" The longer I live, the more I am impressed by the significance
of our simple official oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. Perhaps
it takes a lifetime of experience to understand how much the Constitution
means to our national life.
You can read about the Constitution and you can study
it in books, but the Constitution is not merely a matter of words. The
Constitution is a living force--it is a growing thing.
The Constitution belongs to no one group of people and
to no single branch of the Government. We acknowledge our judges as
the interpreters of the Constitution, but our executive branch and our
legislative branch alike operate within its framework and must apply
it and its principles in all they do.
The Constitution expresses an idea that belongs to the
people--the idea of the free man. What this idea means may vary from
time to time. There was a time when people believed that the Constitution
meant that men could not be prevented from exploiting child labor or
paying sweatshop wages.
We no longer believe these things. We have discovered
that the Constitution does not prevent us from correcting social injustice,
or advancing the general welfare. The idea of freedom which is embodied
in these great documents has overcome all attempts to turn them into
a rigid set of rules to suppress freedom.
As we look toward the future, we must be sure that what
we honor and venerate in these documents is not their words alone, but
the ideas of liberty which they express. .
... The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence
can live only as long as they are enshrined in our hearts and minds.
If they are not so enshrined, they would be no better than mummies in
their glass cases and they could, in time, become idols whose worship
would be a grim mockery of the true faith. Only as these documents are
reflected in the thoughts and acts of Americans, can they remain symbols
of power that can move the world. That power, is our faith in human
liberty. . ." Public
Papers of President Harry S Truman
How are President Truman's remarks still relevant
today? Does American government honor the Constitution and Bill of Rights?
Support your answers with examples from events in the past five years.
President Harry S. Truman