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How does the Constitution provide for a strong federal government

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How does the Constitution provide for a strong federal government while still upholding individual states rights?

Are the tenets set forth in the Preamble to the Constitution still relevant for today's American citizens? Explain.

*this isn't for a paper but questions that I need to be prepared to answer for my federal government class (300/junior level class). I have a book, but it is SO wordy, I find it difficult to grasp the actual concept of what it is speaking about with regard to the questions above.
HiCustomer

I actually assisted you the other day. Let's see if I can help you out again.



Q: How does the Constitution provide for a strong federal government while still upholding individual states rights?

A: Perhaps the most important answer to this question can be found in the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution, which provides the following:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

By the Constitution's very own wording, the powers found inside it are derived by the people (you will get this below from the preamble), and the powers that are not explicitly authorized in the Constitution belong to the States. The Constitution's explicit authorizations are relatively limited. In practice, the commerce clause found inside the Constitution has been broadly interpreted to allow for virtually all types of actions, but nevertheless, the Constitution is pretty limited in what it allows and all other rights are supposed to belong to the States.   



Q2: Are the tenets set forth in the Preamble to the Constitution still relevant for today's American citizens?

In order to decide whether the principles found in the Preamble are still relevant today, we must first discuss what is found in the Preamble. The Preamble says the following:

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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."


Let's dissect this.

First, it mentions "We the people of the United States", indicating that its power is derived from the people. This is important in a democracy, and while it may seem obvious to you today, it has not always been. In the past, many governments purported to derive their power from God, the king, or other sources. As we are still a democracy today, this principle is absolutely relevant. (Whether or not it is followed, as some people argue that democracy today is less representative than it was in the past because the citizens are less informed or active, is a different question-- but it is nonetheless relevant.)

Second, it mentions "in order to form a more perfect union..."
This portion refers to the fact that the Constitution was established after the failures of the Articles of Confederation. This portion is not really very relevant today.

Third, the preamble provides that the constitution is made to do the following:
(1) establish justice,
(2) insure domestic tranquility, (in other words, provide peace within the United States)
(3) provide for the common defense, (in other words, provide an army and national security)
(4) promote the general welfare (in other words, do what is generally good for the people of the United States), and
(5) secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,

This is a subjective question, but I personally believe that all of these purposes above are very relevant today. These purposes are the type of principles that are relevant for any people at any time. Indeed, many people argue that one of the reasons our Constitution is great is because, as seen from the principles above, it is essentially "timeless".    




I hope this helps you. I enjoy these types of questions, too. In the future, feel free to to personally request my assistance by asking for "HPLawyer".

Good luck in your class tomorrow!
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