- - Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Words have power. Ideas stir the soul, but until ideas are embodied with words they are only dreams that fade away when the bright sun of reality dawns. What the brave men and women of 1776 did was face the sun and boldly declare what they knew to be true, knowing that the probability of such ideas surviving was at best a dream.

Though true and revolutionary for its time, the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence were not new: that man is born equally free; that man’s freedom comes from his Creator not from other men; that government is man’s servant, not his master. These were ideals that many men had dreamt of before. What made the Declaration unique was that men wrote down such ideas in public defiance of those in power, knowing full well that taking such a stand could cost them their lives.

Such words and such stands on principle eventually birthed a nation whose conception was unique in all of history because, as Lincoln’s immortal words declared, it was born, “of the people, by the people, [and] for the people”.

But, even after victory in the war for independence proved that such ideas were not just theoretical, these ideals these principles of freedom were dying on the vine. There was no doubt that they were true and that they were powerful and that they stood nobly on their own but did they stand on their own? They had no structure to bear them up and no place they could call home that is, until the summer of 1787 when 55 wise and humble men acknowledged that being right on principle wasn’t enough for their fledgling country. What they recognized was their country also needed to be right about the pragmatic institutionalization of those principles principles which appeared to defy institutionalization.

So, they set off to build such a structure. And, to their credit and to our great blessing, when the foundation for such a structure though firm appeared too small and too restrictive they resisted the urge to build out and to build up because such expansion resembled too much that of a castle built for a king; and theirs was a quest to build a nation of self-rulers free from governmental intrusion on his life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

I am inspired by the Constitution because it rescued a dream that was fading away into the annals of history and breathed life into it again, making it a multi-century reality for millions of dreamers like me.

I am inspired by the Constitution because it took on, and continues to take on, the seemingly impossible balancing act of governing over men without over-governing them.

I am inspired by the Constitution because it took the Declaration’s lofty ideal of delegated, limited power enshrined in the words, “deriv[ing] their just powers from the consent of the governed,” and inscribed it into the 18 clauses of its 1st article and 8th section.

I am inspired by the Constitution’s Article I, Section 10, wherein it ensures that men’s “pursuit of happiness” will not be inhibited, nor aided, by government.

I am inspired by the Constitution’s 5th amendment which brings to life the proclamation, “that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men” with its guarantee of the protection of life, liberty, and property.

In short, I am inspired by the beautiful marriage of lofty principles and sound structure found in our Constitution. I raise my voice in support of and in deep appreciation for this great document that serves as the supreme law of our land, and I join with William Gladstone who called it, “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”

It is with this backdrop of deep respect for the principles of freedom found in our Constitution that the national Constitution Bee is being launched. For, as the founders so wisely understood, regardless of how powerful these principles are, if they don’t find a home they will die. And, what better home what better receptacle for such principles than in the hearts and minds of America’s most valuable asset its rising generation!

The Constitution Bee is on a mission to teach youth the powerful truths embodied in that great document in ways that make it exciting, applicable, and absolutely critical to our present-day happiness and well-being. So, that when the inevitable and quickly approaching day arrives when the monumental question is asked of our nation’s youth, as it was asked of our nation’s founders, “Who will take a stand for the principles of freedom?” our youth will be armed with the knowledge and with the courage to boldly declare, “We, too, hold these truths!”

Jeff Hymas is the founder of “In the Constitution,” a non-profit whose mission is to educate Americans on the principles of freedom found in the Constitution. Jeff has presented his youth and adult series to over 400 live audiences. His most recent project, the “Constitution Bee”, is gaining national acclaim for its unique approach to teaching youth the “why” behind the freedom formula of our founding document.

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