chapter  Two
14 Pages

The Purposes of the Constitution

WithLester J. Mazor

The purposes of the Constitution of the United States of America are stated explicitly in its Preamble, implicitly in its particular provisions, and can also be derived from an analysis of the response it represented to the circumstances of its creation. The Constitution gave Congress the power to declare war, to raise armies, to maintain a navy. One of the main reasons for opposing the existence of the kind of standing armies that the Constitution permits was the awareness that armies may be justified on the grounds of external danger yet be used primarily to control the domestic population. The framers were divided on the merits of the democratic ideal, for the most part dubious of it if not entirely opposed, and in any case convinced that it could not be practiced on the national scale that they sought to create with the Constitution.