This week is Constitution Week with September 17th as Constitution Day. It’s an amazing document that still stands the test of time. Each day though, we see it being trampled and the rights it gives us stripped away. It can only happen if we allow it and unfortunately many give in to the craziness going on and will not push against the tyranny.
I ask myself why and there are many answers but one main one to me, is that people don’t know what the Constitution says and more importantly, what it means for us. It was taught when I was in school and we had to learn the preamble. Civics was also taught as was taking pride in our community and nation.
The Preamble outlines the Constitution’s purpose and guiding principles. It reads:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.”
Our forefathers fought against tyranny and government intrusion into their lives. Freedom was so important to them, they were willing to die for it and continue to fight for it.
There is no mention of “democracy” in the Constitution. In fact, the United States of America isn’t a true democracy; it’s a republic, which is how the framers intended it.
In a pure democracy, the people make decisions directly. In a republic, the people make decisions indirectly, via representatives. The men at the Convention believed pure democracy to be a dangerous form of government
The Constitution of the United States established America’s national government and fundamental laws, and guaranteed certain basic rights for its citizens.
It was signed on September 17, 1787, by delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Under America’s first governing document, the Articles of Confederation, the national government was weak and states operated like independent countries. States having so much power lead to a poor economy and week national defense. It is interesting that during the American Revolution, there was rarely enough money to supply or pay the army.
At the 1787 convention, delegates devised a plan for a stronger federal government with three branches—executive, legislative and judicial—along with a system of checks and balances to ensure no single branch would have too much power. (How far wrong have we gone on that with partisan politics.)
The Bill of Rights were the first 10 amendments guaranteeing basic individual protections, such as freedom of speech and religion, that became part of the Constitution in 1791. The Bill of Rights is one of the most historical and treasured documents because it is the foundation of basic American liberties. Its laws specify the fundamental rights of American citizens. It protects our freedom of speech, press, assembly, petition and religion as well as protects people from “unreasonable searches”.
The Bill of Rights was added because many feared a strong federal government would abuse its citizens unless there were guarantees of basic rights and liberties included. Many of these limited the powers of the federal government. Though the Constitution protects against this, you can see we are far from that original intent as government controls many facets of daily life.
Though some didn’t think the Bill of Rights were needed because they couldn’t fathom such government control, to get the Constitution ratified they had to support it.
Here’s some facts I thought interesting and many many not know about the Constitution. Originally it contained 4,543 words which included signatures. With the 27 amendments it contains 7,591 words. This makes it the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world. Short and to the point and very powerful.
In spite of what some think, Thomas Jefferson did not sign the Constitution. He was in France during the Convention where he served as the U. S. minister. John Adams was serving as the U. S. minister to Great Britain during the Constitutional Convention and did not attend either. George Washington and James Madison were the only presidents who signed the Constitution.
There was a proposal at the Convention to limit the standing army for the country to 5,000 men. Washington sarcastically agreed with this proposal as long as a stipulation was added that no invading army could number more than 3,000 troops.
Grammar nazis beware as the original draft of the Constitution contains multiple spelling errors including misspelling of Pennsylvania as one of the “n’s” was left out.
The constitution’s opening line was not included in early drafts of the document. The preamble originally started with individual states listed from north to south. The five-person Committee of Style is thought to be responsible for composing much of the final text, including the revised preamble.
A proclamation by President George Washing and a congressional resolution established the first national Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 1789 and the reason was to give thanks for the new Constitution.
Other than English, Latin was also used in various parts of the Constitution.
There were no amendments from 1804 to 1865 until the end of the Civil War when the 13th amendment was added to abolish slavery. This was the longest period in American history where there were no changes to our Constitution.
More than 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress. Thirty-three have gone to the states to be ratified and twenty-seven have actually received the necessary approval from the states to actually become amendments. The Constitution has only been changed seventeen times since 1791.
Several of the framers met with untimely deaths some with suspicious circumstances.
Governor Morris of Pennsylvania was nicknamed the Penman of the Constitution but Jacob Shallus wielded the quill that scrawled the final copy. He was an assistant clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly and was paid $30 and given just two days to write it.
Our founding fathers knew what they were doing and the U.S. Constitution passes the test of time and is perhaps even more relevant today. It is up to us to preserve and protect it. We owe it to ourselves and founders to do so for our republic to stand.
VICTORIA SIMMONS Is a columnist, author, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org©2020