The phrase "do ordain and establish this Constitution" in the preamble to the United States Constitution is an expression of popular sovereignty. Political authority in the United States is derived from the people rather than from God or any other source. The government can only govern so long as it reflects the will of the people and has their consent to do so.
Popular sovereignty is first expressed in the Declaration of Independence as the principle that governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed." A government that does not respect the will of the people it governs loses its legitimacy and may be justifiably replaced. In the Declaration, the colonists expressed their belief that the British had violated their rights and ignored their wishes.
The Constitution codifies this principle into law. The authority of the federal government is explicitly derived from the consent of the people themselves as expressed through their participation in the political process. Popular sovereignty does not have to involve direct democracy, but the people must have the opportunity to elect their representatives. When the Constitution was ratified as the supreme law of the land, this was the first and most important instance of popular sovereignty in the United States.Learn More
Article 1, Section 8, clause 18 of the United States Constitution gives Congress power to make any laws considered "necessary and proper" for the nation. According to Wikipedia, this clause, often called the "Necessary and Proper" or the "Elastic" clause, is sometimes accused of giving too much power to Congress.Full Answer >
A preamble is a statement at the beginning of a legal document giving the reasoning for the parts that follow. The U.S. Constitution is a legal document, and its Preamble is the introduction outlining the framers' general goals of the Constitution, according to the National Constitution Center.Full Answer >
Cornell University Law School defines the Preamble of the United States Constitution as a brief summary of the important principles contained within the Constitution itself. Because the Preamble is so succinct, it is often referenced in court and popular culture.Full Answer >
The United States Constitution may be amended either by a two-thirds vote by the House of Representatives and the Senate followed by subsequent state level ratification or by a Convention called for by two-thirds of state legislatures and subsequent state level ratification. To date, only the former method has been implemented.Full Answer >