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Excerpt from Constitution preamble
Date Issued: 1987-08-28
Postage Value: 22 cents

Commemorative issue
Constitution bicentennial
Excerpt from Constitution preamble

This stamp design is one of the four in the booklet pane providing an excerpt from the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitution of the United States contains the nation's fundamental law, provides framework for its governance, and sets down principles under which it must operate. Chief Justice John Marshall said in the early 19th century, the Constitution was "intended to endure for ages to come, and, consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs. To have prescribed the means by which government should, in all future times, execute its powers, would have been to change entirely, the character of the instrument, and give it the properties of a legal code."

James Madison discussed the political philosophy of the Constitution in The Federalist: "It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices (checks and balances) should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence upon the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions."

Topic: Eagle (72)  

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