The Constitutional Convention's identification of 'the general welfare' as an explicit goal of government was the foundation for postal roads, highways, Social Security and more.
By Robert Buonaspina, Dec 19, 2019
Robert Buonaspina is an Elected Steering Committee Member of Long Island Activists and a History Teacher at Locust Valley High School, Locust Valley, New York with over 25 years experience.
“Promoting the general welfare” is a part of our social DNA. It is featured in the United States Constitution in the Preamble and tasked to Congress to do in Article 1 Section 8. It is part of their job scope to ensure that the general welfare needs of our people are met.
Also noted in our foundational document, as part of servicing the general welfare needs of the people, was the creation of “postal roads,” along with post offices, as resources needed by Americans. The Founding Fathers also called for the creation of free public libraries to keep our citizens informed and educated.
In short order, developing out what was meant by “general welfare” grew as the nation grew. In the early 1800s, with the construction of the Erie Canal, the government funded in the Northeast a fairly involved effort to improve upon the transportation needs of the growing country.
Also occurring during the first few decades of the new nation was the formation of free public schools to educate our population. Via the efforts of Horace Mann, Massachusetts became the first state to provide a public education to its state’s citizens. In time, as part of serving the general welfare needs of the nation, a free public education from K-12 became the norm....