Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC): Last night we had the opportunity to continue discussing the US Constitution from the House floor. Below is an excerpt from that speech.
As a new Congressman in January, I was never prouder than to take part in reading the United States Constitution from this floor. That day, I brought with me to this podium a copy that document that I carry in my pocket each day.
In his farewell address to the American people in January 1989, President Reagan said, “Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words, “We the people.”
We tell the government what to do, President Reagan stated, it doesn’t tell us. A simple phrase “We the People…” put down by our Founding Fathers who defined self government.
I think daily about that government they formed – a limited government, one with powers for each branch that are spelled out, defined. We are a long way from the limited and enumerated powers they strived to corral.
I am concerned that we don’t read and study the Constitution in the public schools like we used to. I am worried that “We the People” don’t know or remember why our Founding Fathers divided the power into three separate branches of government….why they defined the powers of each and why they were inclined to spell out our liberties in a Bill of Rights.
I ask folks all of the time in my beloved Palmetto State and around the country; “What are your 1st Amendment Rights?”. They mostly answer “Freedom of Speech.”
But let me remind you here today that the first thing our Founding Fathers addressed was your Freedom of Religion. – in fact the first sentence in the First Amendment to the US Constitution states:
Congress Shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
……before they addressed our freedom of speech or of the press or the rights to peacefully assemble or petition the government for redress of grievances.