Have you ever read the United States Constitution? It's 4,543 words long including the signatures. Some of the language may be old-fashioned and difficult to understand because it was written 225 years ago. But after reading it, there's one thing that should be absolutely clear: We, as Americans, are the luckiest people in the world.
Reading the United States Constitution is not an everyday thing for me. It's actually a one time thing for me thus far. Last week, my eighth grade history assignment was to explain Article V of the U.S. Constitution, which states how the Constitution is amended. From there, my interest in the document became unstoppable.
The United States Constitution was written in 1787 in Philadelphia during a one hundred day period from May 14 to September 17 known as the Constitutional Convention. There, a group of 55 delegates from 12 of the 13 states, known as framers, met in secret to come up with a plan for America's government and its laws. The framers wanted to draft a perfect plan to give the government enough power to govern, but not too much power so that individual rights and liberties would be compromised.
It was signed on September 17, which is now known as Constitution Day. The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, weren't introduced until 1789.
It is a document revered all around the world. More than 100 countries use it as a model for their own government. And, despite the fact that it was written more than 225 years ago, it's only been amended 27 times.
Sure, the document is up for debate a lot and why wouldn't it be? The Constitution was written two centuries ago when the population of the United States was only 4 million people who rode around in a horse and buggy. But that's the brilliant thing about the United States Constitution; it can de discussed and debated for hours on end and even for years, but the words of our forefathers printed on the page still stand the test of time.
I recently read an article in The Atlantic titled "The U.S. Constitution Needs You." The article suggests why it is important that we have a connection with the Constitution and offers five ways to help get that connection. The first way is to just read it.
Ben Franklin was the oldest person at 81 years of age to sign the Constitution and as he did he had tears running down his face. As he left the Pennsylvania State House after signing, the wife of Philadelphia's mayor asked him what type of new government the United States would have. Ben Franklin replied, "A republic, madam. If you can keep it."
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