As a group, Latter-day Saints are part of a perhaps increasingly small minority that continues to see the hand of divinity in the founding of this nation and the coming forth of the Constitution. This fact not only suggests that the Constitution's bicentennial should be observed at Brigham Young University, but that it ought to be observed in a way that takes the document seriously, not merely as a symbol of the nation but also as an instrument that seeks to ensure effective government while preserving human rights and the rule of law.
It is fitting that BYU Studies should publish a special issue on the United States Constitution in connection with the nation's bicentennial celebration. In the effort to take the Constitution seriously in 1987, our solicitation for this issue was deliberately cast broadly. We sought the widest range of thoughtful perspectives on the Constitution by individuals whose scholarly interests tied into the Constitution. And this effort yielded essays and articles that range from the origins of the Constitution to the most controversial issues of the present day. Within this range of methods and disciplines, however, there is significant unity of purpose—every author, whether explicitly or implicitly, offers us a perspective on the nature of our constitutional system and insight that may contribute to our own attempts to confront competing conceptions of its central elements.