It all started at Independence hall in Philadelphia on 14 May 1787. At first only a few delegates showed up but, as the days passed, more and more began to arrive. They were soldiers, farmers, doctors, lawyers, and merchants from across the thirteen states of a newly free people. Many had been members of the Continental Congress while others had just been appointed to their post. They had come to amend the Articles of Confederation but, by mid-summer, they realized that they needed something more. So together they set forth to build nothing less than the foundation for a new nation. The central issue was balancing federal and state powers against the God given rights of the people. Many had dramatically opposing views and the debates were long and intense. Some even walked out in frustration, refusing to append their names to the final document. By 12 September however, after months of debate and compromise, they reached agreement on its content. Every item in the document had been painstakingly developed, revised, debated, and accepted. When it was all assembled, it was passed to a young clerk named Jacob Shallus who was paid the approximate sum of 30 dollars to transpose it into the document we all know today as the Constitution of the United States of America.
It was a profound document for a world still ruled by Kings. Its opening line was emblazoned with three words that would ultimately define a new system of government. They were simple words, “We The People,” but not even the delegates at the convention could fully grasp the impact they would have, not only on America, but on the dreams and aspirations of mankind. In just 4 handwritten pages, they had created a Nation. Certainly, prior to its ratification we had already earned our freedom as a people, but with the Constitution’s full enactment in 1790 we earned our nationhood.
Since that day in September 1787 when Mr. Shallus transcribed the first copy, our Constitution has withstood a great Civil War, two World Wars, depression, internal dissent, and the tyranny of communism. It remains still today one of the most debated documents in the history of modern civilization, and industries have been built upon interpreting and reconstructing its intent. It is not perfect, it is not divine, and it is not unassailable, but it is the only document of its kind, and every time we read it we are reminded of who we are. We are the United States of America! With flaws and frustrations considered, we are without a doubt the greatest nation and the greatest people that the world has ever known. The important thing to understand however, is that our greatness does not come from our might, our wealth, our abundance, or our influence. Certainly we have these things, but they are the products of our greatness not the cause. We are great because of those three words that have been purchased time and again with American blood and treasure, and we will stay great as long as we never let, “We The People,” stray far from our hearts. Please take a moment on this Constitution Day to remember who we are and how we got here. Then say a prayer that we never forget.
What a great memorial day- and one that is so often forgotten. In fact, this day is overlooked much like the document itself. Sad, really.
It is sad. It baffles me that we would have a federal holiday to recognize labor while letting this one pass almost unnoticed.
“It was a profound document for a world still ruled by Kings.”
Interesting that only roughly 220 years later that we mourn the last of “Camelot” and a “political dynasty” – sounds like people really got a little scared of that whole democracy thing.
Great post Chuck.
Great post, Chuck.