THE GREATEST EXPERIMENT IN HISTORY

  
THE GREATEST EXPERIMENT IN HISTORY
Since the beginning of human civilization, cultures have experimented with ways to govern the
people. The vast majority of experiments have been failures because the architects of these
governments have always underestimated the natural human need for freedom.
For example, communism, monarchies, fascism, and military dictatorships all value control of
the people over freedom. History has been clear in showing us that control works well in the
beginning when coupled with fear. But, when courage replaces fear and the desire for freedom
overcomes the hope of “being taken care of” by a government, then revolution, civil war, and/or
foreign threats become imminent. Failure follows rapidly.
But, there was one experiment that began in the late 1700’s that focused on shifting power from
a central government to the citizens. A group of brilliant and courageous men developed the
divinely inspired idea that individual rights should be the bedrock of a successful government.
The idea was the creation of a Republic.
Unfortunately, many of these men are either forgotten about or criticized today. Too many
Americans do not know that our Founders faced death sentences based on treason, risked the
lives of their families, and risked the taking of their lands and possessions when they chose to
take up arms against the most powerful military in the world.
Further, many do not know why our Founders would risk everything in such a way.
The reason was freedom.
These men were not just theologians who casually discussed different forms of government at
the local tavern. They were colonists who were constantly abused by the British Empire and its
one leader who controlled everything; King George. These men and their families lived through
times that we cannot imagine today. Their daily lives were impacted by the following:
1. Severe punishment or death for criticizing the Empire;
2. Punishment for worshipping “incorrectly”;
3. Enduring searches of their homes based on nothing but the order of the King;
4. Seizures of whatever the King or his soldiers wanted in their homes;
4. Being forced to give shelter, food, and a bed to the same soldiers who carried out these
atrocities;
5. Being subject to arrest without proof of a crime;
6. Possessing little, if any, rights when accused of a crime;
7. Being subject to cruel punishment and death when found guilty; and
8. Living under the control of a strong central government with no regional control in the
colonies (later to be states). The Founders would later develop a system of empowering states
with the last of the Bill of Rights; the 10 th Amendment.
Additionally, the Founders and colonists living in America were being taxed by the Crown even
though the colonists did not have a representative or voice in the British government.
After rebelling against the British and winning independence, the Founders would argue amongst
themselves, abandon their first form of government (Articles of Confederation), and finally form
a Republic with one document serving as the supreme law of the land; the United States
Constitution.
This experiment of a Constitutional Republic was not perfect. The newly created nation would
be tested by foreign powers and face a serious internal problem that would eventually lead to the
American Civil War. But, the Republic survived the civil war, foreign wars, and a multitude of
problems that would have destroyed governments without a Constitution.
The first draft of the Constitution was far from perfect. But, our Founders had the foresight to
provide a way to change the document through the process of adding amendments. The
Constitution has been amended over 25 times. The most important amendments that perfect the
document include the 10 listed in the Bill of Rights, the 13 th , 14 th , and 15 th Amendments that
provide for the outlaw of slavery, the protection of civil rights, and the ban on racial restrictions
regarding voting, the 19 th which gives women the right to vote, and the 21st which repealed the
well intentioned, but massive failure, of the 18 th , better known as Prohibition.
The great experiment continues.
Life is much different today than in the late 1700’s. But, human nature and the temptation to
abuse power remain the same.
We now face another strong challenge. America is bitterly divided.
Is the Constitution strong enough to hold the Republic together during these turbulent times?
Only God knows the answer.
But, I hope you will join me as I pray for the Greatest Experiment in History to continue for
many generations to come.