Thursday, September 17, 2009

Constitution Day!

In 1787, a group of men came together, initially to revise the Articles of Confederation which were barely holding the newly independent nation together. When it became apparent that this would not be sufficient, they began the awesome task of hammering out a Constitution, establishing a fundamental system of government heretofore unknown in the world.

What they did was remarkable on many counts, not the least of which was the fact that they had vast disagreements on what exactly should be included. (Patrick Henry, remember him? Mr. "Give me Liberty or give me death"? He opposed the ratification because it gave the Federal government too much power-I wonder what he's thinking about it NOW?! He also refused to sign it.)*

These Founding Fathers as they are affectionately known, were diverse in their backgrounds, occupations and temprements. It proved to be an interesting mix.

Fifty-five men met together to establish this, our beloved Republic.  The day, May 14th, that the Convention was to begin, only 8 delegates were present. It would be 11 more days before the Convention started in earnest; on the 25th of May, George Washington was elected president of the proceedings, and things got underway.

The debate raged for four long months, through the heat of a Philadelphia summer. Would we have a strong central government or would we have a limited government? Would the central government run the show, or would "we the people"?
Each article, each section was debated, and voted on; piece by piece the Constitution took shape.

In the end, 222 years ago today, the Constitution of the United States of America-a title not in use until this day, was ratified and signed by 39 of the delegates. A new nation was born, "concieved in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal" as Abraham Lincoln would later remind us.

As I ponder the incredible responsiblity we all have to uphold the Constitution, I am awed by what has transpired to bring freedom to this land. The intricate weaving of lives that were knit together by "divine Providence"
The Book of Mormon talks about this land as the Promised Land, and I know with all my heart that this is true.
In a prophecy to Joseph Smith, the Lord tells us that he raised up good men to establish this Constitution for us, His children.

These fifty-five men, raised up and inspired, created a nation that would change the political landscape forever. The question remains as to whether we can keep the gift they bequeathed to our care.

*Late Edit:
Patrick Henry didn't actually attend the Convention, he was an ardent states rights fan, and, while asked to be a delegate, refused.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Hi Jeanetta - Thanks for the post. I couldn't agree more with your sentiments. I thought you might like to read my article on the United States Constitution.