By Bill Moore
Last week came and went with minimal acknowledgement of one of the most important days in the world’s history — Constitution Day.
The Constitutional Convention convened in May of 1787. Debate crawled along through the summer, focusing on governance, commerce, slavery, states’ rights and other important considerations. Ultimately, a final document was produced, voted upon, signed on September 17, 1787 and sent to the several states for ratification. Ratification by nine of the thirteen was required for order for adoption. But why was a new governing document necessary?
The Articles of Confederation were ratified on March 1, 1781, shortly before the October British surrender at Yorktown. The newly minted nation formalized a method of self-governing through the Articles, however, it was not a structure that could sustain itself. Congress was the singular governing federal body under the Articles.
Article II read, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.“
Article III declared, “The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defence, the security of their Liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatever.”
In other words, we were essentially a country comprised of thirteen independent units.
Challenges to the new government including a struggling economy, the inability to raise taxes and regulate commerce, and internal discord (Shay’s Rebellion) among other things, ultimately led to the convening of the Constitutional Convention in May of 1787.
The delegates convened in Philadelphia, elected George Washington its President and began the arduous task of creating a new structure of government. Twelve of the states were represented; only Rhode Island failed to send delegates.
There were two primary plans put forward at the convention, the Virginia and New Jersey Plans. The Virginia Plan apportioned representation based on the population of each state. The New Jersey plan gave each state an equal vote in Congress. It should not be a surprise that the more populated states supported the Virginia Plan while smaller states favored the New Jersey Plan.
Enter the Great Comprise, the Connecticut Plan. The Connecticut Plan called for three branches of government. There would be proportional representation in a House of Representatives based on population and equal representation in a Senate. In addition, the President would be chosen by electors based on the number of senators and representatives the individual states had. The plan also created an independent judiciary.
Ratification occurred when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify, on June 22, 1788. The Convention established March 9, 1789, as the date for the new government to become operational. When the new government commenced, only North Carolina and Rhode Island had yet to ratify the Constitution. The Ocean State was the last of the original thirteen to ratify on May 29, 1790.
During the ratification process, the Federalist and Anti-Federalist factions were locked in a seemingly irreconcilable dispute over the exact role of national government, states’ rights and individual rights. Several states refused to ratify the Constitution unless they were assured that the new government would amend the Constitution to address the dispute.
In the early days of the new Congress, James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution” drove 17 amendments through the House of Representatives. The Senate reduced the list to 12 and they were sent to President Washington. The twelve were sent to the states for adoption and by December 15, 1791, three-fourths of the states had ratified ten of them and the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution.
What a remarkable document. Over the course of its 231 years, only 27 amendments have been added. It truly is the envy of the world.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.”
Bill Moore is president and CEO of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.
4 thoughts on “Moore: Constitution Day came and went with minimal acknowledgement”
Great Article, we also have links to a Constitutional Scholar and States’ rights advocate people may find interesting. Sadly our country has been educating our youth via snappy little propaganda pieces ala Facebook, Twitter that are pure propaganda. Our youth have not understand about ‘democracy” and why our founding father avoided the term in all the founding documents in favor of Republic. The understanding of propaganda is misunderstood by many. People will say “but it’s true! It can’t be propaganda!”. Really good propaganda has only truth. For example, you could state, “Why would you vote for him? He’s had at least 12 interactions with police officers where he was forcibly stopped! Clearly this man is a criminal, unworthy of office!” All true, but what they didn’t say, was over the course of 40 years this man was caught speeding.
The public is duped on a continual basis via this half truth. Consider the latest rage, “Democratic Socialism” of the Scandanavian countries, the first being they aren’t socialist, the second, they are hyper capitalists, and there is sooo much more left out. Internet, greatest propaganda tool every invented.
Neil Johnson, Candidate Washington 7
Krisanne Hall is the gal who has some great documentaries about our founding documents.
Moore: Constitution Day came and went with minimal acknowledgment, stating what a remarkable document and it has held the test of time for 231 years.
Now you understand why Liberals want to try and dismantle it, our Founding Fathers are probably rolling over in their graves seeing how Liberals want to bastardize it. Pathetic!
It is our duty to see that they don’t. Supposedly, justice is said to be blind. Here in Vermont the voters must be deaf, dumb and blind. Liberals have hijacked our institutions, our schools, our government and the media and we wonder why constitution day came and went with no fanfare? Our young people know nothing of our founding as a nation because it has been bastardized by our education system. Is there anything more important than teaching our children and young adults about the working of our form of government? The answer is yes there is if you are of the progressive/liberal ideology because this is how they can propagandize and indoctrinate our youth into systematically destroy the document and our rights therein to aid and abet their control over the masses. The constitution has always been our only barrier between liberty and freedom from their totalitarian takeover and control of our lives. Just look at what the left is doing to prevent a constitutional conservative nominee to the Supreme Court. It should make all reasonable people sick to their stomach.
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