America’s Constitutional Tradition

The US Constitution is an exceptional document in its unparalleled creation of a federal constitutional republic that limits governmental power in secures the God given rights of individuals. However, it was not written spontaneously. It was the fruit of nearly 300 years of reform thinking. It is an achievement that was centuries in the making and is nothing less than a history of God’s hand of providence. Nearly 1000 years ago, in the year 1075, Pope Gregory the seventh declared the Roman Catholic Church free from the rule of Emperor Henry the fourth. This begin what is known as the paper revolution. In it granted the Catholic clergy legal supremacy over secular authorities. In turn, this enacted two main legal jurisdictions in Europe, the Roman Catholic Church, and yielded a spiritual sword across Europe in juxtaposition to the temporal sword held by Europe’s emperor, the Catholic Church consequently developed a canon law system which controlled broad areas of life that many today consider secular and clean marriage, education and the poor. However, tensions arose in the centuries that followed in competent priest abuse parishioners. While secular leaders grew tired of paying taxes to the Catholic Church, concerns continue to mount as a Catholic, church, doctrines begin to deviate further from scripture. In 1517, the priest Martin Luther, spark the flame, which became the Protestant Reformation, when he declared that the Catholic Church had overstepped his biblical authority along with a host of doctrinal errors. Luther’s reformation of catholicism led them to replace the two source three with a two kingdoms framework. 

The church became the heavenly kingdom. And the earthly kingdom was to be governed by the law of Christian princes. Under Protestantism, the church itself no longer governed with courts and legislatures as it had done under Catholicism. The prints and formed an unstructured by the Scripture via the church, was to be God’s instrument for governing society according to God’s laws. Protestantism begin to reform the people in church of England at the seeds of American constitutionalism, began to be planted. In the centuries that followed, America’s constitutional tradition was formed as Englishman continue to achieve greater and greater liberty from the King and Catholicism. Throughout this history, certain principles were increasingly realize that defined this tradition. First, power was shifted from the monarch to the legislature. 

Second, the monarch became limited constitutionally. Third, the individuals God given rights to life, liberty and property was recognized forth. The main purpose of the state was to secure those rights. Ultimately, Little by little, authority was rarely seen as coming down from God to the individual who then grants a portion of that authority to Seoul government. The power of the state was limited to constitutionally in civil government was given the task of securing the God given rights of those individuals. This trend is paramount. These principles are clearly demonstrated in the primary documents that form the history of English freedom. 

They testify to a faithfulness to Christ and to biblical principles. The Magna Carta of 1215 is highly significant because it puts limitations of the King’s power in the spirit of Deuteronomy 17. In order to finance as water reclaim lands and Burgundy, King John the third attempted to taxes burns. The Barents resisted King John’s arbitrary rule to feeding him at the Battle of running Mead and forced him to sign Magna Carta. Thus, the law was made above the king, and consequently the rule of law replaced arbitrary rule. It’s secured the historic rights, the nobles and made the king a first among equals. In addition to the rule of law, Magna Carta is the source of bedrock principles in American jurisprudence, such as due process, trial by jury and habeas corpus. 

The Magna Carta also declared the church to be free. Thus, the church wasn’t able to continue to influence the state and ensure that it remained upon the bedrock of biblical principles. What are fine for this appeal to their constitutional rights is Englishman, when declaring their independence, they had in mind the liberty inequality found in the Magna Carta, as well as the first charter, Virginia, 1605. Virginia as name in this charter refers to all lands claimed by England in North America at the time. It clearly displays a Biblical purpose for seven, the new world. Paragraph three of the document even states that they were attending to the glory of his divine majesty in propagating the Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness. 

Paragraph 15 in the charter guarantee that the colonists and the children of the colonists would enjoy all the rights of Englishman. It was these rays that the American find father sought to preserve and the War for Independence. As mentioned in the previous presentation, the Mayflower Compact of 1620 represents the application of Puritan, specifically separatists theology of covenant to the affairs of civil government. Originally, the passengers on the Mayflower only granted authority to settle in the northern most parts of Virginia. However, when the ship arrived off the coast of New England, they needed to craft a new governance system to avoid sedition and mutiny. Because the pilgrims had a history of forming covenants, there are providentially prepare to exercise authority and power given to them by God. Thus, the companies together to form a civil body politic by crafting and signing the Mayflower Compact. The document says three reasons for the endeavor. 

One for the glory of God, to for the advancement the Christian faith, and three, for the honor of King and Country. The plume of code of law 16 36 is a candidate for being the first true written constitution in the modern world, being much more than a written code of law. It established a parliamentary system based on local self-government. Moreover, is an early example of federalism. Each town and Plymouth colony elected representatives to the colonial government, which pass laws for the entire Commonwealth. That is a federal republic. The English Petition of Right of 628 may be considered a strong restatement of Magna Carta. When the House of Commons delivered it to King Charles, he angrily dismiss Parliament, which in turn triggered a mass exodus of Puritans in New England and eventually the English Civil War. In actuality, the petition acknowledges new rates for Magna Carta in reiterate the necessity of parliamentary consent of taxation. 

In rejected course of loans. It oppose arbitrary arrest and imprisonment while strengthening habeas corpus and due process. Finally, it denounced the forced housing of troops and the imposition of martial law in American colonists would remind the king of these rights over a century later. The fundamental orders of Connecticut of 1639 stand as the first true archetype of the US Constitution. This is because three already existing tenants united together to form the colony of Connecticut. The preamble, this constitution reveals how Christ centric and Biblically based the document is. It says that we’re a people are gathered together. The Word of God requires that to maintain the peace and une of such a people, there should be an orderly and decent government established according to God. The preamble states that its purpose is to maintain and preserve the liberty impurity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus, as also the disciplines of the churches. 

Thus, it recognizes the church as a separate and distinct jurisdiction. The Massachusetts Body of Liberties of 1641 is said to be the first modern Bill of Rights. In it, we find the idea that the fundamental law of the land should also be embodied in a written instruments. What’s the people who have a sensitive? Also, the law should constitute a limitation upon the powers and discretion of the administrators and judges. The English Bill of Rights of 1689 came about falling England’s Glorious Revolution of 1688, that overthrew the Catholic king James the Second, and welcomed women marry, who were prostitutes to the throne. It confirms basic human rights and officially end of the divine right of kings in England. In the mid to late 18th century, parliament and the king began infringing on these rights in a number of ways, including excessive taxes without the consent of the colonies, dissolving colonial governing bodies and quartering large bodies of armed troops among the colonists. In the declaration resolves the First Continental Congress of 1689. The colonists appeal to their constitutional rights as English subjects, namely life, liberty, and property. And they declared parliament to be tyrannical. Virginia crafted its own constitution of Virginia in 1776, which precede the US Constitution in a number of ways, including the establishment of three branches of government. Its side, the law of nature as the basis for individual rights to query the taxes could only be levied by the legislature, argued for the right of trial by jury, and condemned the maintenance sustain armies without the consent of the people. It is the first constitution to include a right of free press. And it was one of the most important foreigners to the first 10 amendments of the US Constitution. 

The value and importance of the Declaration of Independence, 1776 can hardly be overstated. It is a document by which the United States of America was birth to querying herself a sovereign and independent nation from British rule. Though it may indeed be seen to have the influence of enlightenment philosophy and can thus be called a product of Christian rationalism. Biblical foundation upon which it is based is unmistakable in the very first sentence and state’s powers which the colonies assumed in dissolving their allegiance to Britain were entitled to them by the laws of nature and of nature’s God. This statement is a clear reference to its use by Sir William Blackstone, the famous commentator of English common law. 

Blackstone held that all human legislation must conform to God’s supreme law as revealed in Scripture, which he called the laws of nature and nature’s God. Thus, without conforming to Scripture, no human law could be held as valid. Therefore, the signers of the Declaration of Independence essentially stated that they look to the Word of God to find the liberty of self-government upon which the new nation was founded. The Declaration of Independence recognized that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. The founders knew that equality under the law was totally dependent on the realization that supreme creator had created all humans to be of equal worth without recognizing God’s divine image on humanity, there is no concrete basis for any consistent understanding of human rights. But the founding fathers as a whole were brilliant legal theorists who understood the necessity of routing legal equality and the foundation of a creator God. It would take nearly 100 years for this understanding of equality under the law to be realized for the slave population in America. No human government has ever been or ever will be perfect in the history of slavery in America is a tragedy beyond description. Yet we can be glad that the United States abolished slavery by finally recognizing the very quality that has always been described in her find documents. Today, the struggle for equality under the law is not over in America, especially for pre-war babies. In an era where over 1 million unwanted babies are born every year.

 There is a great need to once again remember that all men are created equal, no matter their gender, race, age, or physical limitations. All human life is sacred and worthy of protection under the law. In the declaration, the founders clearly made the case that the authority came down from God to the individual, who then granted a portion of that authority to civil government. In this case, a new government was formed. We see the founders recognize own, any form of government becomes destructive to human liberty. Instead of securing it, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. The reason why the Declaration of Independence list the long train of abuses of the King of England is because the colonists were providing evidence that he’d broken the civil social covenant. That is, he had affected a material breach of that covenant. 

Thus, the colonists were compelled to form a new covenant as United States of America. Clearly the founders were establishing a government based on biblical principles of covenant and jurisdiction. In the last paragraph, after listening oppressions the English king, the document states that the founders were Appealing to the supreme judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions. How does such a statement square with the theory of many modern scholars who seek to rewrite history by saying that the prevailing philosophy, the founders was deism. A final point on the biblical foundation of the declaration of independence can be seen in the very last sentence where the founders expressed what they call a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence. 

Again, upon looking at the great texts, the declaration, can it really be said that the founders helped to a philosophy of deism, which posits that God has no interaction with his creation. Instead, the statement shows that the founders trusted God for the success of the new country. They knew that their endeavor needed the help of a sovereign and providential God who would act on their behalf. In short, the very document that founded the United States of America, appeals to God for his protection. In that documents final sentence before each man sign his name, There’s no doubt that God’s hand of providence has secure the blessings of liberty to America. In for the presentations, we will discuss how we may continue to rely on God’s providence for the good of the nation.