Teaching Kids the Preamble to the Constitution

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Recently I spoke to my granddaughter’s kindergarten class. Her name is Liberty and yes, she was born on the 4th of July. Here she is standing next to me as I teach actions that help us remember the preamble to the Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.

What phrase are we on in this picture? It’s an idea worth contemplating. Read again the stated purposes of the constitution and think about what they mean:

  • In order to form a more perfect Union – Because we want a better country to live in (than what we had before):
  • establish Justice – We will do what is right and be fair to everyone.
  • insure domestic Tranquility – We will be sure there is peace in our land.

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  • GraciesDaddy

    Uh… Schoolhouse Rock did this 40 years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHp7sMqPL0g

    • reb andy

      I used the youtube schoolhouse rock to teach all my kids the preamble. i have the cutest video of my 4 year old saying it. There is also a great song for the Declaration of Independence : http://www.declarationsong.org/

      All my kids have memorized this as well.

      • I have the entire “Schoolhouse Rock” collection on DVD – from Grammar all the way to Election – and my two daughters often pop it in and play it set at “random”. My 7-1/2-year-old knows more multiplication than she has a right to, and was the only one in her entire class who could describe what a “Noun” was. They particularly like the Preamble…but like for me to sing it for them.

        • FreetheBirds

          I used “Schoolhouse Rock” to teach my 5th graders Social Studies and Grammar, predominantly. I used Grammar Rock at a school with 98% Hispanic students and they aced the state test.
          Unfortunately, the state I teach now teach in doesn’t test Science, Social Studies, or Language Arts in 5th grade, so the school doesn’t give me enough time to teach them, so I can’t show Schoolhouse Rock often enough for the kids to learn it.

  • Rick Brokaw

    In our school the students are required to memorize the Preamble. In fact, one of state legislatures was so impressed that our students are traveling to the state capital next week to recite it for the governor of Texas!

    • bilbos

      When i was in Jr. High there were many kids who could recite (word for word) the complete Declaration of Independence, The complete Constitution and all kids knew the Preamble. It was a must, the bare minimum. I am not sure about now!!!!! BRAVO!!!

  • Fred_K

    The government being responsible for the wellbeing of the people does not include making them dependent on the government. It means that it encourages them to be self sufficient, and gives them the freedom to do so in a fair and just manner. It also means that it takes down barriers that would impede their ability to be productive, and does not favor one group, or person over another.

  • John P

    Well, let me 1st qualify that I am a gun owner. I regard myself as a moderate but my voting record probably leans slightly to the right. I am struck by the amount of misinformation that comes into my computer with alarming regularity. Even in this thread I see “Obama says ban guns” which is, of course, a half truth (or if you prefer an exaggeration). I certainly don’t agree with everything he’s said or done but, I mean fair is fair, he’s saying ban assault rifles (which I do agree with). To confuse this with the collective “guns” seems, @ least to me, as deceptive. So much of what I see falls short of even the most casual “fact check”. It makes me wonder, if an author has to resort to half truths or out & out lies to defend their position, how strong or even correct can their position be? Surely, this has to occur to them, or is there another agenda @ play here? Hmmm.

    • Concerned Citizen

      I completely agree that so much of the information out there is at least partial, if not complete fiction used to sway the opinion of those of us out there that do not care to, or do not know how to check facts. I have been that person up to now, but honestly I am doing all that I can to change that because what I see out there is scary! I would just ask you to look at the actual FBI website and research the violence reports and statistics that they report. You will see that VERY few actual deaths or injuries occur from the very weapons they are trying to take from us. More injuries and deaths are committed by other objects and hand guns than assault weapons. If the government is allowed to take these from us, the way our legal system works, it will only be a matter of time before they make the restrictions tighter and tighter until they have a completely unarmed population that they can tell and do what ever they want to with… Look back at history and see… Our government doesn’t need to be stronger and in more control…our people need to learn to manage themselves better!

      • John P

        Similarly, I agree with much of what you say & the points you’ve made. I guess, right or wrong, I have more trust In our government & in the power of the vote. The NRA has both instilled a deep mistrust in the former & dangerously influenced the latter. My distrust is centered with institutions like the NRA & commentators like Limbaugh & Huckabee who spread hate & discontent for profit. Please don’t mistake this with the need for sound investigative reporting & the responsibility of the media to keep those who govern us accountable. I just demand factual reporting, sans the sarcasm, innuendo & misinformation, designed to make your blood boil & increase their ratings & profits.As you pointed out & FBI statistics confirm, if someone is intent on hurting others, there is no shortages of tools @ hand. The main difference In these & assault type weapons is, many have other practical uses,while the AK47’s et al have but one. Eliminating there availability would hurt no one beyond the profiteers. & finally,while statistically the mortality rate is low (currently), In a single moment their capacity to kill greatly exceeds other weapons. There is just not a plausible argument (personal opinion) to allow free availability to these types of weaponry. Your closing statement, once again, brings us to common ground. The exceptions, of course are the mentally deranged & those who would prey on the rest of us. Which is why my 9 rests comfortable in my night stand.

        • Tom

          If you examine carefully what different media sources state you will find that much of the liberal media puts a “spin” on almost everything they report. Rush Limbaugh openly tells you that he is a conservative commentator and coming from that point of view. The fact is that almost everything reported in all forms of media today have “spin” to them and 90% of it is from the left with probably less than 10% of it from the right. If facts were known by all Americans, there is no way an open believer in socialism would currently reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Too many uninformed voters leads us on the path we’re on. And, quite frankly, due to the same media we get less than ideal candidates on the GOP side, as well. Mitt Romney was a horrible option (better than Obama), but still horrible. We will probably never have another great president like Reagan. America will suffer because of this fact.

          • John P

            Sadly, you’re correct regarding both left & right leaning media sources. I balance what I hear via several fact check sites. I’ve found them to be straight forward & dependable. I question your percentages re “spin” influence but then I live in a hard “red” state with a lot of Tea Party presence, which may account for my perspective. I mostly agree with your assessment of Reagan. I voted for him twice & admired him greatly (still do). Didn’t care for his “trickle down” economics (it didn’t) but, hey, nobodies perfect. Clinton, while having the morals of an alley cat, was also a great president. His economic policies enabled me to put together a nice nest egg. When George W. started subtracting from that, I dropped out & retired early. My logic being if it was going to be used up, I’d be the one using it up. So many of my friends hung on, only to see their personal wealth sacked & dreams of retirement put off indefinitely. Regarding your thoughts on Socialism, I guess I fall in the “uninformed” ranks. My logic being, if it was the government’s desire to socialize this country, GM, Dodge, every large banking institution & insurance conglomerate who had their bacon pulled out of the fire would still be owned by Uncle. But no, they were allowed to pay back the bailout with interest & continue operation without further government influence. The economic crisis & policies that created it, I’m afraid, have jaded me against the GOP, @ least in its present form. It’s my belief that rhetoric aside, they side with & favor the super wealthy to the detriment of this country as a whole. Btw, I want to thank you for this open, civil & respectful exchange of perspectives. I’ve had others that because my position differed from theirs, I was exposed to insults, profanity & implied threats. We may not solve this countries problems, but exchanges like this, I feel are health & productive. How are we to come together if we don’t know where each of us is coming from? . . . .

        • Michael Stamm

          John P said ” The main difference In these & assault type weapons is, many have other practical uses,while the AK47’s et al have but one.”

          Many would not agree with this “opinion” as they can enjoy target practice, plinking competition and even hunting to provide food for their family with this and other so called “assault weapons”.

          Who is to say that it’s government that makes the decision about which form of firearm you can own for recreation, hunting or self defense? Especially as it’s been pointed out, that these are not the cause of most accidental deaths.

          Why isn’t anybody trying to outlaw/ban/restrict any of the other causes of accidental deaths on the list? Especially those that outnumber firearms, Hmm

  • DON WAGNER

    Early Americans would never have assigned great importance to the short introduction as the preamble, when we have The Declaration first declaring us a nation. The DoI is more important to the security of America than the Constitution which is ignored and circumvented 75% of the time.

    To My Fellow American Patriots:

    Are you sure the history being taught to your children is accurate?

    Read and re-read the Declaration of Independence for yourself and your children.

    The Principles of U.S. Government are defined by our Declaration and limited only by the Constitution for a time.

    As we continue to hear men who dream of and pontificate about world order and government, remember this.

    All Members of the Congress, Judicial Courts and Executive Branch of U.S. government are required under a solemn oath to their Creator and all Americans, ‘To Assert, Enjoin and Defend’ the ‘Unalienable Rights’ of the legal citizens of the United States of America, the rights endowed by our Creator.

    Elected Officials and Employees are
    not empowered or permitted to set aside the principles, rights or laws to make Americans subservient to corporations, organizations or governments anywhere on or off of this earth.

    There is no position allowed that supercedes the relationship between Americans and their Creator – not even our beloved Constitution. Government is only temporarily assigned the rights and powers of Americans to protect these rights and to provide for the general good of the people. Americans do not have the right to enslave fellow Americans or other peoples anywhere in the world. Government and politicians that conspire and endeavor to do so have failed to perform their sacred duties. To do so is to commit an impeachable or treasonable offense.

    [ D.K. Wagner, 2011.10.19WE
    ]

  • LetzBReal

    Better to teach the Declaration of Independence first and then the pre-amble to
    the Constitution! The Declaration declares that our rights come from God! There
    can be no doubt, that God they were referring to, was the God of the Bible, the
    Christian God, the man Christ Jesus! The Constitution didn’t come along until 10
    years later. It can in no way be interpreted as nullifying the intent of the
    Declaration! Like the body without the spirit is dead, so is
    the Constitution without the spirit of the Declaration!

  • The preamble to the constitution is one of the most important foundations of what this country is all about, and it is an important part of school curriculum.