Founding Fathers Blog

Constitution Day

September 18th, 2011

I realize we don’t celebrate this day like we do the 4th of July, but nonetheless I am surprised at how little people seem to know about it.

On September 17, I asked 7 or 8 of my friends and acquaintences a few simple questions. (Notice they weren’t all ‘friends’ or you would have expected them to be as patriotic as I am.)

The people I asked were young or old, white or black, educated or not so educated, as a sampling of our population. One of those was even an ex-Congressman.

I asked what happened on this day in American history that would be significant. (Notice that I gave them a clue as to what the day would have to be about-American history.)

Not one of those approached had any idea what I was talking about.

So I explained that on this day (September 17) in 1787 our Constitution was signed by the People’s representatives in a Constitutional Convention.

So I followed up with a question: “how many signed the Constitution on that date?” No one knew. The guesses ranged from 9 to 22.

They were all surprised when I told them the document was signed by 55 delegates.

Did they know why it was approved unanimously? No, they didn’t even know it had been adopted by all the delegates present.

So I explained that Benjamin Franklin asked them all to put aside their remaining doubts and questions and adopt the final draft by a unanimous vote…and to support it when they returned to their individual States. This they consented to do.

Then I asked if they knew which of the Founding Fathers opposed the Constitution as then drafted.

None knew that Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson believed that the Constitution did not protect the individual citizen enough, and so they fought for a “Bill of Right” to be added.

Much more could have been asked and added to the discussion. But I think you get the message.

We have forgotten our own history. And we don’t know much about the Constitution.

No wonder we have the problem facing the nation today that we have.

Have you read it (the Constitution) lately?

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