No State shall pass any Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts

To protect everyone’s contracts seems like an act of fairness of equal treatment, until one considers that contracts made between rich and poor, between employer and employee, landlord and tenant, creditor and debtor, generally favor the more powerful of the two parties. Thus to protect these contracts is to put the great power of the government, its laws, courts, sheriffs, police, on the side of the privileged – and to do it not, as in premodern times, as an exercise of brute force against the weak but as a matter of law.

1791. From Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States