What does the term 'to promote the general welfare' mean to you in the preamble of the constitution of the US?

"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."

7 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I would have to say it means protecting people as a whole from things that interefere with their pursuit of life liberty and pursuit of happiness (such things that interfere with it could be theft by people, other nations via wars and espionage, corporate control of government that would make the people a servant of wealthy people, not a people under the rule of law. basically anything that interferes with the rights they were set up to protect. everything else is handled on the state level, I know people feel the fed trumps the states but that is a farce it si the oppisite, that is why when a federal area or city became a state they rejoiced. that meant more soverienty for themselves against the fed gov and no more fed taxes and fed regulation.

    that leaves out all the beauracies that have been set up, illegal immigration (which is theft of property via free everything that taxpayers pay for) corporations writting the legislation for the congress to pass, rather than the representatives doing the writting of. the lobbying, shouldnt it be one person per corporation, group or citizen groups etc?

    and shouldn't all lobbying be done under the public eye? after all the government belongs to the people and the people should be allowed to view it watch and survey it shouldn't they? after all teh government does that to us. why are we being watched by our employees?

    no the people in washington have forgotten the constitution and have no interest in promoting our general welfare only those who control the money and it's issueance, they have allowed the enemy in and now we have what you see. it is really sad because when you look at the constitution it is almost bible like in it's principles.



  • 1 decade ago

    The Constitution is the glue that binds us together. Some may not like the idea of promoting the General Welfare, but, It means a nation is only as strong as it's weakest links.

  • Joe S
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I hate to compete with Thomas' fine answer. I'll take a more contrary view though. To me, the term 'general welfare' is a socialistic statement. There is no such thing as GENERAL welfare. When we enjoy welfare, we each do so individually.

    I respect the Constitutionalists. They are good intentioned. However, I would like to suggest to them that even a Republic such as what the U.S. was at first will tend toward socialism (as it has) because it rests upon such notions as promoting the 'general welfare'.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is pretty loosely phrased, but it does not say 'enforce the general welfare', so universal healthcare is out.

    If federal government programs tend toward inefficiency and free-market solutions tend toward effeciency, then promoting the general welfare should mean promoting the proven superior model for all services except those outlined in the Constitution.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Originally it applied to the "General Welfare" of the states in the union, their defense, keep them bound together, not individual welfare as we have come to see it today - a mostly severe financial burden on the shoulders of working people, via the federal government. Most necessary welfare can be efficiently applied by state, according to that states constituents.

    Congress does not operate on a proper definition of welfare. To be in power you must be re-elected. To be re-elected you must out promise your opponent. To out promise your opponent you must promise to spend for the "General Welfare."

    And it goes on and on and on, forever, until one of three things happen:

    #1. We adopt good moral sense and courage and say no to the inordinate demands of our constituents and the special interest groups.

    * This will never happen. Congress prefers to possess the power to buy the allegiance of their constituents by providing for their "general welfare." It is a payoff from organized government and "we the people" have been led to believe someone else will pay for it down the line. i.e. our children.

    * Look at the behavior of the "new Congress". Farm district Representatives won't give back on subsidies. Inner city Representatives won’t give back on aid to teenage mothers. Defense industry Representatives won’t give back on defense spending. The cotton and tobacco representatives won’t give back on their subsidies. Good americans all. Some are signers of the contract for america. But they won't give back a dime. They love the power.

    * We need a Constitutional Amendment clearly defining just what they can tax and spend for. [Governments control people--constitutions control governments] and if we the people want them to keep all the power they now have, then so be it. we can join together, singing, "we don’t have to live in the future, our children do. We want ours and we want it now."

    #2. Our nation suffers an economic collapse and/or a total loss of freedom due to excessive taxation and national debt. This is why the balanced budget amendment is a danger. Congress will balance the budget on the backs of the american workers and entrepreneurs. Congress will not resist unlimited spending power. Why? Because it feels too good and they are spending other peoples money. Your money and my money. It’s painless when it’s not your money. And the nation as we know it today, will continue the ongoing surrender of individual and economic liberty to a form of government that can best be described as legislative despotism.

    #3. Our newly-elected Representatives propose a Constitutional Amendment to the Several States for their consideration, which shall state that:

    1. The phrase "the Common Defense and the General Welfare" in Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution are not grants of power but merely introductions to the enumerated powers concerning the common defense and the general welfare.

    2. That all powers seized and accrued to the federal government since the "revolution of 1937" be submitted to the several states as part of this amendment and they as a whole shall vote up and down as to whether or not these seized powers should be returned to their rightful owners, i.e. the states or the people, or be added to the enumerations presently extant in Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

    3. And that all future additions to those enumerated powers for taxing and spending found in Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution be done as the founding fathers provided, by Amendment to the Constitution.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It doesn't mean government-funded healthcare, that's 100% for certain.

  • 1 decade ago

    Thomas has nailed the answer----The constitution was and is for the States of the Union----but has been torn to shreds as time goes by.

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