CELEBRATING CONSTITUTION DAY
SEPTEMBER 17, 1787
Each year, Touro University California honors September 17th as Constitution Day. The U.S Constitution is one of the most influential legal documents in existence. Since its creation some two hundred years ago, over one hundred countries around the world have used it as a model for their own.
It is a living document. It is one of the world’s oldest surviving constitutions. And, while the Supreme Court continually interprets the Constitution so as to reflect a rapidly changing world, it basic tenets have remained virtually unchanged since its inception, and unchallenged as well. People quarrel over its interpretation, but never do they question the wisdom of its underlying principles. Imagine creating a document that governs your grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren. That’s what the men of the 1787 Constitutional Convention did.
The Constitutional Convention proposed a new Constitution establishing a much stronger national government. Although this controversial new constitution provided a great deal of resistance, it was eventually ratified by the necessary number of states, replacing the articles of Confederation as the framework of the United States government.
SOME FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT THE U.S. CONSTITUTION
The U.S. Constitution has 4,400 words. It is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world.
James Madison, “the father of the Constitution,” was the first to arrive in Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention. He arrived in February, three months before the convention began, bearing the blueprint for the new Constitution.
Patrick Henry was elected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, but declined, because he “smelt a rat.”
Because of his poor health, Benjamin Franklin needed help to sign the Constitution. As he did so, tears streamed down his face.
The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Benjamin Franklin (81). The youngest was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey (26).
Resources for additional information
Library of Congress - Repository for Constitutional Documents
National Archives - Website for the U.S. Constitution
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