Did you know Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787? My guess is many didn’t even realize this day existed. How many of you ever heard of this when you took History class in High School?
I’m also guessing many’s first thought was, wasn’t that July 4th? No, July 4th is when we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. As a quick side note, it wasn’t signed on July 4th, wasn’t even official on July 4th. Check your historical facts.
Constitution Day celebrates the birth of the United States. The Constitution could be considered the backbone of the USA. It’s the measure of all our laws, and is the driving document for one of our branches of government. How much do you really know about this document?
Given many of the news headlines of this past year, it might be a perfect time to take an in depth look at this document. I just read today about schools which are being renamed because they were named after Confederate Generals. Statues are being taken down. Streets are being renamed. I’m not against some of them being removed, if all the facts are reviewed in a non biased manner. All these should be reviewed on an individual basis, not as a blanket operation. Why? Because some of them have to do with setting the cornerstone of America as we know it. Some of them authored the very document under which people have gained freedom and liberty in these great American States. It all traces back to the Constitution.
Initially the Convention was held in secrecy, later, James Madison’s notes were published which give us an eye witness account of what transpired during the development of this significant document.
The first state to give their formal consent of the Constitution was Delaware on December 7, 1787. Ratification by the states was a long process with the last state, Rhode Island, formally consenting on May 29, 1790! But the date Congress made the Constitution operative was June 21, 1788. Thomas Jefferson shared his thoughts on the Constitution and wrote, “unquestionably the wisest ever yet presented to men.”
Wait, it wasn’t over yet. The first ten amendments were made, known as Bill of Rights, and were ratified December 15, 1791,
The ACLU quotes on their website, “The American Bill of Rights, inspired by Jefferson and drafted by James Madison, was adopted, and in 1791 the Constitution’s first ten amendments became the law of the land.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was formed “and dedicated themselves to holding the government to the Bill of Rights’ promises.”
James Madison and Thomas Jefferson are controversial names right now. Here’s one such petition to have James Madison’s name removed from a school stating, “my school is named after a slaveowner” … “The significance of this name in association with my school has a negative effect on memorials black students.”
And one for Thomas Jefferson which I blogged about last year: “Thomas Jefferson’s statue sends a clear nonverbal message that his values and beliefs are supported by the University of Missouri. Jefferson’s statue perpetuates a sexist-racist atmosphere that continues to reside on campus,” states the Change.org petition. “…Removing Jefferson’s statue alone will not eliminate the racial problems we face in America today, but it will help cure the emotional and psychological strain of history.” ~Collegefix
*scratching head* Seems the ACLU would have a conflict of interest in these cases. *raises one eye-brow* Sorry, I digressed.
Read a little more about these founding father’s and slavery here.
- Washington, George, VA (Soldier, Episcopal, Slave owner, 1st President of US)
Franklin, Benjamin, PA (Inventor, Deist, President of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery)
- Madison, James, VA (Politician, Episcopal, Slave owner, President of US, Last founding father to die (1836))
- Hamilton, Alexander, NY (Lawyer, Episcopal, 1st US Secretary of the Treasury)
- Morris, Gouverneur, PA (Lawyer, Episcopal, Senator)
- Morris, Robert, PA (Merchant, Episcopal, 1st US Senator from PA)
- Wilson, James, PA (Lawyer, Episcopal/Diest, US Supreme Court)
- Pinckney, Chas. Cotesworth, SC (Lawyer, Episcopal, Slave owner, US Minister to France, ran for US President twice)
- Pinckney, Chas, SC (Lawyer, Episcopal, Slave owner, Governor, Senator, House of Representatives)
- Rutledge, John, SC (Lawyer, Episcopal, Slave owner, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court)
- Butler, Pierce, SC (Soldier/Politician, Episcopal, Slave owner, Senator)
- Sherman, Roger, CT (Lawyer/Merchant, Congregationalist, US Representative)
- Johnson, William Samuel, CT (Lawyer, Episcopal, Senator)
- McHenry, James, MD (Doctor, Presbyterian, State Legislature)
- Read, George, DE (Lawyer, Episcopal, Senator, 1st Chief Justice of DE
- Bassett, Richard, DE (Lawyer, Methodist, Slave owner, Senator, Governor)
- Spaight, Richard Dobbs, NC (Politician, Episcopal, Slave owner, Governor, House of Rep)
- Blount, William, NC (Politician, Presbyterian, Slave owner, Impeached Senator)
Williamson, Hugh, NC (Educator/Studied Medicine, Presbyterian/Deist, House of Rep)
- Jenifer, Daniel of St. Thomas, MD (Lawyer, Episcopal, Slave owner)
- King, Rufus, MA (Lawyer, Episcopal, Senator)
- Gorham, Nathaniel, MA (Merchant, Congregationalist)
- Dayton, Jonathan, NJ (Lawyer, Episcopal, House of Reps, Speaker of the House, Senator)
- Carroll, Daniel, MD (Farmer, Roman Catholic, Slave owner, House of Reps)
Few, William, GA (Lawyer, Methodist, Senator)
- Baldwin, Abraham, GA (Minister/Lawyer, Congregationalist, House of Reps, Senator)
- Langdon, John, NH (Merchant, Congregationalist, Seantor (1789-1801), Governor)
- Gilman, Nicholas, NH (Merchant, Congregationalist, House of Reps, Senator)
- Livingston, William, NJ (Lawyer, Presbyterian, Govenor)
- Paterson, William, NJ (Lawyer, Presbyterian, Senator, US Supreme Court Justice)
- Mifflin, Thomas, PA (Merchant, Quaker/Lutheran, 1st Governor of PA)
- Clymer, George, PA (Merchant, Quaker/Episcopal, House of Reps)
- FitzSimons, Thomas, PA (Merchant, Roman Catholic, House of Reps)
- Ingersoll, Jared, PA (Lawyer, Presbyterian, Attorney General of PA, ran for Vice President, Judge)
- Bedford, Gunning, Jr., DE (Lawyer, Presbyterian, 1st US District Judge of DE)
- Brearley, David, NJ (Lawyer, Episcopal, Federal District Judge)
- Dickinson, John, DE (Lawyer, Quaker/Episcopal)
- Blair, John, VA (Lawyer, Episcopal, Slave owner, US Supreme Court)
- Broom, Jacob, DE (Merchant, Lutheran)
- Jackson, William, Secretary
To dive deeper into the Constitution, check out this line by line Guide to the Constitution.