Challenges to America’s Principles Challenges to constitutional government are frequent and to be expected in a popular government based on consent. In his Farewell Address, George Washington advised his countrymen that when it came to the preservation of the Constitution they should “resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles however specious the pretexts.” The Constitution has proven sturdy against narrow interest groups that seek to change elements of the Constitution merely to get their way. At the same time, it is important to note that by design there is room in the Constitution for significant change and reform. Indeed, great reforms—like abolition, women’s suffrage, anti-Communism, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Pro-Life Movement—have often come forward that improve our dedication to the principles of the Declaration of Independence under the Constitution. More problematic have been movements that reject the fundamental truths of the Declaration of Independence and seek to destroy our constitutional order. The arguments, tactics, and names of these movements have changed, and the magnitude of the challenge has varied, yet they are all united by adherence to the same falsehood—that people do not have equal worth and equal rights. At the infancy of our Republic, the threat was a despotic king who violated the people’s rights and overthrew the colonists’ longstanding tradition of self government. After decades of struggle, the colonists succeeded in establishing a more perfect Union founded not upon the capricious whims of a tyrant, but republican laws and institutions founded upon self evident and eternal truths. It is the sacred duty of every generation of American patriots to defend this priceless inheritance.
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