Today is Constitution Day, an American federal observance of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Also called Citizenship Day, it is normally observed on September 17, the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in Philadelphia.
Like many of you, I was required to memorize the Preamble:
“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.”
Other provisions of particular interest are the following:
- Provision is made for taxation of “the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”
- While every state shall have at least one member of the House of Representatives, the 13 original states of the union initially were entitled to have at least a specifically designated number of Representatives, ranging from one to ten per state.
- Members of the House of Representatives must be at least 25 years old and a U.S. citizen for a minimum of seven years.
- Members of the U.S. Senate must be at least 30 years old and a U.S. citizen for a minimum of nine years.
- The President must be at least 35 years old, “a natural born citizen” and a resident of the U.S. for a minimum of 14 years.
- “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress … engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”
- Senators and Representatives are bound by oath to support the Constitution; “but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
Thirty-nine delegates to the Constitutional Convention – all men – actually signed the Constitution. The only ones whose names are famous or at least familiar to me are George Washington, John Blair, James Madison, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Rufus King, Samuel Johnson, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin.
If you have not read the Constitution recently, it’s a worthy experience to do so. Go to: http://www.usconstitution.cc/.
Happy Constitution Day! God Bless America!