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Why should I care?
Don't like something somone has to say? Got a problem with excluding religion from schools? Don't think people should have guns? Think it's OK for the police to search your car because you have nothing to hide? Want the government to keep kids off of drugs? Use this interactive Bill of Rights to explore the issues.
Wake up, America! Whether you believe it or not, your freedom is being stripped away, day by day.
"Our safety, our liberty depends on preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts--not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution."
-- Abraham Lincoln
Rarely have more powerful, moving, or truthful words been spoken. President Lincoln obviously had a clear understanding of the intent of the framers of the United States Constitution, but do you? We often speak of "the American dream," but what exactly is the American dream?
Unfortunately, for most people the term "American dream" means they have a house, a car, and two children. People of all nations have achieved such material success, so that notion of the dream isn't particularly American. Something that is particularly American is having a national Constitution that acknowledges that rights arenotsomething granted by a government.
Think about that for a moment. Your rights are not something the United States government supplies you with, nor can they be revoked! The preamble to the United States Declaration of Independence spells it out explicitly:
"WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness..."
It was a startling concept at the time the document was authored, and it still is. The founding fathers believed it was so fundamental they referred to it as a "truth" that is "self evident"--there is no need to explain further, because it is inherently true.
Not only are all men created equal, but they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Regardless of whether or not you believe you have a creator, the power of this message is evident: your rights are not supplied by a government, they are inherent within you from the moment you become a human being.
What, then, is government's job? That is explained plainly as well:
"...that to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed..."
Government's job is to secure your rights, and the power to do so is derived fromthe consent of the governed,the consent of you! History is replete with examples of one person or group of people trying to impose their will on another. In fact, that is the purpose of all laws and all wars, to force someone to do, think, say, or behave the way someone else wants them to. The official job of the United States of America is to make sure that nobody interferes with your rights in these ways! Isn't it ironic how twisted that mission has become in the centuries since this nation's founding? Do you feel that YOU provide the power that drives the federal government?
Obviously, unrestrained exercise of freedom would result in anarchy, so some laws are necessary. But the extent of the laws is purposely limited by the United States Constitution to prevent the inevitable abuse of power that comes with authority. The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution are referred to as the "Bill of Rights," and they are specifically intended to limit the ability of government to infringe upon your rights.
The United States Bill of Rights
You've probably lost count of the number of times you've heard someone say, "There ought to be a law against that!" Explore this interactive look at the Bill of Rights to learn why most of the time they're wrong!
Check back soon.