We The People…

Mike Chu, Editor in Chief

“We the people…” These three words define the value that lies at the heart of the United States Constitution. These three words stood as the foundation for the nation’s birth on the eve of that fateful year of 1776, and continue to stand even to this day. Those three words define what it means to be an American and they define democracy itself. As such, those three words can be found at the heart of many other nations that were inspired by the statues of freedom, justice, and equality laid out in the United States constitution.

One of the countries that based their government off the U.S. was France. The similarities between the two constitutions are undeniable. For example, the phrase “The principle of the Republic shall be: government of the people, by the people and for the people.” is contained in Title 1 Article 2 of the French constitution. This shows that the French government exists for the people and the power comes from the citizens. Similarly the U.S. constitution states “We the people…” This phrase from the preamble of the constitution proclaims the people’s sovereignty over the government. Another phrase in the French constitution further emphasizes the supremacy of the people within the government. “National sovereignty shall vest in the people” This statement is contained in Title 1 Article 3 of the French constitution. The Students of Liberty explains the historical background for this contribution,“The U.S. Constitution is thought to have contributed to the 1789 French Revolution. Indeed, America’s model of constitutionalism inspired the establishment of a constitutional government in France in 1791 – the National Assembly. France also followed in America’s footsteps framing a constitution in 1787.”

America’s influence was not limited to Europe only. The Japanese preamble of their constitution states, “We, the Japanese people, acting through our duly elected representatives in the National Diet, determined that we shall secure for ourselves and our posterity the fruits of peaceful cooperation with all nations and the blessings of liberty throughout this land, and resolved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government, do proclaim that sovereign power resides with the people and do firmly establish this Constitution.” This translated preamble of the Japanese constitution clearly bears a striking resemblance to the Preamble of U.S. constitution which states, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Japan is not the only country in the East that was influenced by the U.S. constitution. For example, in Chapter 1 Article 1 of the Korean constitution it states, “The sovereignty of the Republic of Korea shall reside in the people, and all state authority shall emanate from the people.” Again, the value of citizen sovereignty is clearly shown in a section of a foreign constitution.

This shows that the United States constitution is not only appreciated by its people, but its proficiency, and prominence is acknowledged and revered  by foreign nations as well.