With this much discontent in the American political process, you can bet there’s a conflict with one or more one fundamental American values or principles.
But where is that official list of fundamental American values and principles?
Well, in fact, there actually is one official place where the American people are entitled to specifically state their fundamental values and principles—and then expect their government to honor and respect them—and that’s the U.S. Constitution.
So what fundamental American values and principles are listed in the Constitution?
Well, first, it’s important to know that many of the most fundamental values and principles that Americans are familiar with—such as life, liberty and equality—were identified in the Declaration of Independence written primarily by Thomas Jefferson in 1776—and the Declaration has little or no legal significance.
It‘s only the Constitution that counts and is was written over ten years later primarily by James Madison. While the original Constitution identified and captured some fundamental American values and principles—including justice and separation of powers—the fact is the original Constitution did not include many of the most fundamental of American values and principles.
A couple years later, realizing their mistake, the Founders started amending the constitution to specifically identify almost all of the values and principles that people today associate with a modern democracy—such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, etc. The Founders were convinced they had to specifically state those values and principles this because they didn’t believe the government could be trusted to honor the values and principles unless they were not specifically identified in the Constitution.
Also realizing those fundamental values and principles could change over time, the Founders provided the people with the ability to add or change those values by amending the Constitution if and when the vast majority of Americans (think 75%) supported it.
To date, the vast majority of Americans have deemed it necessary to amend the Constitution to specifically identify new or additional values and principles about once every eight years on average.
Nevertheless, there still remain a number of values and principles that are likely to be fundamental to most Americans—that are not currently identified in the American constitution—and if they were, could make an enormous difference in establishing trust and confidence between the people and their government.
For example, here are a few words that appear nowhere in the American Constitution or its amendments:
- Honesty – honest
- Fairness – fair
- Truth – truthful – truthfulness
- Ethical – ethics
- Respectful, dignity – dignified
Therefore, no American currently has the constitutional right to expect their government to honor or respect any of these.
So what kind of difference do you think it would make if the American people required their government to honor and respect any one of these items—not only for Americans—but for the rest of the world too?
Blair C. Henry JD, Executive Director
Join the Mailing List
See the FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers)