Winner of the Charlotte Mousel Scholarship: What the U.S. Constitution Means to Me

Editor’s Note: Ms. Wood is the winner of  the essay contest for the Charlotte Mousel Scholarship.  She was recognized for her well crafted work by the Thousand Oaks Republican Women.  A senior in high school Ms. Wood is truly a credit to her community.  She has graciously agreed to share with our readers.

By Arianna Michelle Wood


Arianna Michelle Wood

Each of us must decide which path to take in life. So, too, must a country decide its direction. The opening words of our U.S. Constitution are as important to remember today as at any other time in history: “We the people.” Our Founders did not write, “We the Government” because government means others deciding for the people what is best, which is the very tyranny that those new Americans fought to overcome at great sacrifice and risk of death. To me, the Constitution is the guide map for America’s daily life and future. In the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees us fundamental rights—to be able to freely speak, practice our religion, peacefully assemble, petition the government, have a free press—which allow us to live in harmony with each other. We are a nation of different peoples stitched together like a quilt, and it is through our patriotism and bond as Americans, and our fundamental belief in our Constitution, that the edges of these separate pieces fade to create one nation.

America is unique in that for the first time in the history of the planet, a new nation was being founded based upon principles of fairness and freedom, and a document was being written—a contract with the new American people—about the liberties that this young country was ensuring in perpetuity. There was much debate at the Constitutional Convention about how to balance power between the federal government and the states, and between Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court. I have a pocket version of the Constitution that my grandparents bought me when we visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. While some laws that Congress has written have to be carried in boxes, heavily weighing down the arms carrying them, the U.S. Constitution itself is as light as its principles are weighty. There are no extra words or caveats or footnotes to obfuscate or obscure its simple truths. Our Constitution is our “User’s Guide” for what it means to be an American. I believe as our Founders did, that each of us is perfectly capable of making our own decisions and that America is a country of self-reliance. The Constitution guides us as we create our own paths to pursue our rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, which were earlier documented in our Declaration of Independence. We are an optimistic people who work hard, support our communities, and expect better days on the horizon for ourselves and for our children. America is a country of strength; since our beginning almost 240 years ago, there have been many times that America has fought for freedom for ourselves and countless others around the world. This is who we are.

If we forget our Constitution, if we forget who we are and what we stand for as Americans, we will no longer be America. Our Founders cautioned us against this possibility because within any group of people, there will always be those who seek to seize power and dictate how others should live their lives. After the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin told us we had a Republic, if we could keep it. We will keep it, if—and only if—we act upon President Ronald Reagan’s words: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Our Founders did not leave it to chance for people to remember what America was supposed to be, the very reasons that the American Revolution was fought; our Constitution was solidified in writing so that everyone could read it down through the ages. Making sure that this and future generations learn about the Constitution, and the freedoms it guarantees, is perhaps the most important personal goal each of us must have because America’s survival depends upon it.

We must not be complacent and think that our freedom will just take care of itself. Instead, we must make sure to educate each generation about our great American story, for it is the Constitution which will protect us from waking up one day in an empire and wondering where our republic had gone, as happened with the Romans; or perhaps waking up and not realizing what we had lost because we did not even realize what we had. Each time an individual freedom is taken away, each time government takes more power even in seemingly innocuous ways, it is like the drip-drip-drip of water eroding the solid bedrock of our Constitution. We have faced this kind of battle before, and we have been successful by reaffirming our American ideals which have triumphed throughout history—from standing against the tyranny of taxes at our Revolution; against the tyranny of slavery during the Civil War; and against the tyranny of Communism, which brought down the Berlin Wall. As President Thomas Jefferson said, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” We must never remain silent, but always speak clearly of our American principles and values embodied in our U.S. Constitution, truly the heart and life of America.

Get Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

*Scroll down to post a comment

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Phil chandler

wonderful sentiments!! Congratulations, Arianna!