Happy Constitution Day.
Sure enough, today is National Constitution Day.
On September 17, 1787, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin and most of the other delegates that attended the Constitutional Convention signed the newly drafted United States Constitution. (There were three dissenters, including Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts.)
With its signing, the Constitution effectively turned the 13 rebelling colonies into a functioning country.
So, while the Fourth of July may accurately be seen as the birthday of the nation, September 17 is the birthday of our government.
After the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776—severing the colonies from the British Empire—the founding fathers did try to create a formal government. They drafted something called the Articles of Confederation, which gave Congress the legal authority to govern the colonies as a single nation during the revolution.
Soon after the war, however, it became clear that this government wouldn’t work; it was too weak. A real federal government, with real power, was needed, so the Articles of Confederation were scrapped and the Constitutional Convention was assembled.
Drafting the Constitution was no quick and easy feat. It took the members of the convention 116 days of heated debate and significant compromise to write the document. By contrast, it took Thomas Jefferson just 17 days to pen the Declaration of Independence.
Within this brief document, with its seven articles (and later its 27 amendments), you will find the glue that has bound our country together for the past 234 years.
So, let’s give National Constitution Day some love.
Fly a flag. Light a sparkler.
As luck would have it, Mashpee is planning a fireworks show this weekend. These are the fireworks that were rained out back in July. They’re planned for Saturday, stating at 7:30 PM outside Mashpee High School. The rain date is Sunday.
Let’s think of these as this year’s National Constitution Day fireworks.