This week of September 17 school children will learn about the Constitution, how learned men studied thousands of years of works by others to develop the Constitution, the very foundation of our Country. What an opportune time for us all to become students and learn and appreciate this document and what it means to our personal welfare and pursuit of happiness. Let us celebrate and observe the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787 in Philadelphia.
Our responsibility to our children and to our freedom must be taught and reiterated often. We should shout the freedom given to us not by any written documents, but by our rights, as it is the nature of man to be free. The Constitution sets out the rule of law as the basis for our government, and as a country governed by the rule of law, it is our responsibility to insist on those who govern to do so according to our Constitution. As we learn the U.S. Constitution and how it sets out the duties of the branches of government, we celebrate the wisdom of our founders, and we must insist on the same from those who govern.
A few quotations from familiar Americans of historical importance state well the importance of our celebration.
Daniel Webster spoke of the importance of holding on to the Constitution. “Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions…. There are men, in all ages…who mean to govern well; but they mean to govern. They promise to be kind masters; but they mean to be masters…. They think there need be but little restraint upon themselves…. The love of power may sink too deep in their own hearts….Hold on, my friends to the constitution and to the republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.” (Bolding inserted by this writer.)
Thomas Jefferson urges participation by the people and this writer believes the importance of learning the Constitution in doing so. In Jefferson’s words: “We in
America do not have government by the majority— we have government by the majority who participate…. All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” (Bolding inserted by this writer.)
Samuel Langdon, a schoolmaster, army chaplain, pastor of the First Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and thirteenth president of Harvard College stated in one of his speeches: “On the people, therefore, of these United States, it depends whether wise men, or fools, good or bad men, shall govern…. Therefore, I will now lift up my voice and cry aloud to the people…. From year to year be careful in the choice of your representatives and the higher powers [offices] of government. Fix your eyes upon men of good understanding and known honesty; men of knowledge, improved by experience; men who fear God and hate covetousness; who love truth and righteousness, and sincerely wish for the public welfare…. Let not men openly irreligious and immoral become your legislators….
If the legislative body are corrupt, you will soon have bad men for counselors, corrupt judges, unqualified justices, and officers in every department who will dishonor their stations….I call upon you also to support schools in your towns…. It is a debt you owe to your children.”
In addition to the law in 2004 establishing Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day as it was first known) and mandating that all publicly funded educational institutions and all federal agencies provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution, in May 2005, the United States Department of Education announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind. I believe we can we all agree on this wise legislation…. and celebrate.
We have the opportunity in November to elect those who will represent us in government. Let us then study the Constitution, become informed and vote… and CELEBRATE with our children on CONSTITUTION DAY.