What does "promote the general welfare" as proposed in the preamble really mean (in laments terms)?

These civics things are terrible. I can't seem to find anything that really helps me fully comprehend what this is stating. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The liberals try to warp the meaning of the "general welfare" while ignoring the interpretation of that phrase as clearly explained by James Madison (the father of the constitution)

    James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, elaborated upon this limitation in a letter to James Robertson:

    With respect to the two words "general welfare," I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. If the words obtained so readily a place in the "Articles of Confederation," and received so little notice in their admission into the present Constitution, and retained for so long a time a silent place in both, the fairest explanation is, that the words, in the alternative of meaning nothing or meaning everything, had the former meaning taken for granted

    "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."

    --Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Albert Gallatin, 1817

    I guess your liberal constitution teacher conveniently forgot to mention that just as you I am sure do not mention that to your students.

    If you pay attention to the words of ALL of the founding fathers, it was their intentions to allow us to own and have guns, and the main reason they cited was to keep politicians scared of revolt. Not just to hunt or anything like that.

    The Constitution is not a obsticle to our freedoms, it is a guarantee, and we have the right to Private property, which you are trying to steal, and there is not right to health care, which you are trying to distort.

    "Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."

    --James Madison

    "When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."

    -- Benjamin Franklin

    That the principle and construction contended for by sundry of the state legislatures, that the general government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of despotism; since the discretion of those who administer the government, and not the constitution, would be the measure of their powers:

    That the several states who formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that a nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts done under colour of that instrument, is the rightful remedy.

    -- Thomas Jefferson, 1799

    I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.' To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power not longer susceptible of any definition."

    -- Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, February 15, 1791

  • 1 decade ago

    Promote the general welfare...

    First look at the word promote, which means to help bring about. The common mistake is people take the word promote and directly translate it to provide (the founding fathers were wanting to avoid an all powerful and controlling federal government...that is why we broke apart from England in the first place, therefor they were very careful not to mince words in that statement). The statement means that the government should not over regulate the states or the people, they should encourage free trade between the states (that is how we have a federally provided interstate freeway system for example), the federal government should provide security for the nation because the states alone can not fulfill this duty (armed forces), and so on and so forth. The statement "promoting the general welfare" is only one of the places where the constitution works to limit the role of the federal government. If you look at it alone, it means the federal government is not to directly provide a welfare state...that is the big debate going on right now. To me there is no debate. Some regulations on health care providers should be lifted, and some others imposed...(now I am rambling) we should start by putting a reasonable limits on what people can bring to court, it is the lawyers (leaches on society) that are bankrupting our nation. Ever heard of the old lady that spilled hot coffee on her at McDonnald's? That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the kind of lawsuits the ambulance chasers put in front of the courts. The insurance that the doctors and hospitals have to keep because of all the nut jobs looking for free money by taking them to court is one of the biggest costs in our broken healthcare system. We should fix it before we just throw up our hands and give the federal government the role of welfare provider. Once the federal government runs health care, it is all over for our individual liberty. And without liberty, we can not have a very good general welfare...I'll have to pull the plug on myself here...

  • falls
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Another Word For General Welfare

  • 1 decade ago

    The preamble lays out why the government is being [re-]organized. This is what preamble to any document means. Sample inclusions might be a purpose statement, and/or list of problems which the document is intended to solve.

    See the Declaration of Independence for another example of a preamble.

    imo, the preamble does not confer on the government any powers whatever -- all the powers the government has are specifically listed in the body of the Constitution and the Amendments.

    Source(s): James Madison, writing in the Federalist papers, said that the Founders also saw the government has having limited powers and that the "general welfare" clause in the preamble was subservient to the enumerated powers and the 10th Amendment's reservation of all other powers to the States and the People. [Madison was the principle author of the Constitution and had served a similar function earlier for the State of Virginia.]
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Promote the general welfare means that the government won't do anything to keep it's people from surviving....examples they have to help people in a natural disaster or outbreak of a epidemic

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago


    The General



    Make America the symbol of true freedom...




    Source(s): -Many-
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