution says; the Constitution should define what the government may do. If the Constitution is to safeguard the people from tyranny, mob rule, and the sacrifice of their freedoms, it must have a central role in our government. We must fight to keep our Constitution in this leading role in our government today.
In conclusion, our founding fathers, believing that God is the source of our rights, established the two pillars of a representative and limited form of government within the Constitution. It is imperative that the Constitution continues to be a guardian over our liberties against powers, ideas, or authorities that would take away what men like Nathan Hale died for.
and#8212; Submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org