Happy Constitution Day!
Today is Constitution Day, a day that often goes by without thinking much about it at all. Strange thing that Constitution… it literally (along with its companion document, The Bill of Rights) secured us the very construct and rights that make America what it is, yet we rarely take a moment to consider just how central it is to our daily existence.
Most of us have been fortunate enough never to have experienced a world where the protections afforded us by these critical documents are absent. Talking with people who do have those experiences is eye-opening and gratefulness-instilling.
On September 17, 1787, The Constitution was signed… and, in a way, it was just the beginning.
Tremendous debate continued through the final day of The Constitutional Convention… with three delegates, including George Mason, refusing to sign The Constitution because it lacked a Bill of Rights to secure key freedoms central to our then young National identity.
That principled stand by Mason and those who supported the perspective led to what we today refer to as The Bill of Rights, which in concert with The Constitution have been the foundation of our country since their signatures.
The Bill of Rights’ document was long debated and whittled down from an original 17 to our first 10 Amendments to The Constitution.
It wasn’t until Dec 15th, 1791 that ¾ of the states ratified these 10 Amendments.
The Bill of Rights, formally granting rights to mere citizens, was quite radical at the time… they were often referred to as “protections” and they were indeed that. The Rights granted us there are nothing short of precious, and we ought not ever take them for granted.
Forgive my geeking out on this… I absolutely love our country, was blessed with the opportunity to serve her, saw so many diverse parts of the world while doing so, and came to appreciate, so very much, how special the United States is… Our uniqueness is enshrined in these world-changing documents and the philosophies, bonds, and mutual trust underlying their ratification. We are blessed.
Fun fact - The original Constitution was not a long document… 4543 words… including the signatures 😊. Today, with all 27 amendments, it is still just 7591 words.