When our Founders met at the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall), in Philadelphia, and created our United States Constitution on September 17, 1787, they, quite literally, changed the world.
Following a long, grueling War for Independence and struggling under the Articles of Confederation that had been ratified in 1781, delegates from the 13 original states met to determine the course of action for their new, young country.
Some of them arrived thinking that the Articles simply needed to be amended. It soon became evident that what was required was a whole new approach to government and governing.
Having studied history and knowing the fates of most every major country that had existed on Earth to that point, they knew the failings of each were in the form of government. Taking their cues from that knowledge, and applying what had been conceived and accepted in our Declaration of Independence, our Founders came up with and adopted our U.S. Constitution.
A key element from the Declaration that served as a guide was the following: "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." They did not desire to live under the rule of a monarch or a tyrant.
The Convention appointed a "Committee of Style and Arrangement" which included Alexander Hamilton, William Samuel Johnson, Rufus King, James Madison, and Gouverneur Morris, to prepare a final draft. From the 23 originally approved articles the committee, led by Madison ("Father of the Constitution"), paired it down to seven, along with a preamble and closing statement.
The ratification process was not smooth as many delegates did not support the document as written as it did not include written guarantees of rights for the states and the people, which ultimately led to the later adoption our Bill of Rights.
The rest, as they say, is history. The world had been changed. The United States, a country based on the unalienable rights of people, had been born.
One wonders if our Founders could actually conceive of the impact that their creation would have on the world at large. Possibly. Possibly not.
But they did know that they had established a country unlike any that had previously existed.
George Washington, who served as Commanding General of the Continental Army and as our first president, stated, "The establishment of our new government seemed to be the last great experiment for promoting human happiness by a reasonable compact in civil society."
And Benjamin Franklin, known as the First American for his devotion and work for the cause, wrote the following to Thomas Jefferson, “In 200 years will people remember us as traitors or heros? That is the question we must ask.”
However, our Founders also knew that the only way that our Constitutional Republic would continue and flourish was on the shoulders of the people at large.
Thomas Jefferson, principal author of our Declaration of Independence and third president, was adamant regarding the country's continuation, when he said, “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
And, so, 232 years later, we thank them. We honor them. They crafted documents that have guided the United States of America into what has become the finest country in the world, despite the flaws that do exist, which are, of course, created by people, not the form of our governance.
That said, it will remain strong and vibrant to the degree that all Americans are educated about this incredibly vital document. Only then will We the People be sufficiently armed with the most powerful weapon to protect our rights and our freedoms...knowledge of our U.S. Constitution and our Constitutional Republic (not Democracy).
The easiest way for virtually anyone to learn is with the award-winning In Search of Liberty Constitution movie.
Other relevant and important educational materials include The Federalist Papers and The Anti-Federalist Papers, both of which provide insight into the mindset of our Founders.
In addition, for more in-depth study there is a one-day Constitution Boot Camp from Building Blocks for Liberty or consider KrisAnne Hall's online Liberty First University.
Knowledge is, indeed, a powerful weapon.
by Scott D. Welch, Patriot
Direct descendant of 8 Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War
Cousin of Patrick Henry