The Preamble: Legitimacy, Consent, and the Essence of a Fair Constitution

The preamble, “The LEGITIMACY OF GOVERNMENT is derived exclusively from the consent of the governed. Legitimate Governments are and ought to be designed in such a way as to MINIMIZE CONSENT VIOLATIONS, BALANCE INTERESTS UNIFORMLY, and GOVERN EFFECTIVELY. A FAIR CONSTITUTION describes Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals and Governments that must exist for a LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT to exist. It is observed to be entrenched in the laws of nature and is therefore indestructible,” is a profound statement that encapsulates the essence of governance, the principles of fairness, and the foundational tenets of a just society.

Government Legitimacy and the Consent of the Governed

The legitimacy of any government is fundamentally rooted in the consent of its people. This principle, echoing the thoughts of political philosophers like John Locke, emphasizes that the true power of governance lies not in the hands of a few but in the collective will of the masses1. The phrase “derived exclusively from the consent of the governed” underscores the idea that without the people’s approval, no government can claim true legitimacy. In the context of the Indonesian regional elections, the importance of public political participation and the role of public legitimacy in influencing voter turnout is evident2. The very essence of democratic governance hinges on this mutual understanding between the rulers and the ruled.

Design of Legitimate Governments

A legitimate government is not just about obtaining consent but also about designing structures and systems that uphold the principles of fairness and justice. The preamble’s emphasis on minimizing consent violations and balancing interests uniformly highlights the need for a government to be transparent, accountable, and responsive. The contractarian ideology, which depicts government as acting in the general public interest, legitimizes the actions of government, giving those elite few who hold government power a greater ability to use it to further their own interests3. The design of a government plays a pivotal role in ensuring that power is not concentrated, and checks and balances are in place to prevent any form of abuse or tyranny.

The Nature of a Fair Constitution

A constitution is more than just a set of laws; it is a social contract between the government and its people. The preamble’s reference to a “fair constitution” emphasizes the rights and responsibilities of both individuals and governments. Such a constitution ensures that every individual’s rights are protected, and the government’s powers are defined and limited. The idea that a fair constitution is “entrenched in the laws of nature” suggests that these principles are universal, timeless, and unchangeable. The constitution serves as a beacon of hope, a guiding light that ensures that governance remains just, equitable, and true to the principles of democracy.

In conclusion, the preamble serves as a powerful reminder of the principles that underpin a just and fair society. It emphasizes the importance of consent, the design of legitimate governments, and the essence of a fair constitution. As we navigate the complexities of modern governance, it is essential to remember these foundational principles and ensure that they are upheld in every decision, policy, and action.


  1. Introduction: The Informed Consent of the Governed
  2. Public Legitimacy of Government and People’s Political Participation: The Case of the 2020 West Sumatra Regional Election, Indonesia
  3. Contractarian ideology and the legitimacy of government
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