What Is Domestic Tranquility?

Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team

Every school child is taught about the preamble to the United States Constitution at one stage in their school career.

They learn how the people desire to have a more perfect union and establish a stronghold of justice in order to insure domestic tranquility.

Whilst establishing justice seems like a righteous thing for the vast majority of people, what exactly does insuring ‘domestic tranquility’ mean?

What Is Domestic Tranquility

The History Of Domestic Tranquility

During the 18th century, the framers of the United States Constitution lived in a distinctly different age from our own.

The U.S. was only just forming and the new nation’s stability was dependent on an overall level of peace amongst its people as opposed to any civil wars or fighting amongst individual states.

Whilst this was the intention, this wasn’t always the case. Just prior to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, there was a year-long series of protests that were violent.

These protests took place in Massachusetts amongst other states and consisted of a wide range of people.

Farmers, for instance, for protesting against local enforcements of tax collections and against any enforced judgments for debt and these protests were therefore named ‘Shay’s Rebellion’.

This rebellion was named after its leader, Daniel Shay, a Massachusetts farmer and former navy captain.

The vast majority of rural people were poor farmers and the merchant class imposed grossly unfair economic terms on them through taxes.

As a result, approximately 4000 rebels armed themselves and attempted to overhaul the federal arsenal at Springfield.

They attacked any lawyers, merchants or supporters of the state government until the uprising was eventually crushed in the winter of 1787.

The positions who were drawing up the U.S. Constitution were fearful of any future uprisings and they wanted to ensure that the government had the necessary power in order to prevent these uprisings by any means.

They also wanted the government to have the power to smooth over territorial disputes amongst different states and prevent them from warring with each other.

This is where the term domestic tranquility comes into play.

In the modern day, the term domestic tranquility is usually used to describe the government’s ability to encourage peaceful demonstrations.

As opposed to being interpreted as quashing protests and brutally enforcing the laws of the land, the U.S. government’s job is to ensure that all citizens have a peaceful means of protesting and addressing their grievances.

Some believe that this term also refers to protecting the U.S. from any foreign enemies which includes maintaining strong relations with allies and remaining watchful of any countries that may threaten U.S. interests.

However, some of the laws that are passed in the name of ensuring domestic tranquility are heavily critiqued including the internment of Japanese-American citizens during the Second World War and the Patriot Act as many have claimed these laws breach constitutional rights.

The History Of Domestic Tranquility

What Is The Purpose Of Domestic Tranquility?

Domestic tranquility aims to paint a picture of American citizens who can exercise their rights without any fear of the consequences.

They should be able to exercise their rights, duties and work within enjoyable, peaceful confines.

This, in turn, ensures that peace and safety are upheld whilst still giving citizens the right to exercise their rights peacefully.

It is an essential notion to uphold when considering how the forceful suppression of dissent never succeeds in the long term.

Violence begets more violence and this only leads to a more violent outcome and the eventual suppression of human rights.

The experience of this injustice induces trauma in a nation that should strive towards collective peace, health and healing and as such, the civic morality that is posed by domestic tranquility is key to maintaining peace across the United States.

To conclude, ‘insuring domestic tranquility’ is a term that arose after a farmer’s uprising in 1787.

This uprising, otherwise known as ‘Shays Rebellion’, concerned politicians during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and thus, they wished to implement domestic tranquility in order to insure that any future protests did not turn violent and that differing states could co-exist peacefully without warring one another.

In the modern day, many laws are passed in the name of ensuring domestic tranquility although a number of these have been heavily criticised as some believe that laws like the Patriot Act override constitutional rights.

Ultimately, the aim of domestic tranquility is to insure that the U.S. can operate as a peaceful nation where people can exercise their rights without the use of forceful suppression or violent uprisings.

This is why this term is one of the first things that school children learn when learning about the preamble to the United States.

It is ingrained in children from a young age that the U.S. should represent a nation of peaceful domesticity where you are able to use your voice to exercise your rights via a peaceful means of expression.

It is no coincidence that children are taught this as it ensures that they have a strong understanding of the core values that unify the states as opposed to dividing them.

However, as there is no prescriptive set of rules that define ‘domestic tranquility’, it can make it difficult to identify its necessary usage in certain situations.

Arguably, the easiest way to insure domestic tranquility is to ensure that the mood of the general populace is one of satisfaction with the overarching government.

Final Thoughts

If the membership at large is satisfied in their relationship with the government, then the general state of life will be tranquil as people will not be desiring anything more or different within the frameworks of this relationship.

This makes the term a great ideal to aspire to but harder to implement and insure on a practical level in modern society.