The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution 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.”

Note: Written by Gouverneur Morris of New York, the Preamble is the introduction to the Constitution. It explains the general purposes or goals of the government which it creates and declares that the Constitution is designed to secure those rights proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. Its opening words, “We the People”, clearly establish the principle of “popular sovereignty.” In other words, the people are the source of the Constitution and the power of the government.

Note: The original draft of the Preamble considered at the 1787 Constitutional Convention was very different from the version finally adopted. If it had been adopted, the Preamble would have read: “We the people of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, etc. …” It would thus have been very lengthy since the name of every state in the Union would have been included, and it would not have included the goals found in the version of the Preamble finally adopted by the convention.