Since the Bill of Rights was adopted on December 15, 1791, the U.S. Constitution has been amended only 16 times.
The National Constitution Center today launched the Interactive Constitution, a new online tool that transforms the U.S Constitution into a truly 21st century educational experience. He outlined his ideas to James Madison in a letter. It should be required reading for every public official as it reflects the epitome of conducting the business of government. FDR took lawyers to task for their interpretations of the founding document and reassured the crowd that the Constitution never enumerated the number of justices. At 4,400 words in length, it is the shortest constitution in the world.
Although most people know about the story of Plymouth Rock and the harvest feast filled with a cornucopia of food, there’s another side to the story that has more to do with the Constitution than turkey. Certainly the Articles were flawed, but they enabled the emerging nation to defeat the superpower that was Great Britain, and to preserve the rights of the people of the several states to govern themselves. For instance, North Carolinas 1776 constitution delineated between branches of government and described the powers given to the executive. It was a government of a federal nature, one that included concepts of dual sovereignty, a purposeful concept that invited constant tension. This is clear and informative, and it has links to Supreme Court decisions.
Let us all be thankful for our Founding Fathers who labored to, in the words of the preamble, “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”.
The three features above give us good reasons why we should celebrate Constitution Day by remembering our first national charter: the Articles of Confederation. “The mystic chords of memory will yet swell the chorus of the Union when touched again by the better angels of our nature”.
With our students in mind, the third week of September is when the National Conference of State Legislatures kicks off its “America’s Legislators Back to School Program”. And it could be argued that on this date, the United States of America, as a federal democratic republic, was born. The commemorative events on Independence Mall can beckon all to more fully appreciate and exercise the freedoms made more possible by the Constitutional Convention – the “Second American Revolution” – held right here. “Have we forgotten that powerful friend?” Once a governing entity reached a certain size, representatives would be too far removed from their constituents and would end up effectively collaborating with a centralized bureaucratic apparatus to impose rule from above.
The Convention’s delegates set examples of proper decorum and parliamentary procedure, while thoroughly considering the various issues of government.
“I want to show people – especially the younger ones – how much power they really have”, Ryan said. The Convention adjourned until the following Monday, when the Constitution would be signed by the delegates. Franklin lamented that during the previous four months he had often gazed upon the chair wondering if the painter had intended a rising or setting Sunday . Rather it honors the triumph of the human spirit for its desire and endeavor to achieve its highest quality of life.