The Constitution is the basis of our government and the cornerstone of our free society. As we mark the 226th anniversary of its adoption today, it’s worth recalling the words of James Madison, its principal author and Founding Father. In 1829 he wrote that, “the happy Union of these States is a wonder: their Constitution a miracle: their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world.” Today we pay tribute to that miracle.
It was the vision and determination of the Founders who wrote and signed the Constitution that makes our celebration today possible. The Constitution and the timeless principles it enshrines form the fabric of this great nation. Americans of all walks of life are united by the ideals of limited government, equal justice, and the rule of law. These values are treasured beyond our shores, offering a beacon of hope to countless millions hungry for freedom.
It falls upon each of us to keep that light shining bright. In his farewell address, President Ronald Reagan reflected on these timeless principles. “Man is not free unless government is limited,” he said. “There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.” On this day, these words bear remembering.
Today, there is a palpable sense that we are drifting away from these ideas. Washington continues to amass power and influence over our daily lives through misguided laws like Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. These feelings have only been reinforced by a litany of high profile scandals including the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups and the Department of Justice’s seizure of reporters’ phone records. Is it any wonder then that as President Obama continues to preside over the largest expansion of government in decades, the public’s trust in government has fallen to a 40-year low?
If we embrace our founding principles, and embody our great American promise, we can restore faith in our governing institutions. Constitution Day provides us an opportunity to impart these values on the next generation, who are responsible for carrying the torch of liberty into the future. The Founders understood, as we all must, that government serves to secure liberty for the people of our great Nation.
So on this 226th year since the signing of our great charter of liberty, be sure to celebrate our Founders and the values they enshrined in our Constitution. Let us reflect on what it truly means to be free and an American. And let us never forget the sacrifice our men and women and uniform have given to defend our liberty.