What Does the Preamble Say?

Cornell University Law School defines the Preamble of the United States Constitution as a brief summary of the important principles contained within the Constitution itself. Because the Preamble is so succinct, it is often referenced in court and popular culture.

The Free Dictionary defines preamble as an introductory statement that concisely explains the purpose of a document, and the Preamble of the United States Constitution meets this definition. Similar to any other introduction, the Preamble serves as an outline for the basic constitutional rights and regulations that citizens of the United States can expect. As referenced in Constitution US, the Preamble of the Constitution begins with the well-known phrase, "We the people". This phrase and the assertions that follow are not actually part of the Constitution itself. In fact, the Preamble states that it exists to ordain the contents of the Constitution and gives a brief list of arguments in favor of its contents. Laws, the online legal resource, further explains that the significance of the Preamble is to establish the Constitution not as a mandate from the federal government itself, but rather from the people of the United States. The unique language chosen to begin the Preamble may explain why this prelude to the Constitution is so often quoted in the judicial system.