The Fourth Branch of Government: We The People


The forethought of our founding fathers was truly amazing, wasn’t it?  Consider just these words from the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States:

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.”

Now, I’m one of those people who didn’t have basic civics offered back when I was in high school.  My education of the political system in our country was sadly lacking for most of the years of my adult life.  I’m late getting into the swing of things regarding my responsibilities as a citizen of this nation, but I am loving every minute of learning about the legacy that has been granted to us all the same.

What’s more, there are things I didn’t learn in a basic civics class that don’t get in my way.  Like the “fact” that there are three branches of government.

The Legislative branch (Congress) generates laws.  The Judicial branch (courts such as the Supreme Court) determines the constitutionality of the laws generated by Congress and resolves disputes.  The Executive branch enforces the laws.

That’s what most sources state, isn’t it?  But the way I see it is that there is a fourth branch of government…We the People.  We play our part through who we elect into office in the other three branches of government.  We support the financial success of the other branches of government by our earnings (paid via taxes).  And, most importantly, we play a part in protecting and preserving this “more perfect union” that our founding fathers named The United States of America.

You see, our founding fathers had been exposed to their share of tyranny through their experiences with the King of England.  They weren’t naïve on any level about what can take place and what the outcome of it is likely to be when leaders of any type of government become tyrannical.  So they wrote their intentions, “to form a more perfect union”, right there in the first few words of the Constitution, just to make it plain from the get-go what they were striving to accomplish and achieve.

Who really carries the bulk of responsibility in ensuring that this “more perfect union” survives in the long run?  Is it the Legislative Branch?  Is it the Judicial Branch?  Is it the Executive Branch?  Given what our founding fathers had gone through, they knew there could come a time when any or all of these three branches could become corrupted by power and develop tyrannical behaviors.  They attempted to establish a system where a balance of power could be maintained by having three separate and distinct branches of government.  Yet even at that, they knew a day could come when their original vision of this “more perfect union” might be lost.

So they left the responsibility for protecting and preserving this “more perfect union” on the shoulders of the fourth branch of government…We the people.  It is our responsibility.  It is our challenge and our opportunity to prove that the faith our founding fathers had in us was justified.  It is our privilege, our honor and our duty to ensure that this “more perfect union” still stands.

What a truly amazing gift they gave to us!!  It’s so inspiring to know that these men we never met while they were alive had so much of confidence in us that we would ultimately do the right thing that they left the greatest of  joys to us…for the sake of a “more perfect union”.

It’s all right there to be claimed as our own.  So let’s get cracking and get ‘er done!!


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April 20, 2011 11:28 pm

well said!

April 20, 2011 11:49 pm

Yep! *applause*!

April 21, 2011 11:23 am

Some of the folks who, as you say, learned some of these things long ago, see their strength sapping a bit these days and are counting on folks like you to continue…….holding the line, Lineholder. 🙂