When times of uncertainty come suddenly upon a people there must be a foundation upon which we stand that shall remain immovable, permanent, and secure. Since the birth of our nation, that foundation has always been God. And from that Fountain of authority, we acknowledged certain inalienable rights existing outside of any government as they are God-given, pre-political, and absolute, and as such we determined to give legitimacy to any form of government only by the consent of the people over which it governs.
Our Tennessee Constitution acknowledges these absolute rights and further secures them by way of a Declaration of Rights which are “excepted out of the general powers of the government, and shall forever remain inviolate.” As such, our Constitution stands as a bulwark for liberty and a reminder to all generations of Tennesseans and all who have and shall serve as elected representatives of this State that our liberties are at no time up for negotiation. They shall be forever retained by the People.