America’s Founding Documents
We the people are the creators of our government and employers of our public servants.
In 1776, after many years dealing with English tyranny and getting no satisfactory relief, we the people declared our sovereignty with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. After many tough battles, we won the Revolutionary War in 1781 and created a union of sovereign states with the Articles of Confederation. Contrary to popular belief, the Articles of Confederation are still valid today. On the world stage, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the United States of America (USA) was now recognized as a new, sovereign nation.
To recap, in 1783 we have 1) a sovereign people, 2) 13 sovereign states and 3) a sovereign nation, all recognized internationally.
In 1787, to establish the guidelines for further territorial expansion, the Northwest Ordinance was signed which guaranteed sovereignty to all new states admitted to the union. After the Daniel Shay Rebellion, some felt a stronger federal government was needed to protect the USA from foreign and domestic invaders, and thus a great debate ensued. This is all recorded in The Federalist Papers from Oct 1787 to May 1788, which is a great expository of our current Constitution. In September 1787, The Constitution is signed, but is not finally ratified by the required number of sovereign states until 1791. The Constitution establishes three federal branches of government, congressional rules and procedures as well as granting 18 enumerated powers to a new entity called the United States (US). The Bill of Rights eventually follows.
“… we have a Republic Ma’am, if we can keep it.” – Benjamin Franklin’s response just after the Constitution was signed in 1787
What is not common knowledge is that the USA is quite different from the US. The USA is our republic, a united group of sovereign nation states kept in check by the sovereign body politic of “We the People”. The US is the Federal Government, with strict enumerated powers granted by the sovereign states.
“…sovereignty itself, remains with the people, by whom and for whom all government exists and acts.” – Justice Matthews, Wo vs. Hopkins, 1886