Ensuring domestic tranquility involves keeping the peace within the nation. It means preventing domestic terrorism at the hands of citizens and outsiders and controlling rebellious behavior that threatens to undermine national security.
History of Domestic Tranquility
In 1786 in western Massachusetts, an uprising occurred in protest of the chaotic state in which the colonists found themselves under the Articles of Confederation. It was known as Shays' Rebellion, and it was an example of the kind of unrest the framers of the Constitution hoped to quell. The preamble to the Constitution set forth several objectives the writers felt important to a successful nation, one of which was "to ensure domestic tranquility." They knew that no nation long survived chronic civil unrest. Peace at home was paramount to building a strong and united nation.
The aim of the Constitution was to establish a government that had the strength to provide safety and security without becoming tyrannical. The constant bickering between states had proved poisonous to the peace, so the framers wanted to give the central government the authority to stop many of the disputes. Even today when states rights are not as big of an issue as they once were, domestic tranquility continues to be necessary for preserving the nation.
Ensuring Domestic Tranquility in Modern Times
In the modern world, ensuring domestic tranquility includes maintaining the peace between allies and keeping an eye on countries that wish to do harm to the United States. In order to do this, there are U.S. troops stationed abroad in many different countries. Additionally, troops protect the borders and fight wars against the enemies.
Domestic Tranquility and Civil Unrest
Another aspect of maintaining domestic tranquility is to ensure there is no civil unrest. However, since civil unrest is the result of unhappy citizens, maintaining tranquility can be a difficult task, especially during times of high tension. However, governments that forcibly suppress their citizens face even bigger pushback, which can lead to violent protests.
Domestic Tranquility in the States
The constitutional definition of domestic tranquility is peace between the states. In essence, unless the states in the country are all working together, chaos and destruction is sure to follow. Similarly, it's necessary for the federal, state and local-level governments to work together. There is much debate surrounding the amount of interference that each level of government ought to have in insuring domestic tranquility of the people.
Laws Aimed to Insure Domestic Tranquility
There are several instances throughout history when the United States government passed laws in order to insure domestic tranquility, each with its own set of controversies. For example, the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II was done in order to make sure that there would be no enemy forces on U.S. land. However, it's widely accepted today that it was an unconstitutional act.
Another example is The Patriot Act, which breaches basic constitutional rights. However, it was passed into law after September 11 with the aim of protecting the citizens from further harm from terrorist attacks. Also in connection to September 11 is the ever-increasing security and procedures conducted at airports, which some believe are an invasion of privacy.