To Secure Essential Liberty

Michael Taylor

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." When Benjamin Franklin spoke these words in the years prior to the Revolutionary War, it was not only a warning to the colonists of his time but a caution to all people in all times. We live in an age where our government leaders view the Constitution as an archaic document that is no longer relevant to our times, so they interpret it as they wish and ignore it when they choose. As a result our liberties have never been more at risk. When fifty-five delegates from twelve states met in Philadelphia in 1787 to amend the Articles of Confederation, they represented a nation with virtually no central government and a diverse population divided by regional interest, religious views, slavery, and their very concept of self-government. The states and the nation were heavily in debt from the cost of the Revolutionary War, the economy was weak, and the nation had already endured an armed rebellion. When the delegates in Philadelphia wrote the words 'We The People' at the top of a new Constitution, it came only after four months of negotiation and compromise designed to create a new government that would serve the best interests of the greatest number of citizens in the fairest way. We may wonder where these leaders are today when partisan politics is the rule, the word 'compromise' is unknown in Washington, D.C., and the only agenda of our elected representatives is to spend the taxpayers' money and be re-elected to office. Even when the faces occasionally change, the system of politics does not because the nature of our elected officials is still the same. They are first and last - politicians. Nothing will change until we change the nature of government first. The Framers of the Constitution gave us the means to reclaim our government, but it is up to us to exercise that ability if we dare. To Secure Essential Liberty is a comprehensive review of each article and clause of the United States Constitution with the historical contexts that led to its creation and a commentary on how the Constitution has been interpreted and often abused in modern times. At the conclusion of the review of the Constitution are a series of essays that describe the problems of America in the twenty-first century along with proposals to alleviate those issues. There is an additional appendix with a history of the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention as well as a separate appendix containing a brief biography of each delegate to the Convention along with his contributions to the Constitution.

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