Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happy 224th Birthday, You Crazy Document!

Date: September 17, 1787
Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Subject: U.S. Constitution is signed and ready to be ratified
Our founders realized after adopting and implementing our original governing document - the Articles of Confederation - that it just was not right. So they called on the thirteen states to send representatives to meet and discuss adjustments. Beginning on May 14, 1787, fifty-five representatives from twelve of the thirteen states (Rhode Island declined) met in Philadelphia. Men like James Madison of North Carolina, Alexander Hamilton of New York, Ben Franklin of Pennsylvania and 52 others  debated, wrote, argued, and rewrote the Articles of Confederation. After a few weeks they realized that what was really needed was a completely new document. Finally on September 17, 1787, after more debate, more writing, and more arguing, these fifty-five learned men adopted and signed off on four pieces of paper each measuring 28 3/4 inches by 23 5/8 inches and containing in total 4543 words (including signatures) that formed the foundation of our government.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The U.S. Constitution was ratified by eleven states by July of 1788. North Carolina took a little longer by signing on November of 1789, with Rhode Island bringing up the rear finally signing on June of 1790.

How did they do it? How did fifty-five men from diverse backgrounds agree on an entire foundation of government in just four months and have complete agreement in three years when today we cannot even agree on what our problems are? Where are our Monroes today? Where are our Franklins, Blounts, Carrolls, Rutledges, and Pickneys today who are Statesmen with a capital "S"? Statesmen who are willing to put what is best for our collective future above what is best for their immediate political futures?

Oh, well, let's celebrate that there once were such visionary Statesmen, and let's pray that we have more somewhere in our DNA.

7 comments:

DUQ said...

Woot woot! Happy Birthday! Now if only our liberals friends would read it!

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Well said. Where are our Statemen? Not in our political system, that's for sure. To quote Star Wars, our politics has become a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

But I think the biggest difference between back then and today is that no one was living on the government back them, so it was easier to settle their issues because everyone had reason to be rational -- something 40+% of voters no longer have.

Tam said...

Happy birthday to you, Dear Constitution. And MANY returns.

LawHawkRFD said...

If we don't get rid of the Democrats in the next election, we'll be observing a funeral instead of celebrating the birth of the greatest single government document in world history.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew, I also think they didn't have all the distractions back then. We achieved so much more when we had so much less to work with.

BevfromNYC said...

DUQ - Woot, Woot! Right back. We need birthday cake! It's not the libs don't read it, it's that they don't understand it.

BevfromNYC said...

LawHawk - We can't get rid of ALL of them, but we can certainly try.

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