The Constitution can be Read by Anyone

Some would have you believe that the only people that can properly interpret the Constitution are people with advanced degrees. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is the Framers of the Constitution wrote it so that it could be read by anyone. Once the final draft, of the Constitution, was completed, it was sent to every State. From there it was published in newspapers, on flyers, and read in public forms. This was so the people could know and understand the new form of government that was being proposed.

US ConstitutionWhile many will contend that the Constitution was written at a level far above the average reading level of the 8th Grade we need to look at the time that the Constitution was written. At the time of the framing of the Constitution, the words used and the phrases were commonplace in everyday communication. The framers used these specific words and phrases so that each American could easily understand the powers of Government and the limits that were being placed upon that Government.

As the leading sentence in the preamble states, “We the People” proclaims this was a document for the people of the United States. This was not a tomb that could only be read and understood by lawyers and scholars. Instead, it is a document that is intended to be read and understood by ALL Americans. Unlike many of the bills introduced today, the COnstitution was kept simple. It was not overloaded with redundant phrases or meaningless passages. It was focused and deliberate in its verbiage. The framers communicated the intent of the COnstitution with minimal words.

The difference between control by the government or control by the people

What the framers understood was that when the people are not able to read and understand the articles of governance then they are able to be controlled by the government. Instead, they wanted a government that was controlled by the people. In order for this to be established then the people must be able to read and understand how that government is defined. This required that the Constitution be written in a manner that made it so that everyone could read it and understand it. Only then could the people hold their government accountable to the principles defining that government.

Constitutional Convention 1787Today, we see a government that desires to exceed the powers that it was granted. In order for them to do so, they have to convince the people that the articles defining that government are too complicated for them to understand. That is why you hear phrases like, “the Constitution is a living document that changes as the needs of the people changes.” or, “the constitution was written so that the meaning would change as the country changes.” or, “the COnstitution is a complex document that is complicated to interpret and understand.”. None of these are true. The Constitution is as easy to read today as it was in 1787. The meaning of its principles has not changed. The words mean the same as when the framers penned them to paper.

The true fact is that the Constitution can be read by ANYONE. This was the intent of the framers and that intent still holds true today.