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Happy Constitution Day!

September 17th, 2012

On September 17, 1787, 42 delegates met and changed the history of the world.  They had only one thing on their to-do lists that day — sign the U.S. Constitution.

Finally putting signatures onto paper was a remarkable achievement for these men.  After all, they had been hard at work for months, trying to come up with a document that would set a baby-faced America on the right path.

First, they thought they could simply rewrite the Articles of Confederation.  But, after much nit-picking, it was decided that America would be better off with a fresh document.  And so the debate began in Philadelphia’s State House, to determine what kinds of powers the federal government would have — and what kinds of options the people would have to reign it in if it got out of control.

Dozens of delegates sat around the table for four months, throwing out ideas and trying to balance ideas and fears from all over the 13 colonies.  Even though there was no 24-hour news cycle, no Twitter, and no smartphones, Americans shared in the debate — from their taverns, their street corners, and their polling places.

With so much on the line, the delegates had to get it right.  They had to come up with a document that summed up what they wanted and how they were going to get it.  If they didn’t word it perfectly, all of the fighting America did to earn its independence would be in vain.

So, when you’re going about your daily business on September 17th, think about what these men must have gone through.  The pressure they faced was immeasurable.  They — literally — had the weight of an entire country on their shoulders.

Now, it’s up to us to carry on their legacy.

 

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