Much of the information in this series is found at The United States Constitution Online. I highly recommend this site for further exploration of the meaning of our Constitution and give it up front credit for many of the ideas written here. The preamble is a declaration of why the Constitution was drafted. This is the part that we all memorize in elementary school, and for the Gen-Xers, learn through Schoolhouse Rock.
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.The first seven words are perhaps the most profound in all of the Constitution. From the outset, the powers granted to the government are derived from the People. We were established as a grassroots nation. The remaning enumerated reasons are rather self-explanatory. The first decade of our nation was governed by the Articles of Confederation and the founding fathers found them deficient in allowing for the governance of a new nation. And so the Constitution was written to better "establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, and secure the blessings of liberty..."
Finally, "to ourselves and our posterity" insures that the Constitution was meant to be a lasting basis for the government of the United States of America.
Up next week: Article 1, sections 1-3