"There is simply no escaping the fact that the fate of the Constitution is in our hands -- as voters, representatives, justices. If we allow ourselves to abuse the tradition of higher lawmaking, the very idea that the Constitution can be viewed as the culminating expression of a mobilized citizenry will disintegrate. After all, the American Republic is no more eternal than the Roman -- and it will come to an end when American citizens betray their Constitution’s fundamental ideals and aspirations so thoroughly that existing institutions merely parody the public meanings they formerly conveyed."
Bruce Ackerman
(1943-) American constitutional law scholar, Sterling Professor at Yale Law School
We The People: Foundations, p.291 (1991)
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Reader comments about this quote:
There is no Constitutionally limiting representative republic in the area identified as the US. The American Republic has all ready gone the way of the Roman Empire -it no longer exists. The justices have declared the organic hegemony they represent to be in toto, aloof from 'We The People', it/they having inherent right(s) , the standing army (police) are in no way responsible towards or, have any liability to serve 'We The People' (only job description is to protect and serve the organic hegemony's property and enforce their edicts), etc., etc., etc. Representatives by statute, represent the foreign organic hegemony, not 'We The People.' Each vote is for a jailer / slave master of choice. "A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years" (Lysander Spooner) Voters continue to heap upon themselves unlawful / unconstitutional compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity, dictums contrary individual sovereignty and inalienable rights. All that being said, an accurate administration of law, justice, unalienable rights, freedom, liberty, and individual sovereignty is in the hands of the voters first, insurgents against the de facto organic hegemony (statist theocracy) next.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    The Constitution is a contract of power between the government and the people. As with all contracts, it is null and void if not enforced by the authoritative party. We the People, being the foundation all power, are the authoritative party that gives government its strength. If We don't force the government to strictly adhere to the rules of the Constitution, it becomes a dead letter and all the rights guaranteed by it become extinct.
     -- Publius, USA     
    Know the Constitution - Know Freedom. No Constitution - No Freedom. Simple.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Summed up well by the above.
     -- jim k, Austin,tx     
    And this is exactly why Benjamin Franklin, at the end of the Constitutional Convention, answered the woman that asked the question, "What have you given us, Sir?" He said, prophetically, "A republic, if you can keep it." There is a reason "We the People" is writ large as the first three words of our Constitution. It tells us We are responsible. It tells us We the People are the Keepers of that precious document.
     -- Carol, Georgia     
    "It may not be improper to observe, that in both those instances, (the one of Pennsylvania, and the other of the United States), there is no such thing as the idea of a compact between the people on one side, and the government on the other. The compact was that of the people with each other, to produce and constitute a government. To suppose that any government can be a party in a compact with the whole people, is to suppose it to have existence before it can have a right to exist. The only instance in which a compact can take place between the people and those who exercise the government, is, that the people shall pay them, while they choose to employ them" (Thomas Paine, "Rights of Man," Chapter 4 (Of Constitutions)).
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    As the only way to learn the truth about our runaway government is to do one's own due diligence, I am surprised at how many Americans have 'woken up.' There may be hope for us yet. As Jefferson said, "vigilance" is eternally required.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
     -- Ron, Salem      
    The Constitution resembles more a license than a contract. Each individual, as sovereign(s), unites with other sovereigns specifying limited duties to his/her/their servants. A contract is a description of an agreement whereby one party becomes obligated or bound to another to pay a certain sum (a consideration inclusive of a performed or omitted act, specie of value, collateral, etc.), to execute certain obligated performances, each maintaining specified rights of the agreement. In other words, a contract defines "an agreement, upon a sufficient consideration, to do or not to do a particular thing. A contract has also been defined to be a compact between two or more persons." (6 Cranch, R. 136.) In the representative republic of the States United, We The People are individual sovereigns obligated in no way, nor can we be, lawfully, by our servants. Constitutionally, the government is not obligated to pay We The People - the only specie of value that exists comes from We The People. The government has no right(s), but duties only that have been delegated by We The People to maintain each, every, any and all rights individually.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God. Can we fire those who make this Oath...and then ignore it while in office?
     -- Abigail, Newport     
    Mike, I completely agree with you. The term "contract" that I used was simply a metaphor. I apologize for not using one that more properly fits the situation. It was not my intention to infer that We the People owe the government anything, for as I have said, the People are the foundation of all power. However, the government is obligated to pay the people, but not with money or wealth (which is none of the government's business). The obligation of the government is to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and posterity. What I was trying to say is that if We the People don't make the government follow the rules of the Constitution, it won't. We must hold every official accountable for every unconstitutional decision they make, throw them out of office, and provide new guards for our future security.
     -- Publius, USA     
    Publius, by your previous writings, I figured that you understood the difference, that is why I didn't address my comments to you. My comments were to those reading this blog that are just awakening and are learning. Thanks for all you comments.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    It is about time that immigrants and others stop thinking of themselves as special people with special privileges. We are ONE country and should speak ONE language. There should be a concerted effort made to belong to this ONE country and uphold its policies, practices and above all laws. To many immigrants come here to get what they can for free without learning the language and not being interested in our culture. It is time for this to stop.
     -- Jane, Ridgewood     
    what does he mean when he says culminating expression of a mobilized citizenry
     -- Beka, Arlington Heights     
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