"We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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." - Preamble to the Constitution
221 years ago today, after five months of arduous debate, negotiation, argument, compromise, dreaming and planning, a group of inspired men completed their work and signed the document that they had worked so hard to create. It then left Independence Hall in Philadelphia for its journey to New York, where Congress reviewed its contents and sent it to the states for ratification.
The framing and ratification of our Constitution was nothing less than a miracle. Men from twelve very different states with a variety of prejudices and attitudes towards government came together to form a strong central government that still preserved the rights of individual citizens and their respective states. Each state then elected delegates to their own conventions and debated these same principles again. When they decided to ratify the Constitution (in some states by a mere handful of votes) each state willingly gave up a portion of its authority to become a part of a larger nation. It was a tremendous gamble on their part, but their actions went on to create the freest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known.
We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the men who framed our Constitution and fought for its ratification in each state. For over two hundred years their efforts have secured the blessings of liberty to us - their posterity. Over the years, these blessings have been preserved from generation to generation through both armed struggle and the careful vigilance of informed citizens. They too are deserving of our gratitude for keeping our inheritance intact, and passing it on to us.
Preserving and defending the Constitution becomes the great mission of each generation of Americans, and now it is our turn to rise to the challenge like our forefathers before us.
For some of the best among us, defending our Constitution means putting on the nation's uniform and defending it against enemies abroad. For others it means to create, enforce, or interpret laws in a way that is in harmony with the Constitution. For all of us, whether we are soldiers, statesmen or citizens, it means to know our Constitution from end to end and then to do our part to ensure that the government is strictly following its principles and staying within its bounds.
If the next generation of Americans is to continue this tradition, we need to pass a love for and knowledge of the Constitution down to them with the added example of our own generation of leaders. Leaving them a larger legacy of freedom than the one left to us will ensure that our Republic continues to be a blessing to millions of Americans yet to come.
For those of you who are interested - Heritage Academy in Mesa is hosting a Constitutional Seminar this Saturday, September 20th from 8:30-4:30. Reserve your spot by calling 480-969-5641
Cost is $7.50 for the required workbook.